My D-Day happened at the end of September.
The day the spinal tap results came back, and I found out I didn’t have meningitis or West Nile, was HIV negative and clear of any other glaring medical problems.
Except … well, yeah.
So I was in the hospital picking up those test results, hobbling around with my cane, getting lost in the Byzantine corridors, all alone. I held back the torrent of tears that threatened to spill down, ruining the make-up I had worn that day, the first time in ages that I had even bothered with it.
And I happened across the gift shop.
I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about hospital gift shops and cafeterias. I think part of it’s nostalgia, because as a daughter enamored with her father I would spend several summer days hanging out with mine at St. Vincent’s, where he worked as a computer programmer. We’d get lunch in the cafeteria, and as a wide-eyed kid, I was in awe of the scrub-wearing surgeons, the bustling, the importance of it all. Oh, and the food wasn’t bad, either. I felt so…grown up.
For me, gift shops are like Hallmark stores for sick people – all those bright ceramic trinkets with cheerful sayings and prayers etched on them. All overpriced, of course. But when you’re there, it doesn’t matter. They are special, and when you buy one for someone in the hospital, it makes them feel special.
So this day in September, my Diagnosis Day, I pass the gift shop and see this dress. It’s silly, really. Blue plaid with a ruffle bib front, a tie in back and kinda too short, like Laura Ingalls Wilder meets Frederick’s of Hollywood. But it spoke to me and, most importantly, it was on sale.
And with that, my D-Day became Dress Day.