You Can Get The Sick Bucket

, , , , , | Working | June 21, 2018

(My mother and I are the customers in this story. I am twenty at the time and am undergoing extensive treatment for my second battle in a year with stage-three cancer. We are walking through Pike Place Market. It’s not a terribly busy day. The market isn’t crowded, which is good, considering the treatment I am having makes my immune system even worse than usual. I am constantly in pain as a result of recent surgeries, and the three-times-daily abdomen injections I have to give myself, but I just needed to get out. I have a surgical-style mask on to try and prevent getting sicker. I hate having to stop and rest, but it is inevitable; however, we can’t find a place. So, we walk, and walk, and walk. My blood sugar is dropping dangerously low. I’m getting dizzy and overheated, ready to pass out. We come across this Chinese restaurant that has maybe five tables in it, and only one of them is taken. I go in and sit down as my mother buys two of their BBQ sticks for a homeless man sitting outside the shop. She comes in and then tries to get us two bottles of water. The woman behind the counter says in broken English:)

Employee: “If you aren’t going to eat, you need to leave.”

Mother: *looks at her like she must be joking* “I’m getting water right now, and I just bought food for that man. My daughter needs to sit for a minute.”

(The restaurant is super small so I know the one occupied table is watching.)

Employee: “No food, no seat. We need the tables for paying customers.”

(My mom turns around and looks at the pretty much empty restaurant.)

Mother: “There is no one here. And I am a paying customer. My daughter is sick! She can’t sit for two minutes?!”

(I look like a heavy gust of wind away from death. Eyes sunken, skin pale and ashy, no hair or eyebrows, AND my Hickman implant is clearly visible. I am very obviously on death’s doormat.)

Employee: “Well, I can put a bucket outside for her to sit on.”

(You could have heard a pin drop. I couldn’t see my mom’s face, but I saw her go still as stone. The people at the table next to me didn’t seem to believe it, either. We didn’t spend enough money in the employee’s eyes, so she said I could sit on a bucket outside the restaurant. My mom told me to wait for her by the curb. She knew my anxiety couldn’t handle any more, so I left and didn’t hear the fire and brimstone my mother probably brought down upon the woman. My mom won’t tell me what she said. But the irony is we were going to eat there. I just needed to rest and get some water in me first so I didn’t faint.)

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