Barbara looked drained today. She needed a lot of help getting inside the Center and over to her favorite place at table 5. She was weak and pale and I noticed she had stopped wearing her colorful hand-knit caps. “They irritate my skin. I’m going au natural,” she said. When she got to the north seat, she put her head down for a minute. She said it wore her out just to walk across the room. But she was there and soon she revived and began playing.
I was sitting on the other side of the room looking at her with her bald head and bruises up and down both arms when it occurred to me. I walked over to her and said, “Barbara, I hope you don’t take this wrong because I don’t mean to be insensitive, but do you realize you look like an NBA player?”
I explained her head, shaved and shining, looked the way some basketball players’ heads do. And her arms from the multiple chemo treatments looked less bruised and more tattooed, until you got a little closer and saw there was no real form to the marks. But from a distance she looked remarkably like she could play for the Trail Blazers or the Bulls.
She laughed, much to my relief, and at the end of the game she came over and asked, “Who did you say I looked like? A CEO? I want to tell my son what you said.” I corrected the acronym and she said, “Well, it’s my chemo brain. I can’t remember anything.”
She placed 2nd in the game today, chemo brain notwithstanding. She ate chocolate, her favorite food group, and said it was a very good day at the Bridge Center, all in all.