Thursday, May 10, 2007
Meet Hairy, the hot pink headache ball. Squishy, cooling sometimes, fun to pillow her head and let it roll out from under her. Now meet Hairy's flowers, a gift that same day, losing shape and color now. If she ever enters another contest on migraine art, she thinks to use this picture. The drooping, heavy head. The funny Hairy the Headache ball. Two gifts the same day from her Yoga teacher. It was, of course, when they just assumed the Botox wasn't working. Or the sinus infection. She bends down and picks a small pink rubber strip off her grandmother's soothing rug. Hairy's going to lose all his hair, she says.
This is so good you could die, he says, waxing poetic over a Blimpie this time, probably from a rat-infested back room. She tells him that's not a good comparison right now. He says he realized that as he was saying it.
Walking into the neurologist's office yesterday, she detected a faint sweet smell, as of flowers or air freshener (she didn't see any flowers). And she almost said how this often triggered headaches, and how surprised she was to find it there. But by that time she was seated in the low recliner and the doctor had started talking.
1995. A formerly close friend, living in Wyoming, developed cancer that quickly spread throughout his body. He left his wife. As he put it, he'd been caring for her (she had MS) for years, not out of love but out of duty. And before that, his marriage at a standstill, he couldn't bear being away from his children. He always thought at some later point there'd be time for himself. But the cancer pushed that point. Another two or three years, they said. He lasted more like eight years. He married his lover, spent their honeymoon at the Casper Hospital. But what sticks out most in her mind is an email he wrote about his mother coming to visit, and how distraught she was at the prospect that her son would die before she did.
Yesterday's news: Misdiagnosed man seeks compensation. John Brandrick, 62, was told two years ago that he had terminal pancreatic cancer. He decided to spend his remaining time in style, quitting his job and spending his savings on hotels, restaurants and holidays. A year later doctors reversed their diagnosis. He was suffering from pancreatitis, a non-fatal ailment. Meanwhile he'd spent everything.
The question is who to tell, who not to tell. And who the hell reads this blog. Because the political IS personal, she said at the start. She just had no idea how personal it might become less than six months later. Her husband insists she owes him another twenty years. Her husband buys her dinner. Her husband asks if she can see any reason why she's gotten cancer three times now, and she gives the answer she gave before: all those chemicals in the back of her father's trucks, then her father's car. Sure, he was exposed to them much more than she was, but she was an infant, they were in her system before she had defenses. And this time he doesn't contradict her. Try not to blame your father, he says instead.