Monday, October 14, 2013

Hoping for the Best

That Obamacare website really is messed up. I tried it just to see what all the fuss is about, and after 45 frustrating minutes it kicked me off for refusing to say whether I'm an Alaskan native or an American Indian. 

Sue me, I'm interested in health care. Half the time my husband thinks I'm a hypochondriac; I'm pretty sure he's schizophrenic, which would explain the other half. Mitch started feeling this way early in our marriage when he discovered that my preferred bedside reading was the Physician's Desk Reference. So he wasn't surprised when, after a recent woodsy hike around Casco Bay, I awoke from a fitful sleep, my scalp on fire. "Wake up, I might be dying," I cried. "My brains itch. Is it a tumor? Could it be scalp cancer?" He seemed nonplussed, muttering something about mosquitoes.

In my own defense, I come by my neurosis honestly, hypochondria being our back-up religion when I was a kid. The family crest--a feeding tube inside a funeral wreath, inscribed with the words "All Roads Lead to Cancer"--enlivened all our table linens and dish towels. Somebody was always whispering that somebody else had a lingering illness that "didn't look good," and that it was "only a matter of time." My mother was one of the ringleaders, constantly searching for and usually finding the cloud inside every silver lining. I was hospitalized for chicken pox at age two. At four I had a tonsillectomy and they gave my mother the sedative. (She asked for a general, but they refused.) When I was twelve, my parents rushed me to the emergency room for hiccups; seventy-five dollars and a glass of sugar water later I was cured.

Naturally our family doctor hated us. His ridiculous handlebar mustache made him look like the Sheriff of Dodge City, prompting me to say, "Howdy, pardner," every time I saw him. He got revenge by keeping his stethoscope on ice, then insisting I remove my blouse for every examination. I got revenge back by fainting during my ear piercing, which he only agreed to do because my father was the president of their bowling league.

I hope they fix all that Obamacare stuff before I keel over.

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