Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sick People Make Me Nervous

So you know what's worse than living with a hypochondriac?

Living with a hypochondriac who actually has something wrong with her.

My grandmother (visiting from NY) went to the emergency room last week for a bladder infection. While she was there she had a fake allergic reaction to some antibiotic then legitimately had a mild heart attack.

After every test known to man at the insistence of relatives who would rather make demands from 3,000 miles away instead of actually carting their spoiled asses down here to help care for their mom, it was decided that she would need an angioplasty.

To complicate matters in ways that seem to be unique to my family, a vicious stomach bug laid out me, Gwennie, two of my sisters, and my mom. Not receiving the proper attention due to the fact that everyone was retching over their respective toilet/salad bowls, my grandmother proclaimed everyone Deserters of the Ill in Their Hour of Need and said she hoped she died.

I was better by the time Procedure (notice I do not say Operation) Day rolled around. I went to the hospital to see her. I arrived there at 10:35 am and did not leave until the following evening during which time I got the once over by a clergyman with balloons; fielded 42 phone calls from various relatives one of whom actually had the nerve to yell at me for trying to convince my grandmother to sign a release for the doctors to do an emergency bypass if it looked like death was imminent (she refused to sign); valiantly attempted to translate my grandmother's vague kvetching into actual useful information for the doctors and nurses; found a secret waiting room with free real coffee; attempted to sleep on a waiting room sofa while a soon-to-be-bereaved family had a jubilant reunion right next to my head; raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan....

Where was I?

Oh yeah.

While there are many blog-entries I could squeeze out of the past few days, the funniest was the soon-to-be-bereaved family in the waiting room. It was around 3 am, and I was attempting to sleep a little. A sudden heart attack victim had been brought up to the ICU amid much commotion and accompanied by a vast family. Two somewhat aged gentleman who obviously hadn't seen each other in awhile decided to establish themselves right in front of the only person in the waiting room who was trying to sleep. Me. This is the story that brought me to consciousness:

"There I was trying to eat my dinner in peace when this girl, she must have been Puerto Rican got a call on her cell phone. She talked and talked and talked so loudly I couldn't hear myself think. This went on for almost 10 minutes. And I couldn't even taste my food. Finally I just stood up and went over her and said, "You sound just like a Puerto Rican chicken."

The man beamed as he laid this priceless one-liner on everyone.

"...And boy was she mad. She put down the phone and yelled at me for about 3 or 4 minutes and I just stood there. Finally she walked out."

I started chuckling in my sleep. I thought I had dreamed the whole thing. Comedians joke about situations like this, but you never believe they actually happen in a way that doesn't need to be exaggerated for effect. I still wanted to eviscerate him, but I woke up happy. They, however, were quite sad only a few short hours later and I felt a little guilty for my thoughts of violence.

So now I'm staying with my grandmother in a hotel near my house until we are sure the stomach bug has been defeated. After that, seeing as how I have no husband and children and I abhor sexual intercourse of any kind, she will probably end up moving in with me.

Feeling Like Every Nerve Has Been Pounded With A Jackhammer, But Ever Yours Truly,


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