Sunday, August 23, 2015

good news/ bad news

Don't you just hate it when someone says, "I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first." I can never decide. Should I choose the bad news first and be brave, daring, a man others look to for leadership when the adrenaline is pumping and they need a hero? Or should I play it safe, hedge my bets, live to fight another day by selecting to hear good news? It all depends on the way I feel at that particular moment. The decision is thus left to the ephemeral Fates that lurk in the shadowy corners waiting for the opportunity to mess with our lives.
Today I had the opportunity to be a hero or tempt the Fates. I won't tell you which way I went to get to the information that was some good and some bad. I don't want to influence your opinion of me, either making me seem the hero type, or the wuss that lets the Fates make the determination of his character. I will say that the news was worthy of a hero and/or a tempter of the Fates, so whichever way I went, I could still feel good about myself. And it is all about me isn't it?
Anyway, before I wander too far astray from the news that precipitated this conundrum, I should emphasize that I was having a lousy day; one of those days that happen periodically when I am tired and my meds don't seem adequate to handle my physical shortcomings as well as my somewhat fragile emotional state. I got very little sleep the night before due to Mary's struggle with the still potent pain that was causing her severe discomfort. The usual pain pills weren't handling the pain and she was certain that there was something seriously wrong. Naturally, her pain is my pain and the situation was scaring me half to death.
When the pain meds finally took effect and she she was able to get some much needed relief and eventually sleep, I was left hanging, wonderIng what to do to help her. I spent the rest of the night in that worried state, wishing the hours would move along toward dawn faster than their typical glacial pace. The only hope I had was that she was scheduled to see her doctor in the morning, so if there really was something gone wrong he would handle it. So here comes Mary, all chipper and feeling like nothing unusual had occurred during the past night, ready to get out of the house for her fist social occasion since she got sick 3 months ago. She seemed totally oblivious to me, the basket case standing next to her.
The shape I was in when morning arrived--tense, stressed, and anxious-- dictated that I not drive any vehicle larger than a tricycle, so getting Mary to her appointment would have been problematic if a dear former neighbor (Joanne Parnau who owned the condo next door before she sold it a month ago) had not invited Mary to lunch after her doctor visit, to which she would drive Mary. If Joanne had not set that date up a few days earlier, we would have had a real problem. Instead we received another lesson in good neighborliness and friendly generosity.
I was able to make up for the sleep that eluded me by sleeping the afternoon away, taking quick naps between bits of reading. I was still considerably worried while Mary was with the doctor, wondering what complication he would find that might slow her recovery. I resisted the urge to call her, figuring that if she got bad news from the doctor, she wouldn't want to talk about it on the phone. My worry increased the longer she was gone. She was either still with the doc discussing the treatment she would need for this new onerous malady that had denied me all that sleep, or she was out running around with Joanne celebrating that the doctor had found nothing new and had declared her cured.
When she finally arrived home in the late afternoon , she found me groggy from one of those quick naps that, throughout the day, had helped me cope with the uncertainty and possible actions we would have to take as we continued on the road to recovery. I was ready to sink my fangs into the granite countertop if she didn't immediately recite for me, word by word, what the doctor had told her.
So now that brings us back to the beginning of this treatise. Yes, Mary was the one to pose that
question that has caused me so much angst over the years.
She insisted on teasing me with the news she had. "I have some good news and some bad news. What do you want first?" She was toying with me, treating me like I was a kitten chasing a ball of yarn. By this time I was climbing the

freaking walls ready to howl at the moon and vote for The Donald.
"Just hit me," I nearly begged on hands and knees. I was not about to play the goodnews/badnews game at that point. She saw how I was suffering
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with the anticipation of hearing her news, and so took pity on me, tossing me that whole ball of yarn.
"The good news is that the doctor says I am in great shape, doing very well. There were no new complications to worry about, everything is going smoothly and according to the protocol they

expect at this stage of recovery." She exclaimed, obviously pleased with herself.
She went on to explain that the fluid that flowed through the drain tube in her side (that I was responsible for flushing twice a day) was mostly clear (a good sign) and lessening everyday. The typical timeframe for losing those drain tubes is 3 months after the surgery and she is right on the money with that.
"He says he can remove the tube the next time he sees me," she said, the delight in that prospect lighting up her face, making her eyes shine with happiness.
"That's the good news," she reluctantly announced. "There is one thing to be concerned about, though. Nothing big or too worrysome," she assured me. "But it does involve you directly."
Oh oh, I thought. Here it comes. I'm about to get hammered. I can tell just by the inflection in her voice that I'm not going to like what's coming.
"All right, I'm ready," I obediently stood at attention as I put on my big boy face. "Let me have it."
She took a deep breath to calm her nerves and said, "The doctor says that the tube is ready to come out and since he removed the sutures that were holding it in place (he removed those sutures because they were the cause of a lot of the pain that had been plaguing her for the past couple weeks) it's quite possible that the tube will slide out on it's own while your husband is flushing it." She ran through all that without taking a breath, probably so I couldn't interrupt her with any objections.
"That's it?" I scoffed with all the attitude I could muster.
"You know there is no tube that I can't handle. I have yet to meet the drain tube or collection bag that I can't control or bend to my will." I added with unnecessary bombast. I was overplaying my hand a bit so she wouldn't guess how terrified I am of pulling tubes out of anyone, especially my wife. What if I hurt her? What if the slimy wormlike tube slips out of my fingers and wiggles across the floor? I might break out laughing, making her think I don't take the job seriously or that I'm making fun of her? I can only see bad stuff coming from this. Bad news indeed, but not so bad as bad news can be. It's just that, as usual, I will be the one left holding the bag. 

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