The Star-News


Bittersweet reunion

Sat, Oct 20 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Tom Basinski

Ordinarily it's a good thing running into a friend you haven't seen in a while. It's fun unless your chance encounter is the waiting room of an oncologist’s office. Recently I went for my weekly treatment. Sitting in the waiting room was a guy I hadn’t seen recently. He was accompanied by a pretty young woman.

He didn't recognize me at first, for a good reason, but recognition finally arrived. I walked over to him as he extended his hand. Because my fingers are swollen, painful and ulcerated from the side effects of my “cure,” we settled for a “fist bump.”

He couldn’t help but stare at my face, which looked like I had been in a squirt gun/acid fight against a guy with good aim. Or, maybe I was in an ice pick fight with my hands tied behind my back. My facial appearance caused mothers to shield their children upon seeing me.

My friend and I talked briefly until I asked why they were there. Being in an oncologist’s office is never a joy. My friend’s daughter was the patient. It was her first visit and she was lucky to have my doctor, Marilyn “Sandy” Norton. I assured them that Dr. Norton looked after her patients like they were her children. I have received follow-up phone calls from her late at night and on the weekend. She cares.

I told them Dr. Norton is meticulous, careful, knowledgeable, and pays great attention to detail. “Your daughter is in good hands,” I said. Dr. Norton’s associate, Dr. Ken Johnson, is every bit as good and caring from what my fellow patients in the chemo infusion room tell me. My nurses, Ana and Monica, are exceptional. The entire staff at that office is efficient and disarmingly cheerful.

It’s good to see a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, but I would rather it had been in a tavern instead of an oncologist’s office.

• • •

Our trash truck comes around 10 a.m. I usually wheel out the bins by 8:30. Wouldn’t you know it, a few weeks ago at 7:40 a.m. my wife hollered, “The trash guy is here.”

I looked out in time to see him buzz by our house. Not one to give in easily, I ran to the back yard, grabbed the 80-gallon bin and wheeled it down the street in full gallop. I was flying, having won a medal in high school for placing in the 1964 Flint All-Parochial city 440 yard dash. I must have presented a sight: an old guy in his pajamas pushing a black bin down the street in hot pursuit of a trash truck.

Fortunately, about five houses away, the driver had to stop to dump his front load into the back of the truck. I put on the brakes, puffing and huffing. He smiled at me, probably suppressing a laugh. I said, “You’re early.”  He said the regular guy was on vacation. I could have qualified for a video program called, “America’s Silliest Looking.”

• • •

I hope the battle over curfews with Ms. Karla Jensen is over. My friends had a field day teasing me about her and her dramatic accusations of unfairness and bias against little ol’ fair, unbiased me. She accused me of ignoring facts that would have proven her point. First, the mountain of stuff she sent contained nothing that proved anything. Second, I should have told her my columns are limited to about 700 words, not 7,000.

I admitted to her that I didn’t have much interest in the truancy issue she believes is so pressing. I think about 98 percent of the population share my view. She chided me for not caring. Not caring about an obscure issue is my right just as it is her right to make it her cause to end all causes. She even has a blog devoted to truancy. I wish her the best in her battle for truth, justice and freedom from curfews. I wish her son the best in his navigation through the real world.

Basinski ‘s column appears the first and third weeks of the month.


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