Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished           
And that is the mother f-ing truth.
A true story.
Last Friday night, I took my son, ‘D’ to the eye glass place to get his eye glasses fixed.  He had ‘accidentally’ broken them at school and oh yeah, ‘Could I get a different kind?  I don’t like the way these look anymore.’
I’ve only been to this place one other time and that time, my son and I were the only two people in the whole place.  Who knew that Friday night at the Eye Mart Express was like the Post Office at 5pm or the Social Security Office at 8am?
With every kind of personality you could ever hope to find, all jammed into a 1200 sq ft. place – trying on eye glasses.  Every five seconds you could hear, ‘What about this pair?’ ‘What about these?’ ‘How do these look?’ ‘Que estas gafas se ven bien?’
‘D’ and I joined in the fun and, thankfully, it takes ‘D’ about as much time to pick out a pair of eye wear as it did for him to decide that the casserole I’m serving for dinner is ‘gross’.
We head to the front to purchase the glasses and have to wait for the sales lady.  She is busy, trying to explain to another couple that even though their Medicaid will cover a pair of eye glasses, it will not cover brands such as ‘Coach’ and ‘Calvin Klein’.  They are able to choose from this lovely little assortment of frames that includes a pair that looks like what the eye doctor gives you to drive home in after your eyes have been dilated.  I laugh internally at that because I guess that’s the government’s way of saying, ‘Sure, I’ll pay for all of your crap, but by God, you aint gonna like what I pick out!’  I think I’ve said something similar to my children before. 
Which I think brings me back to why I am here with my son in the first place and how his glasses ‘accidentally’ broke.
 While we are waiting, I see a couple of elderly women walk in the store.  I guessed by looking at them that they were a ‘mother/daughter’ team and were about 70 and 90 years old respectively.  They shuffle over to the long table where you can sit and try frames on and look at yourself in those round mirrors, that move back and forth and magnify your face so that you look like the Red Queen from ‘Alice In Wonderland’.
The sales lady grabs my attention as she finally comes to check us out and as I am putting my wallet back in my purse, something knocks into my leg, right at my knee actually.  I look down and what do I see?
The 90 year old mother’s chair that had crashed into me and the 90 year old mother as she rolled out of it like a ninja and wiped out face down on the floor.
I, of course, drop down to help her up.  I just knew she’d broken a hip at the very least.  I’ve injured myself when I missed a step walking up a flight of stairs.  This lady swan dived off of a roller chair and executed a perfect dive roll before coming to rest on her face; there was no way she was going to come out of this store without being on a gurney.
Apparently when she went to sit down in the chair, she put her hands on the arm rests and of course braced her weight on them so she could gingerly sit down.  The chair had wheels on it and continued to roll back as she continued to sit down.  I’m not sure at what point she realized that the seat was no longer directly under her, but about 6 inches behind her, but in a panic, she tried to shuffle her feet back to try and catch up to the rolling chair – while still hanging on to the arms rests.  I have no idea how that spurned her into a forward roll; I missed that part.  But, in any event, down she went.
So, I’m helping her up and asking her if she is okay and she keeps telling me she’s fine and she’s actually laughing.  I mean, what else can you do?  I had to admire her for that.  I also notice that I am the only one in the store that even tried to help her.  The sales lady didn’t come around to ask her if she was alright, which my jaded-self thought, ‘she should come check on her; if I was her, I would worry about being sued and having to pay for this old lady’s artificial hip!’  Her own daughter didn’t even come over to help her – which in her defense - I don’t think she even knew that her mother wasn’t sitting beside her anymore.  She looked back at us and looked so surprised - like she wanted to ask her mother what the hell she was doing on ground.
It was just dead silence in the store.  I did hear a few gasps when the old lady hit the floor, but then….crickets.  Everyone just sat there staring as I helped her up – which was just f-ing ridiculous.  What was the big deal?!  I mean, my God – I’ve taken worse spills at Henry Hudson’s on a Saturday night after one too many So-Co and lime shots.  Get a grip people!
I get the woman to a sitting position and help her to roll to her knees so she can come up one leg at a time.  When she rolled over – bless her heart – her sweatshirt rode up her back a little and her sweatpants were hanging low on her (as the elderlies’ pants are wont to do) and the entire store got a very wide shot of a very white pair of the granniest panties I have ever seen.  I leaned over to try and cover her a little and she was finally on her knees kind of leaning forward.  So, of course my head and body were kind of close to her back side and…….
She farted right in my face.
She farted loudly right in my face.  In the middle of the f-ing store.
And the whole f-ing store heard her fart in my face.
My son heard her fart in my face.
My son shot a wide-eyed look to me and I had to give him the ‘look’ before he said, ‘Oh, that old lady just farted in your face; did you hear her fart mom?’
I finally got the Golden Girl to her feet and returned her to her daughter who said without pause, ‘So, mom, did you bring your coupon with you?’
I left the store with my son and his glasses and as soon as we cleared the door, he said,
‘Hey, mom did you…..’
‘Shut up, ‘D’.  I don’t want to talk about it.’
Yep, you help an old lady up off the ground and she shits in your face.
No mother f-ing good deed goes unpunished.

It's All In The Genes

It’s All in the Genes
Or rather in my mother’s genes.  Or I guess if you want to get technical – in her mother’s.
A history lesson:
Many, many years ago, my maternal grandmother died from breast/ovarian cancer.  They aren’t really sure where it originated from first because many, many years ago, women did not go to the Dr. regularly and I think my grandmother was one of those ladies who thought that letting a male physician stick his fingers up her who-ha meant that she was a ‘loose woman’.  My mother was pretty young, so she doesn’t recall many of the events surrounding the diagnosis, but ultimately, my mother lost her mother to cancer.  I think my mother was around 14 years old.  Too young to lose her mother.  And obviously, her mother was far too young to lose her life.
I was in the 5th grade the first time that I realized that the money our family spent on feminine products was solely because of me.  My mother had been complaining that her stomach was hurting and she was feeling bloated and I suddenly shouted out, ‘I know!  You’re pregnant!  That’s got to be it.’   My mother tried to explain to me the divine likelihood of that ever happening, but I wouldn’t listen to her and told her I was 100% sure she was pregnant and I was so excited to be having a little brother or sister. 
‘S’…….,my mother sighed.  ‘I can’t be pregnant.  I’m fixed.’
‘What do you mean, ‘fixed’?
‘I mean, I don’t have a uterus anymore.  I had to have it removed.’
And that’s when my mother explained to me that she had pre-cancerous cells in her cervix that would not go away and so to keep her from getting cancer, they gave her a hysterectomy.  She was in her 30s. 
Yeah – her 30s; that meant squat to me when I was 10.  (And yes, before you do the month – I hit puberty waaaay tooooo young.) 
Fast forward to a month or so ago- and now I’m in my 30s and I’m sitting with my mother in a doctor’s office.  It took an act of God to even get her in the room.  My mother hates going to the Dr.  You would think that losing her mother at such a young age from cancer would make her hyper vigilant about her own health, but instead it had the opposite effect.  My mother chose to go the route of the ostrich and stick her head in the sand and simply ignore her family history.  She had not had an annual appointment in forever because, ‘if you don’t even have a uterus, what are they digging around in there for?’, and because ‘I feel fine.’ 
My mother would wait until a tumor was so big, it looked like a third boob before she would go to the doctor’s. 
So, here we are.  My mother, me, and her new doctor.  I did not like her last one.  I mean, come on – you shouldn’t be able to call your doctor up and say, ‘Yeah, I’ve had this cough for a couple of weeks, but I really think it’s just the ‘crud’.  Can you call me in a steroid pack?’ – and the idiot actually do it!
I made my mother a deal.  She would let me come to this appointment and I promised that I wouldn’t shout out, ‘NO – SHE SMOKES A WHOLE PACK A DAY!’ when she claims that she is down to 5.  Fair trade.  So, since it’s the first time he’s ever met my mother, he is asking her for all of her history.  And to give her credit, she gives it.  All of it.
Somehow, the ‘I had pre-cancerous cells and so they removed my uterus’ turned into……
I had pre-cancerous cells and so they removed my uterus.
And then a few years later, they discovered a lump in my breast – which turned out to be pre-cancerous – so they removed that too.
Oh, and my other Dr. (Mr. Idiot) discovered some kind of growth on my ovary.  Well, actually he thought I had an abdominal aneurysm (WTF!) but once he got to looking around in there, he saw that it was actually my ovary and there was a cyst on it.  But, it turned out to be not a big deal.
I’m still reeling over the fact that for the last 30+ years my mother has been going to see some quack who cannot tell the difference between an ovary and an aneurysm. 
How long as it been since he followed up on that?  Hmmm, well, I mean I had a couple of ultrasounds immediately following that, but nothing since then.  I guess that was when I was in my 40s.  (Yeah, you know 20 years ago!)
But, I did make sure to keep up on my mammograms.  I’ve had those yearly……up until about 5 years ago.
I think even the Dr. was not sure what the best way to say, ‘ARE YOU CRAZY?!’ was.
We left an hour or so later with a whole sheaf full of slips for different tests, labs, etc.  And to credit my mother, she kept each and every single appointment for each and every single test.  She had a ‘health check makeover’.  I held my breath for those few weeks until all the results were back.  And do you know what they found?
Not a damn thing!
Well, except for the fact that she smokes and needs to quit because she does have a touch of COPD.
About the time my mother quit congratulating herself, she received a letter in the mail from the physician who did her mammography.
They want her to come in for genetic testing.  To see if she has any of the harmful genetic mutations that put her at an increased risk for breast/ovarian cancer.  An increased risk?  Doesn’t the fact that she’s already had various cancerous things removed assess that?
At this point, I’m even skeptical.  I mean, my God, if the woman has gone this long with the health history she has and has not even bothered to see a real doctor in years, I’m thinking that she should save her money that she would have spent on the damned test and go buy lottery tickets.
The only thing that convinces my mother to have this testing done is that she’s not only doing this for herself, but for me and my daughter.
Oh – yeah, ummm….I forgot my own genetic destiny hanging in the balance over here.
So, tomorrow my mother goes to have her genetic testing done.  Being the ostrich that she is, she will surely tell her friends that she’s off to have the oil changed in her car.  And I can almost hear her say, ‘Ok, well thank you for telling me’, if the tests come back that she does have harmful genetic mutations.
Being the hypochondriac that I am, regardless of whether I, myself, am actually tested, I will surely run right to my Dr. and beg for a double mastectomy and hysterectomy, if the tests come back that she does have harmful genetic mutations.
Genes.  Those pesky little chromosomes.