Oncology Waiting Rooms: What’s Your Cancer?

Oncology Waiting Rooms

I had an appointment to talk to my ENT about my sinuses following radiation therapy today. It wasn’t until the receptionist called me up after I sat down in the waiting room for fifteen minutes that I realized I was actually in my dermatologist’s office. Yeah, I feel like I keep pulling boner moves like that these days.
Thus having hung out in several different physician’s waiting rooms today, I can say with authority that the patients hanging out in the skin doctor’s office were a lot more chipper than any other patient crowds. It’s not that the oncology waiting rooms are full of sad sacks, but there is a very different vibe. I was in the inner waiting room for a while waiting for my radiology oncologist and had a chance to talk to half a dozen female patients. We do not engage in normal conversations. No one gives a shit about what you do for a living or where or if you went to college.
Instead we trade barbs like, “So, what’s your cancer?” or “Are you at the beginning of your treatments?” so we can size up the newbies and assess each other’s suffering. I’m not bald, so my lack of suffering is evident in this group. We do, however, talk about shoes since that’s the only individuality we have in this place sitting around half naked wearing hospital smocks. I don’t think the men in the other waiting room are talking about shoes, but that is clearly their loss.

Cancer: Shoes of salvation


oncology waiting

And now, quotes about shoes:
“Is it time to go home yet? I keep clicking these damn shoes but nothing happens.” -Robin Hecht

“I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.” – Imelda Marcos

“Sometimes comfort doesn’t matter. When a shoe is freakin’ fabulous, it may be worth a subsequent day of misery. Soak in Epsom salts and take comfort in the fact that you’re better than everyone else.” -Clinton Kelly
“Momma always says there’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going. Where they’ve been.” – Forest Gump

“I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. So I said, “Got any shoes you’re not using?” – Steven Wright

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  1. chave

    It is interesting that women are separated from men while waiting for rad Tx. It makes sense, but I hadn’t thought of that. With chemo, you’d be plugged in next to men and women. So the conversation dynamic might be very different.

  2. ev

    Shoes. My downfall. Now I can’t wear many of the ones I really love, so I look for alternatives. And buy them in every color. Have I ever mentioned my husband calls me Imelda? (One time on Jeopardy the question was “who is Imelda Marcos?” Very quietly, hubby answers “Who is Evelyn Ryan?” I threw something at him)

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