Sunday, August 19, 2012

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times - Chapter 91

#91 -  “Stay out of hospitals. That’s where all the sick people are.”

Mom had a subtle, dry sense of humor and, although I don’t know if she used it to sooth stressful situations, I know that I do. When Jackson, my 11-year-old grandnephew in Pennsylvania, was recently diagnosed with leukemia and went into the hospital to begin chemotherapy, it tore a hole in my heart. I’ve never met Jackson, and haven’t even seen his dad since he was a small child, but they are family. And when family suffers, I suffer. After the initial horrified reaction, and the overwhelming feeling that I must in some way help, mom’s #91 (which I’d not even thought about in years) bubbled to the surface, and I said to Jackson’s grandmother, my niece Jane, “Well, you know Mommy Wade would say, ‘Why are you in the hospital? Don’t you know that’s where all the sick people are?’”

Mom’s #91 also reflects her aversion to, or perhaps denial of, illness. Mom firmly believed in not believing you are sick. And although that attitude is meaningless in the face of the undeniable, I find myself clinging to it like a nursing baby.

During one of our daily retreats to our patio for martinis and games of gin, my hubby asked me, “When was the last time you had a physical?” Yes, we’re to that age. My response to him, following a laugh, was that I couldn’t even remember. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve had a real physical since my senior year of playing basketball in high school, a laughingly long time ago.

When I was in my 30’s I occasionally went to the doctor for a pap smear and a mammogram. But after I had a hysterectomy in 1980 (best thing I ever did, medically speaking) and I’d had my fill of getting my boobs smashed in the mammography machine, I decided to never be papped or smashed again. One could say that is foolish, or since I’m still alive, one could say that has apparently been a good strategy.

So when the hubby asked me about getting a physical (which was, of course, his suggesting that I get one), my reply was that I won’t because the doctor will feel obligated to do his job which is to find something wrong with me. And then my life will become defined by what is wrong with me, and how to fix it. No thank you. If I’m lucky, I’ll never know what hit me.

So I subscribe to mom’s #91, and will make every effort to stay out of the places where all the sick people are.


  1. Lol! You better not let Linda Gage read this post! You will be in hot water! And I can't wait to read Gone Girl-it's been on my list!!!

  2. Honey, if I worried about been your mama's hot water, I'd be boiled a long time ago!!

    Yes, GG is wonderfully slimy!