Friday, December 16, 2011

There's nothing funny about stage 3 lymphoma

Actually, there is.

To have her intensive biopsy, mom had to remove her dentures, as they were putting her under a general. This is a proud and elegant woman, a stunning beauty, really, even inher 80s. Just the victim of Depression-era dentistry and childhood poverty. Moving on: she didn't like the whole no-teeth thing--it meant she couldn't engage in witty repartee, she couldn't put on a brave smile. Seriously, YOU try to smile bravely while you're in a hospital gown, those ass-ugly slippers AND NO TEETH. She didn't want me looking at her, she didn't want anyone looking at her. Scared and tiny and now no sarcasm to get her through. So I did the only respectful and reassuring thing I could have done, given the circumstances.

I challenged her to a "She sells seashells by the seashore" duel.

And that's the memory I will keep of that hospital corridor: not the fear or that plashy self-pity that comes when you find yourself mothering your own mother, but of the two of us laffing our heads off over what a strange bond we've forged over the past 50 years, one that no stupid cancer could ever chew through.