It's not about the house.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reasons Why I am a Horrible Person, con't


So my Lady says to me "You know X, from down the street?"

The truth is that I don't really know this person. In fact, when I say hello to her on the sidewalk she ignores me as if we've never met. And I mean really, even if a (truly) total stranger says hello to you on the sidewalk -- even a total stranger in a tin-foil hat and Mork from Ork suspenders -- you say hello back to them and smile. Right? It's just what you do. For Christ's sake, we're not English. But my Lady didn't ask my opinion of this person, she just wants me to acknowledge that I recognize the name, which I proceed to do.

And my Lady says "Well, she thinks she has ovarian cancer!"

Now, it's bad enough I was just having mean thoughts about this person. But my sin is compounded by the fact that my very first thought on hearing her bad news is not "How awful!" My first thought isn't "Oh my god!" My first thought's not "What is her prognosis?" or "Is there anything that I can do?" or "How are you taking this news, my Lady, considering this is the very disease that your mother died of?" No, no. The first sentence that comes springing to my small and selfish mind is:

What do you mean, she thinks she does?

But, listen. In my defense, it wouldn't be the first time somebody I knew -- okay, me -- took a fairly benign symptom, like a pimple or something, and blew it up into a life-threatening disease. I don't have access to my medical records at the moment (largely because I have none, largely because I never see a doctor, largely because I'm never actually sick) but according to my own recollection I have contracted and single-handedly defeated skin cancer, lyme disease, lockjaw, pelvic inflammatory disease, a twisted bowel (ooh, that one turned out to actually be a kidney infection. ouch), polycystic ovarian syndrome, and diabetes (that one wasn't my fault; there was an error in the lab that resulted in me spending a night in emergency for nothing; that'll teach me to go see a damn doctor, even if I am convinced I've got a twisted gut).

But a person doesn't want to be insensitive. My Lady is getting on in years, and so all are her friends. It's not impossible that X may actually have ovarian cancer. So what I said was:

"What do you mean, she thinks she does?"

Yeah, well, it was the way I said it. Real soft and sensitive-like. Empathic. Not snidely whiplashy at all. I swear.

My Lady then proceeded to tell me a big long story that began with digestive disturbances in August (and please: if I never hear another story about another old lady's digestive disturbances, it will be too soon; why do they all think I want to hear about this stuff? they don't even read this stupid blog!), and ended with X's doctor calling her at her family's house in California over the holidays and saying to her "X, you have ovarian cancer!"

Well, shit.

She doesn't think she has ovarian cancer. She has it. And I'm going to hell.

X had an operation last week and is starting chemo now. She specifically told my Lady not to be in touch while she recovers, so I don't know how she's doing, but I wish her well. Maybe -- and not just in the ineterest of saving my eternal soul -- you'd all be kind enough to do the same?

1 comment:

su said...

I had a brain tumor