Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My Poor Sister

I've been busy and distracted, what with the birthday and Christmas and finals and all, but I wanted to make sure to pass this along:

Long set-up (because you need this background information): My mother and grandmother are both nurses. My mom spent about twenty years in the ER, starting there when I was in second grade. My mother has seen some horrible, horrible things at work: She’s seen abused women and kids, rape victims, drug addicts, violently crazed people, suicides, grisly accidents, and lots and lots of death. Think for a moment about how daily exposure to that kind of stuff might affect your parenting.

Are you thinking? If you’re anything like my mother (and now my sister and me), you’d be a tad overprotective: I am technically still not allowed to ride my bike on the road.

So my very loving, if slightly crazed and seriously paranoid, mother inadvertently turned my sister and me into hypochondriacs. I can honestly say that my sister (three years younger than me) is much worse than I am; I lie in bed at night convinced that I have a brain tumor and that Teddy has all matter of hidden ailments that will kill him in all kinds of ways, yes. (Incidentally, Teddy has no idea that I have these concerns—I totally mask it well, to the point of seeming rather blasé about most injuries and illnesses. I’m hoping the freaky buck will stop here with me.)

Examples of my sister’s hypochondria, however, show that she’s the clear freak champion of the family. She came to me in tears once when I was in high school, because she kept finding that she was waking up in the morning with her wrists bent downward and clasped to her chest: She was convinced this meant she was mildly retarded. Pain near her ribs was immediately deemed Costochondritis. (My parents and I call her that sometimes.) I can’t tell you how many cancers she doesn’t have—and her migraines exacerbate the brain tumor fear she shares with me.

Oh, in addition to her hypochondria, my sister FEARS DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS. (I’m the complete opposite—just the sight of a medical professional makes me feel better.) The Internet is the worst thing that ever happened to my sister, because it gives her access to all kinds of information she’s just better off not having access to. And because she doesn’t like doctors and hospitals, she spends lots of time calling me (who’s not at all medically qualified) and my mother and grandmother. Also? She can’t take pain. Remember that.

And now, the pay-off: Friday night, my sister was home with her husband and my four-year-old nephew. She needed to go to the bathroom, and sprinted up the stairs during a commercial, but caught her slipper on something and tripped. She crashed forward and slammed her finger into the wooden banister. The resulting “crack” was so loud that my brother-in-law heard it from across the room. He asked what happened, and she said, “I’m fine—it’s just my finger.” She proceeded to the bathroom, clutching her wounded hand.

Moments later, from her seat on the toilet, she called, “T! Come here!” And then fainted. On the toilet. She was totally out, and came to when he grabbed her by the arms and shouted for her to GET UP. My nephew, of course, was terrified and wailing. He had gone to the bathroom before her and missed the commotion on the stairs, and had no idea why his mother appeared to be sleeping on the toilet while his father clutched and yelled at her.

She came to and looked into the toilet where my nephew had just been—and hadn’t flushed. She panicked and blurted, “Oh my God! Did I just poop?” She was horrified, thinking she’d fainted and lost control of her bowels.

This is life with my sister. My brother-in-law? He wasn’t phased by this at all. I, however, am thinking of getting her a t-shirt made that says, “Oh my God! Did I just poop?”


BabelBabe said...

I think that would make a perfect Christmas present.

God, it's a wonder Jamie made it thru childbirth! : )

And I am so with you - Just seeing a doctor makes me feel instantly better.

Peg said...

Siblings never cease to amaze me. We can grow up in the same household, with the same parents, have the same issues, and act (or react) on them SO differently from one another.

I laughed out loud when I read your poor sister's story. And really, I'm not laughing AT her. I think? Maybe I sort of am, but not in a mean-make-fun-of way.

For me, the jury's out on doctors, although I count my blessings every day that I have a decent health insurance policy. I'm discovering that sometimes doctors are like mechanics; they don't *really* know what's wrong with us, so they've got to do a bunch of testing-to-eliminate-possibilities kind of stuff. But a good bedside manner can make all the difference in that process! I do love my GP for the simple reason that, on my first visit, she asked me a bunch of questions, stared at what she had written, thought a moment or two, then said, "well, shit..." and shook her head in puzzlement. I loved her for that.

Check out my word verification:

odimf: Ordinary doctors invariably my favorite!

Carolyn said...

LMAO. That's a good story. How's her finger?

Gina said...

Her finger is fine. My mom told her to buy a splint from a drug store, but she's opting for the being very careful of it method of treatment.

I love my GP, but I think I'm smarter than her "helper doctor", so I hate it when she's the one I have to see.

My confirmation word is "zspsfk". Erica Jong, anyone?

BabelBabe said...

oooohhhh, that's a good one! The Jong ref, I mean...

Badger said...

You had better act on that t-shirt thing quick before Dooce steals your idea and starts selling them on her website.

Gina said...

Ha! I admit that I did indeed think of Dooce . . .

BabelBabe said...

for some reason, amusing as i thought this was yesterday, this morning i reread it and laughed so hard i think i scared the baby.

poor jamie - oh my god, did i just poop?