she forced me to eat graham crackers

This summer I ate a lot of pie. . . and ice cream, and cake, and cookies, and candy.  When Labor Day hit, I knew I needed a sugar intervention, so I went cold-turkey on sweets and forced my family to deal with my grumpy mood swings.  I have been faithful to my new routine and have not had a speck of sugar in eleven days.

This morning, I got up early to take my husband to the hospital for scheduled shoulder surgery.  I have a history of being a very poor nurse.  If I had the choice between being a nurse and an indentured servant, I would have to go with indentured servitude.  I simply cannot stomach the sights, sounds, and smells of a hospital.  I would rather clean floors with a tooth-brush.

When my oldest daughter had oral surgery years ago to remove some teeth and make room for braces, I was instructed to replace the bloody gauze with fresh cotton.  I tried to complete this task, but had to stop, run to the bathroom, and vomit.

When one of my dogs had foot surgery in 2004, my mother had to drive over an hour to our house in order to change the dressing on my dogs wound, because every time I tried, I got sweaty and dizzy.

Today, at the hospital, while the nurse took out my husband’s IV and instructed me on his medications, I began to feel nauseous.  This sensation increased and was coupled with a light-headed, sweaty feeling.  The room began to swirl around me; I couldn’t look at my husband in his little hospital nighty and big black arm sling without feeling intensely ill.

The bad news is, I fainted.  The good news is my husband’s surgery was a success, and after I cleared my head, the nurse MADE me eat the sweetest, most delicious graham crackers I have ever had!



I know a guy who will do it for $250

Meg with King Oberon.
(King Oberon, March 1994 – January 2005)

Queen Elizabeth’s corgi has died and I feel sincerely bad about it.

I have lost lots of pets, and it’s awful every single time.  It’s a deeply unsettling feeling not to be able to hold a conversation with an ill pet.  You want to somehow reassure or prepare him for what lies ahead, but all you can really do is scratch him behind the ears and let him sleep on the sofa.  It’s simply not enough.

Many years ago, I had a black lab named King Oberon.  He was one hell of a dog, and I loved him very much.  When we found out he had cancer in his foot, we had a surgeon operate immediately, even though it was a ridiculously expensive procedure.  The operation proved to be unsuccessful in removing the cancer, and the veterinarian suggested we amputate Oberon’s toe.  We looked at our sick dog, we looked at the looming bill, and we were paralyzed by indecision.

My dad had a wide social circle, so he started asking around and found a country vet with a solid reputation who would do the surgery for a fraction of the cost.

“It’s not a complicated operation,” the veterinarian said.  “It will be two-hundred and fifty dollars to amputate the toe.”

Sold!  We made the appointment, and the procedure went off without a hitch.

Several years later my dad was in the hospital with a severe staph infection.

The doctor came in to discuss options.  “We are going to stick with our current course of treatment,” he said.  “But, if we don’t see substantial improvement soon, we may have to amputate the toe.”

“Hey, Dad,” I said, “That’s not a problem.  I know a guy who will do it for two-hundred and fifty bucks.”

My mother hid her face and used her church laugh, a wheezing giggle she emitted when she knew she was not supposed to laugh, but simply couldn’t help herself.

My dad turned to me. “You’re not funny,” he said.