Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sometimes, It's Not All About Us

When I was pregnant with Genius, my parents were over-the-moon excited. Even though my sister had already given them two grandchilden, and we had Hick's two boys intermittently, their anticipation was no less than that of a royal family eagerly awaiting their first heir.

My mom was thrilled to accompany me to my obstetrician's office for routine appointments. She insisted on driving. This was back in the days before cell phones, when some folks carried car phones that came in a big zippered canvas bags, and plugged into the cigarette lighter. Which really has nothing to do with the story, other than to illustrate how overly-conscientious she was in bending over backwards to ensure my safety and comfort. It was a phone my dad had for work, and Mom barely knew how to use it, but she made a big show of having it ready on the console, just in case.

Inside the office, we made small talk until I was called into the inner sanctum. Mom made sure I had the most comfortable chair. The best angle to see the receptionist's desk. She held my purse. Asked the purpose of the visit. If I was feeling okay. Some might say she spoiled me, but I beg to differ.

Mom was at a loss what to do with herself while I was in the exam room. If another patient had brought a child along, she would talk to the kid. This was a couple of summers before she retired from teaching fourth grade. She'd hand out candy like she did to the youngsters in church. Or maybe talk to the other patients if they seemed receptive. Mom is a real people person.

On one rare occasion, I was the last patient of the day. After I was called in, the receptionist busied herself with tidying up the waiting room, (assisted by Mom), and then went in the back. Mom was alone. She picked up a magazine and paged through it. I don't think I ever saw her read a book for pleasure. Magazines were for recipes. So she skimmed until something caught her interest.

When we left, Mom quizzed me on all the details of my health, the baby's health, any changes in delivery date, next appointment time, etc. Once her curiosity was satisfied, she said, "I have a confession to make. I started reading one of those magazines in the waiting room. It was about a disease that I'd never heard of. And the more I read, the more worried I got. Every time that article mentioned a new symptom, I thought, I have that! Nervousness. Loss of appetite. Weight gain. Trouble sleeping. Fatigue. I was starting to get concerned. I just knew I had that disease. Then the article came to the bottom of the page, and I had to turn to the back and find the rest of it."

She paused. Sighed. "That's when I had to look at where I'd been reading, to find the title of the article. It was a column about taking care of your pets. It was a dog disease! I laughed and laughed. It's a good thing that receptionist didn't come out. She would have thought I was crazy. I was so relieved that I didn't have that disease!"

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Thanks to Linda and her comment yesterday for reminding me of this story.

7 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

You didn't catch on when the article asked if you had difficulty wagging your tail?

Sioux said...

This was one of those "it-had-to-be-true" stories, because you couldn't make one up that would be as funny or as genuine.

It's also a story you should chronicle for The Genius...it's a story that is part of his history.

Great story, Val.

knancy said...

Don't you just love the medical field? They will scare the crap out of you. They will go for your children, your relatives and your pets! It doesn't matter - as long as they can scare you into going to get an "exam".

Your Mom sounds really funny, though.

Leenie said...

Hey, I have those symptoms. A dog disease. That would explain a LOT. Like the rude name that guy called me when -- nevermind.

Linda O'Connell said...

Now that is something my mom and I would have done and then laughed hysterically, too. These are the fun memories.

Tammy said...

What a great story. And a great mom!

Val said...

Stephen,
I think that was in the part continued at the back of the magazine. Once Mom saw the name of the column, the pieces fell into place.

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Sioux,
Like how, at age two, my mom let him sit on the countertop beside the stove to help her fry bacon. And use the heavy black-handled scissors.

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knancy,
If I recall correctly, you have insider knowledge of the medical field.

Hick had an old man friend who took his dog's pills for arthritis. Seemed to work. No comment from the dog.

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Leenie,
Like my grandpa used to say, "You ain't a-woofin'!" That would explain a lot.

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Linda,
To add insult to Mom's reading faux pas...she once fried up a can of hash on a camping trip, and we told her she ate dog food.

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Tammy,
She's one of a kind. I'm sure she really wasn't trying to poison me with that bottle of four-year-old ranch dressing a few Thanksgivings ago.