The Dark Side

I know I’m lucky that my “neutral” is happy. It makes everything in life a whole lot easier and I realize that a lot of people have to work to get there. I don’t know if I was born that way or if it was a product of reading too many Zen Buddhism books at a young age—I remember being so blown away by the Eternal Now, but then thinking, hey, if it’s always now, I don’t have to wait until later to be happy.
Because there is no later. It’s always Now, so, unless circumstances overwhelm me otherwise, I’m just going to always choose to be happy Now.
It made sense to my little twelve year old brain and possibly programmed in happiness which I’m taking advantage of now.
It doesn’t hurt that I am insanely lucky in every area of my life outside of the whole Has a Terrible Case of Cancer thing (the birthday week has not ended—April and Emily brought me lunch yesterday, Cristina sent me cupcakes and Aunt Mary and Brigid sent me my favorite cookies of all time from Pacific Cookie Company).
My lack of the controversial kakapo parrot didn’t even put much of a dent in the Happy. I probably am better off just dreaming about my kakapo and his butler.
Since I tend to be in Happy Bridget Land most of the time, that is mostly what I blog about.
But, I think it’s only fair to tell you, there are always some circumstances to overwhelm the Happy (besides the occasional good old-fashioned ennui which everyone needs to indulge in now and then to get their brooding, French cursing, and coffee drinking out of their system) and sometimes I am downright moody.
I don’t want other cancer patients thinking, damn, what are they putting in her corn flakes, doesn’t she realize having cancer sucks?
Yep, I’m aware of that.
And regular healthy people are probably thinking, isn’t Bridget just ridiculously cheerful, doesn’t she realize that life sometimes sucks?
Yes, that happens too.
Which brings me to…
Just yesterday, after having a lovely lunch with Emily and April, I discovered that my doctor had been frantically calling me and telling me to go to the emergency room (too many white blood cells this time, last time to few, I can never win). Since I couldn’t honestly say I didn’t feel like crap (but, hello, just got off a whole week of chemo), we rushed out the door to the ER.
Huge mistake. The ER was crammed with people, some of them violent and crazy. I was behind on all of my side effect meds, hungry, thirsty, and miserable. But I’m used to waiting and used to feeling miserable.
The dim, dirty-bland waiting room didn’t have any windows to let in even a teeny-tiny-little bit of the gorgeous fall Friday afternoon going on outside.
At home, my newly delivered birthday/Christmas present firewood was waiting to get cracked into.
I was fine.
Fine, fine, fine.
An hour and a half later, we were still sitting in the sad, sagging waiting room.
I was no longer fine. The miserable-ness, I could handle. The being-somewhere-dingy-and-ugly, I could sort of handle. The nonsensical intake questions that they should have answers to given how I was just an inpatient last month, I breathed my way through.
But I could not handle one and a half hours of the REALITY COP SHOW blaring in the waiting room.
Angry laser beams of the Evil Eye were shooting out of my eyes and I was ready to stomp around shouting at everyone.
At this point, Barrett quietly went and shut the television off.
I apologized to the front desk guy for being so grumpy and he gave me a funny look and was all, “That was grumpy?”
Apparently, HE didn’t feel the Evil Eye laser beams.
Must work on that.
Then, six hours later, when they decided that I could treat this infection with at-home antibiotics and I was free to go, I would have hugged everyone working in the ER, even the front desk guy.
If they hadn’t been all hospitaly and germy.
Which brings me to..

So I’m on the plane to Phoenix and the seemingly nice people next to me ask why I’m wearing a surgical mask. I explain that I’m a chemotherapy patient and susceptible to catching illnesses. I know that I might be overzealous about germs, but getting sick is no joke when your body is all wrecked from chemo.
Fake nice response from fake nice people (but I didn’t know that yet).
THEN, some jerk waiting in the aisle of the plane to take his seat is all, “What’s up with her?” gesturing to me.
The fake nice people started gossiping about me with him. “Oh, well, she’s worried about getting sick. Blah, blah, blah.”
At which point Jerk in the Aisle starts a rant about how stupid it is to wear a surgeon’s mask and how you might as well wear a full body condom.
TItters from seemingly nice people.
Then goes on about what a freak I am, etc. And if you’re going to catch something, you’re going to catch it, there’s nothing you can do about it.
More titters from the fakes.
If I had not been sitting at an inside seat I would have popped him one.
This was way beyond Evil Eye laser beams.
Last time he “caught something” did he end up in the hospital for a week in contact isolation getting iv antibiotics and blood transfusions?
Who just goes on talking about someone as though they aren’t there, insulting them, and making judgmental comments?
Really, who?

Stay tuned next time for No Laughing, Are you KIDDING me?

Love to you all,
p.s. Thank you, Sarah Bradley, for sending us a link to Cake Wrecks! It made much of our time in the ER much more bearable.

Join the Conversation


  1. If I had been there, he would be wearing his ass for a hat right about now.

    There. I feel better now, even though I’ve just shown you how unenlightened I am.

    Hope you’re feeling better, too.

  2. I wish my neutral was happy. I ‘m one of those people who has to work hard to get there. If I had three wishes, I’d only need one of them, because if I was happy, the rest would be gravy.

    The next time someone gets all snarky with you give them a nice dose of guilt. The pain of a punch wears off quickly, but that guilt will hang on them for a long time and make them think before they run their mouth again. Your point about IV antibiotics and blood transfusions would be a good place to start.

  3. I think you should write, “It’s not you, it’s me” on your surgical mask when you travel – and then in teeny tiny letters write “kickin’ cancer.”

    The snarky guy lost his luggage. I just know it!

    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the cupcakes!

  4. Can Barrett give you some movie magic laser-shooting eyes? I know you can make Cailin’s head explode with your mind. I think you should definitely move up to the laser-beam eyes.

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