Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tougher than Ironman

Sure, training for and doing an Ironman is a mighty endeavor, one that really calls forth a lot of effort, fortitude, will, etc. And yet, it pales in comparison to a battle I recently faced, one that called for Herculean efforts that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle. Of course, I’m talking about my attempts to plan a surprise 70th birthday party for my mom, where the average age of the guests was about 75. You see, I was counting on the fact that since her birthday is actually in January, keeping this under wraps would be a piece of cake, especially since I don’t think my mom has ever had a birthday party of any kind at all, much less a surprise one. My first inkling that trouble could be at hand was when I started getting people RSVPing and saying “oh, thanks, we’ll see you on Friday!” They were going to show up at the restaurant on JUNE 27th instead of JULY 27th. Hmm.

Of course, gathering all the names was a feat of strength in and of itself – between sneaking off with my mom’s Bunco lists, tracking down the Red Hat ladies, scouring her address book, and every time she’d mention an unfamiliar name, I’d bark “Who’s that? What’s their last name? Do they live near you, perchance?” Very subtle.

What I didn’t realize, however, and didn’t find out until after the party, was that the 47-some guests found a unique way to avoid spilling the beans to my mom: they went Amish, shunning her. Yes, apparently ostracizing my mom entirely was the way to go for the good folks of Sun City in Huntley. My mom said she couldn’t figure out why no one was calling her, why they hardly spoke to her, why when she saw sweet Irene and Eric walking by and said hi, they completely ignored her. I guess they were worried that somehow after the word “hi,” a phrase much like “see you on Sunday at your surprise birthday party!” would just come blurting out. When she did see her friend Lynn last Friday, Lynn was so nervous that she apparently almost burned her own house down, forgetting that she had snacks in the oven. I picture my mom going outside to get the paper, and everyone on her block ducking back inside, slamming their doors shut. It’s a wonder my mom even made it to the party, without cracking under that kind of stress. All I can say is this: if this is truly our “greatest generation,” then I fear for the future of our country.

In other news...

In today’s “fear my wrath” category, I’ve called the developers next door AGAIN about their fucking sand, and pretty soon I’m going to go over there and start shoveling the stuff myself, and they might not like where it ends up. I’ve also realized that I will never buy a house near a hospital, lest I want to be mowed down in the street by bundles of rage such as myself, today, who after spending the entire morning on the phone trying to track down all my records/films/slides, went to the doctor’s office to pick up said records, got there at 11:55, and found that they had all left for their hour lunch. Would have been nice if they had mentioned during one of the three times I called today that they CLOSE FOR LUNCH. Idiots.

I’m also pretty happy that somehow, I’ve managed to pull a calf muscle a week before Steelhead. How, you ask? Was it the usual, i.e. saving a group of children from wild boars, or perhaps fjording an icy stream on one of my epic treks in pristine forests? Nothing like that, I’m afraid. No, I somehow managed to pull a muscle..........watering a hanging plant. Yes, it’s true. I have a hanging basket of petunias in front of the house to make it look like I care (I really only care about the backyard), and to water it I need to clamber up on a ledge, and then reverse the process. Well, when I reversed, I landed wrong on my leg and screwed up my calf. And while I can ride, that only makes it worse when I have to push off with that leg after I stop. Unfortunately, I have no one that I can yell at about this, since it’s my own clumsy oafish fault. Damn.

And, today’s question of the day:

Q. Okay, so life sucks for you right now. What can we do to help?

A. Well, first off, let’s start with what would NOT be a good idea. A few weeks ago they had one of those feel-good segments at the end of the national evening news, a little vignette meant to be inspiring or show us a bit of Americana, blah blah blah. This time, they featured a woman who goes around to hospitals visiting cancer patients, toting her little keyboard and a guitar, singing uplifting songs like “Wind Beneath My Wings” and so on. It was beautiful, touching, really warmed my heart to see that kind of selflessness..........and let me say this right here and now, that if there are ever any Kumbaya-singing wandering minstrels near me at any time, ever, you are very likely to see me arrested and cuffed to a hospital bed for assault with a deadly ham.

I will also note some key phrases that people might not want to utter around me, lest they feel comfortable taking their lives into their own hands:

“Personally, I find mastectomies kind of freaky.”

Okay, now seriously. How the hell could you think this is okay to say to someone who has just said that their doctor has RECOMMENDED A MASTECTOMY??? Quite frankly, this one leaves me a bit stunned. Bad BAD idea.

“Well, of course even with reconstruction, your breast won’t look anything at all like a normal breast.”

I know you doctors don’t necessarily ALL have a great bedside manner, Grey’s Anatomy notwithstanding, but when you’re an older doctor who’s been around for a while, I’d think that by now you’d have realized that this is a BAD thing to say. After delivering grim news, you’ve just compounded things by basically telling me that I’ll be disfigured. Thanks. Thanks a lot. Bitch.

Any phrase beginning with the words “look on the bright side.....”

I think that’s self-explanatory, as is the fact that that is punishable by an immediate beating. Go ahead, try me. I’ll just blame “chemo rage” for everything, even if I haven’t started chemo yet. It’ll be my own version of the Twinkie Defense. Who’s going to dare argue with a bald, angry woman walking around with a frozen ham??


Missy said...

Suggest- -to your doctor he and his patients will both reap the benefits!
Mastectomies are not freaky, people who say mastectomies are freaky now they are the true freaks. Remember that!
Cancer definitely sucks, but hey it could be worse...just give me a week or so, I'll think of something!

Eddie said...

Thought you could use this at some point.

Jen said...

1) I love BUNCO. used to play with my grandma all the time.

2) PEOPLE ACTUALLY SAID THAT SHIT ABOUT YOUR SURGERY? WTF! You're gonna need brass knuckles. Or a roll of quarters. All appropriate for the beating administration.