Yesterday, probably still reeling from the psychic trauma of Thanksgiving Weekend With Every Living Relative, I forgot to take some Very Special Medication that Mommy Takes Because of Something You Did. I’m such a delicate wee thing that my dosage is extra-extra-low because that is all my willowy frame requires, but the bad thing about being on the teensy-weensy dosage is that once it leaves my body I’m WHOOPSY DAISY paddling around in a sloppy hell of withdrawal. So today I woke up soaked in sweat, reeling around my suddenly tilt-y apartment. When I saw two Henrys reaching for me from their two cribs, I knew I was in trouble. Fortunately the Husband is working nights this week, so once I roused him from his slumber, which I did by gently calling “GET UP I’M DYING OH CHRIST,” I quickly medicated myself and returned to bed, where I had dreams that I was Buffy the Vampire Slayer (how sad am I, still dreaming about a show that ended years ago? Quite sad) and a Herbie-the-Love-Bug-type car was roaming the streets of Brooklyn, announcing that it was the harbinger of the apocalypse. (If I wrote the script to this movie, I would title it DOOM BUGGY. That is an excellent title, and you, privileged reader, can take it. There, it’s yours. Don’t say I never do anything for you.) And I was all “bring it on” and I was tossing my pretty pretty hair this-a-ward and that-a-ward because I was Buffy and my hair was so blonde! So blonde and so pretty!
When I woke up, it was 1 p.m. This pretty much set the tone for the day.
Another thing that happened yesterday is that I went for a physical. I haven’t had a physical since the 80s—I remember the nurse instructing me to remove my shoulder pads and leg warmers before putting on the day-glo gown--so it seemed time. I didn’t realize I was getting the extra-vigilant doctor who would alert me to every possible thing that could ever be wrong with me, so I left there a little freaked. Extra-enthused doctor informed me that I have a GOITER (well, okay, “enlarged thyroid,” but isn’t that a goiter? Isn’t it? Oh, why didn’t I buy the iodized salt?) and HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (okay, just a high reading, but my reading usually peak at 90/70, usually they’re so low that by all rights I should need to do a handstand to get the blood away from my ankles before I’m conscious enough to sign a check) and also several other things that I can’t mention here. Oh, and apparently because there’s so much cancer in my family, I’m a fool for not seeing a genetic counselor because I’m a ticking time bomb, people! Tick tick! So I’m scheduled to get all kinds of tests and she gave me the name of this counselor with the words “FAMILIAL CANCER SYNDROME” underlined next to it.
I called my mother looking for more specifics on the dead in our family, hoping that perhaps I had overstated the cancer running amok throughout the generations. It was a mistake, because my mom distrusts doctors and their voodoo practices. She truly believes that if you have something wrong with you and you don’t know about it, it will simply vanish. Poof! But if you make the mistake of going to a doctor and getting it treated, you, my friend, are doomed. Not just doomed. Doooomed.
So there I was just trying to get the facts and my mom is on the other end shrieking YOU’RE NOT GETTING CANCER! STOP IT! And then the rest of the conversation went like this (facts have been altered not to protect anyone but because I am simply too lazy to rise from my chair and find my notes):
Me: So how many brothers and sisters did grandma have?
Mom: 8? Wait, let me think. 12. No. No, 8. 6 brothers, 2 sisters. Including her. So she had 7 brothers and sisters.
Me: And did they all die of cancer, or…?
Mom: They were so old! When you’re old it doesn’t count. That’s what my doctor said. It’s not genetic if you’re old. They weren’t 35! They were OLD!
Me: What were their ages?
Mom: So let’s see, there was Mama, she was 74; there was, hmm, Salvatore, Uncle Sally, he was 62…
Mom: Oh, cancer, yeah. Terrible. Colon cancer. Because all he ate was sausage. Seriously, it was all he ate.
Me: [Making a note never to eat sausage again]
Mom: Uncle Maddy, 60s, also colon cancer.
Me: Let me guess--sausage eater?
Mom: [dreamily] Uncle Maddy loved the sausage.
It went on like this for a while. Apparently my family is evenly spit between lovers of sausage and lovers of booze and/or cigarettes—or, hell, all of the above! Italians are fun!
Do you know what else is fun? Talking about dead people! There are so many of them! Think about it--they outnumber us. They could totally rise again and they would so kick our asses. And in reality my slaying power is minimal and my hair is short and brown. We are so screwed.