You, an astrobiologist, fly up from NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to visit me, a sophomore in college, at Yale-New Haven Hospital. I’ve just had a new type of chest catheter inserted: a “port-a-cath,” a subcutaneous device to replace my Hickman catheter. It promises a reduced chance of infection. But you didn’t need to come all this way, for such a minor surgery.
As usual, you, “Oh, pshaw” away my self-inflicted guilt trip. “I’m going up to have dinner with Mel’s family tonight,” you say. Mel: another member of your lab back at Ames/Moffett Field in California, your best friend and best man when you married my mother ten years ago, before my leukemia, before my relapse, before my evil eye turned to the quantum entanglement of love, strong and boundless even at a distance.
“Have you eaten breakfast?” you ask.
“I managed to eat some scrambled eggs.”
A few minutes later, nausea strikes. You hold the bowl, as you have so many times before—this time a yolky-yellow emesis basin that looks like an elongated kidney.
You examine its contents. “Indeed,” you say, “you did eat scrambled eggs.”
Best breakfast I’ve ever barfed.