Friday, August 1, 2014
WHEN MET WITH CRUELTY
Two of my friends evoked memories of dense cruelty yesterday:
A dumb doctor in the ER, at UCLA no less, who insinuated that my husband must be an alcoholic since he has liver cancer. Or so he sounded to me anyway.
Janie: (In reply to Inger had her own memory):
Inger, I was in the hospital once with a liver problem and a doctor I didn't even know came in the room and shouted at me
that I needed to get myself to Alcoholics Anonymous. I was appalled and embarrassed to the point that I didn't know what to do or say. I rarely drink.
Once Upon A Time ...
Mother was just starting her battle with Cancer.
She promised her doctor she would not smoke. Mother always kept her word.
She said everything could be taken from you but honor. That you had to give away yourself.
Alas, the Nurses Break Room was right next door, and they smoked like chimneys!
One evening I walked in to find Mother sitting, shivering with eyes filled with tears.
My face become flint, and I said low, "What happened, and who is going to be sorry they see me?"
Mother smiled evilly, "Oh, your friend, Sandra, and I have decided how to handle it."
"Uh, oh," I said.
She said, "Oh, nothing obscene, nothing twisted, nothing illegal."
Her doctor had come into her room, sniffed the smoky air (courtesy of the Nurses Break Room) and yelled for ten minutes at her.
"It is bad enough you lie about smoking but to blame the nurses!"
Mother told him to leave and not to come back.
"I will go when I am ready!"
Mother picked up the steel bedpan and weakly stepped towards him.
"You are about to be the first doctor crowned with a bedpan ... and this one is full."
He left, promising to be back tomorrow.
And that is all Mother would say.
She had me repeat all the terrible, corny, but heart-healing jokes my young customers brought each day as their presents to my sick mother.
We ended the evening visit by softly singing SIDE BY SIDE, our song when I was very little.
I came the next morning, but she would still say nothing of what she and Sandra planned.
As I walked down the hospital hallway that evening, every nurse I passed tried to keep a straight face but broke out laughing.
I walked into Mother's room. A big smile on her face, she sat on the side of her bed, twirling a rubber chicken.
"I lied about the twisted."
The next morning there was an 8 X 10 framed blow-up of the picture taken by Sandra
of Mother swatting the stunned doctor with the rubber chicken.
Sandra smirked, "Hey, what was he going to say to the police? I've been assaulted by a rubber chicken?"
The doctor's partner always came after that. But he walked in smiling. He didn't like his partner either.