OBGYN oncologist + Pulse Memorial

This photo is on the memorial wall at Pulse on S.Orange and Esther St. I went to my OBGYN oncologist appointment in the Orlando Health complex, which includes ORMC (Orlando Regional Medical Center), where many of the Pulse shooting victims were taken. The hospital is about two blocks from the nightclub where 49 people were horrendously murdered by an idiot with an AR-15.

Endometrial biopsy.

That’s the next gynecological procedure I need to have. My uterine wall is thicker than it should be given that I’ve been taking the progesterone every night at bed time.

Thus, here I am facing a condition that could turn cancerous. I’m actually lucky because firstly, I have health insurance and have been able to monitor what’s going on with my female parts. Secondly, I’m at the low probability end of the possible cancer spectrum. Thirdly, I have a great doctor, who happens to also be hilarious and, “love goo.” This fact came up when happened to start talking about going to medical school, which I said I would suck at because I love sleep and hate goo.

July 5th, a Tuesday, Vickie is going to drive me down to this same office next to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, where my doctor is going to insert a medical tool into my uterus and snip off a sample of the wall for a biopsy.

She said she could do it today, but it was very painful. Or, she said, “We could bring you back later so you can prepare more for this procedure.” She said she would give me a prescription of two pills to get me relaxed, but I would need a driver.

I have zero threshold for physical pain, especially in that area. I had endometrial-type cramps during every period I ever had. No one ever gets used to that pain. I opted for meds and to return at a later date. She said, she felt comfortable waiting up to five weeks.

Another reason I decided to delay the procedure was that I planned to visit the Pulse Memorial, which is about 2-3 blocks from the cancer center. I’d never been there. I’ve wanted to pay my respects since the mass shooting happened on June 12th, 2016.

Work responsibilities and bouts of depression have kept me away-that and not having vehicles worthy of the drive (probably 30 miles round trip), or not having fuel money I could spare.

That’s changed. That’s improved. Since I was headed that way for my appointment, I decided I was tired of postponing it.

Pulse is on very busy S. Orange Avenue, south of downtown Orlando. So, if you are unaware of the defunct nightclub’s existence, you could speed right by it. I knew it was there; I was looking for a it.

It’s quite the sight when you see it. I was glad I’d waited the couple of days after the anniversary because finding a parking spot was easy.

I had read online that memorial visitors are not allowed to park at the Dunkin’ Donuts, which is on the opposite corner, on the same side of S. Orange. I turned right as soon as I saw the street between the two establishments. This was Esther Street.

As soon as I made the turn and realized the street was lined with homes—old bungalows and a small, modern apartment building—i recognized immediately that there was a whole other group of indirect victims of this horrible shooting. The terror that I am positive that spilled out to the people living in these homes as the bullets began flying must have been palpable. They could not possibly have immediately known that the savagery was not headed their way.

Esther Street.

But, of course, they were also extremely lucky; the evilness was trained on the revelers innocently engaged in having fun with their friends and families.

I found a beautiful old Spanish Moss-draped Oak to park under, even though it made my walk to Pulse a little longer. This time a year in Florida, a less hot car is more important than having a very short walk.

I parked under this gorgeous old Oak.

As soon as I exited my vehicle, I begin tearing up. It’s as if I immediately felt the sadness and tragedy that occurred on that street six years ago.

By the time I arrived at the memorial I was grateful for the boxes of tissues placed at intervals around the wall erected at the south side and front of the former nightclub.

This is the S. Orange Avenue side of the building.

There were quite a few people there, and the mood was very somber; no conversation at all. People totally focused on the stories depicted in the photos and messages plastered to the wall that wraps around two sides of the building. There is also a four foot high wall paralleling the wall that marks the pebbled path.

There are the remnants of tributes to those who were murdered. This four foot high wall is decorated in bits of whimsy that reflect the playful sides of the spirits whose bodies were destroyed. It brings some levity to the grim reminders and simultaneously keeps the personalities alive.

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