When I tell my family that I have a brain tumor, they say, “Are we out of milk?” Sometimes I start coughing. I’ll keep coughing so hard that I feel like I could pass out. So, I do, on the kitchen floor, in front of everyone. I gasp loudly and then I lay there, completely limp. My eyes stare at the ceiling. I think I look just like people who die on TV. My family walks around me.
I guess you can only claim fatal illnesses and fake your death so many times. Eventually your family becomes suspicious, and then they just stop believing you. I told my family that one of these days I’m going to really play the thing out, all the way to the funeral. I’ve always wanted to know how sad people would be if I died. I would sit in the back of the church in a disguise. No one would recognize me. I’d watch everybody weep. I would get really choked up just thinking about what a good person I was.
I’d also pay attention to who wasn’t there. I’d finally know who was just pretending to be my friend. When I decided to come back to life and tell everyone it was just a joke (People are going to laugh so hard. That’s really a good one), I would know who I didn’t have to be nice to any more.
Scott has told me that I have diagnosed myself with more fatal illnesses than anyone he knows. One time I was getting a migraine. Only I didn’t know it was a migraine. I’ve never had a migraine. I only knew that my Grandma and my Dad have lost part of their eye sight when they got older.
I was sitting on the couch with a slight headache. My vision started to blur. I just kept saying, “This is it. I knew this would happen. I’m going blind. It’s going. I’m losing my eyesight.” I tried to take in every detail of my family’s precious faces, knowing it would be my last chance before I was enveloped in complete darkness.
I was scared and convinced. So convinced that Scott started to worry a little about my impending blindness. The visual disturbances eventually passed. I said, “Oh, forget it. I’m not going blind. I guess it was a headache.” I don’t know why Scott gets so annoyed. You just have to get used to his moods.
I am lucky to have a boss that totally gets me. I may not get any sympathy at home, but at work it’s different. My boss and I know that we’re always just moments from getting terrible news, and we’re prepared. If my boss has a health issue, she comes to me. I look it up on line and tell her it could be one of three things. They’re all fatal. She says, “I knew it!” The Doctor told her it was nothing to worry about, and that’s why we both know you should never listen to Doctors.
A few years ago I had a bad eye infection. It spread across part of my face. Eventually I got a fever and the chills. I went to the emergency room by myself, thinking that I would get some antibiotics and come back home. The attending physician was kind of a silly guy. He was making jokes when I first sat down on the examining table. Then he quit laughing and he said, “This is serious. We may have to med flight you to another hospital.” I was ready for this.
I called Scott. I was crying and told him he had to come to the hospital right away. When he got there, I was alone in the examination room. I told him what the Doctor said. Scott patted me on the back. He gently suggested I hold off on panicking until we saw the test results.
Scott’s crazy. He wouldn’t recognize a life-and-death situation if he was standing in the middle of it. And, believe me, he was standing in the middle of it.
I insisted that while we waited Scott needed to take notes on my last words and wishes. I told him that marrying him was the best decision I ever made.
I said, “I want you to move on with your life. You have my blessing to remarry.”
He said, “I don’t think we…”
“Shhh, ” I said putting my finger to his lips. “You musn’t argue. You can’t let my memory get in the way of your happiness. I only ask that she love our children. And, please, make sure the children know how much I loved them.”
He wrote it down. At least I think he did. I packed years worth of wisdom and guidance for him to pass along to the children into those 15 minutes.
The Doctor interrupted my dictation when he came back in the room. He said, “false alarm”. It isn’t what I suspected. We’ll just keep you for the night and give you intravenous antibiotics. You’ll be fine to go home tomorrow.
I looked at Scott and I said, “Now THAT was a close call. There’s nothing like a near death experience to put things into perspective. Am I right? I can’t even imagine how good it must feel to have me back. ” He didn’t say anything.