bee joke

If you haven’t heard Tig Notaro’s stand-up act where she discusses her recent diagnosis of breast cancer (and I mean recent, as in just got the diagnosis before going on stage), you should.  It’s amazing.  Here’s an interview Ms. Notaro gave on NPR’s “Fresh Air”.  The set up, without giving away “spoilers”, is that Ms. Notaro has had a staggeringly terrible year by all accounts.  How many of us have been there?  Not a lot in the general population, but if you’re reading this blog, I think the odds that you’re in this group are greatly increased.  I don’t know if this act will resonate as much with others….I hope so.  For those of us who have been there, it’s like a bolt of lighting.

An excerpt:

What’s nice about all of this is you can always rest assured that God never gives you more than you can handle. (Pause) Never. Never. When you’ve had it, God goes, “All right, that’s it.” I just keep picturing God going, “You know what? I think she can take a little more.” And then the angels are standing back, going, “God, what are you doing? You’re out of your mind!” And God was like, “No, no no, I really think she can handle this.” “Why, God, why? Why?” “I don’t know, just trust me on this. She can handle this.” God is insane, if there at all.

My favorite part, it’s hard to tell.  I laughed until I cried about the survey the hospital sent to her mother, which Ms. Notaro opened and read just after she returned from her mother’s funeral.  But I think the very best part is the bee joke.  To me, it’s a moment of reflection on life “before” from the perspective of life after.  The absurdity of trying to pretend everything is normal when it’s so clearly not was captured perfectly.  A transcript is useless, an excerpt won’t give the set up, which is essentially the whole “act” to that point.  All the life shaking things that have happened, the unknown that she’s looking toward, wondering if god has more in store for her because clearly she can “handle” it, and there’s this bee joke which was funny before but now is elevated to the level of breathtakingly painful, and yes, funny but for a totally different reason.  It’s the funny of standing there, pointing and laughing at the absurdity of the world being turned completely inside out and knowing that not only do you need to get up and keep going but that you’re supposed to keep going like nothing happened to show how strong and unafraid you are – be normal, care about things that you now see as simple and not worth the time, tell the bee joke.  What an amazing gift she has that she can communicate this experience.

The act is available for purchase on Louis CK’s website.  No DRM, no corporate overhead.  Proceeds go to Ms. Notaro and Louis CK (who hosts the site and is an amazing comic, worth supporting).  Ms. Notaro has said she will donate a portion to cancer research.

It’s myalgia

“I don’t often have myalgia…” I started.  My witty husband says “Of course it’s your algia.  Who else’s algia would it be?”  ba-dum-dum.  “Thank you, I’ll be here all week.  Try the veal,” he adds.

Take myalgia.  Please.

Really though, joint pain is much more likely with me.  A daily occurrence.  Actual muscle pain is rare.  But boy have I got it this week.  Just the legs.  They feel like they did when I foolishly went all the way up in the Statue of Liberty as a kid on a field trip.  I  can’t think of what I did to bring this on.  I’ve been having a lot of hip and sacral pain, and transient but bad upper abdominal pain last week.  Related to any of those things?  I have no idea.  My money’s on some electrolyte deficiency.  I am always dehydrated.  Why the legs and not other spots?  Well, since my activity level is pretty low, my legs really get the only work out of motoring me around and up and down.  I’ll be seeing my primary care tomorrow.

run away

A few weeks ago, I got a letter from my neurologist saying that as of this past Friday, he was closing his office.  Actually, what he said was that he would “no longer be seeing patients in” (my state).  He cites “recent changes in” local “healthcare environment, with its changed goals and philosophy” which “would hinder (his) performance and negate (his) ability to practice effectively.”

Less than a month’s notice.  I saw him in July and no head’s up.  The first part of the the semester (especially the Fall semester) is exceptionally busy for me at work.   Despite going to work every day thinking “Ok, today I am going to call Neuro doc about records and meds”, I would find myself at the end of my doctor’s business day realizing that I was again out of time to call.  So am without a neurologist, without a record of things that I’d rather not go through again any time soon like two EMGs and a prolonged unpleasant EEG while I was migrainey, and (I just discovered after opening the drugstore bag for the med I had on automatic refill that I thought was my amitriptyline but which turned out to be fioricet) out of med and out of refills.

I can’t help thinking that if my neurologist was leaving as a result of a well thought out and carefully considered philosophical stance, he certainly would have had the time to have executed it more gracefully.  Perhaps give his patients a little more notice so they could transition to another neurologist?  The wait to see someone new is considerable, much more than the three weeks spanning two major Jewish holidays and a long weekend that I got between receiving the letter and his office closing.  I feel rather pissed off at him for how he chose to do this.  I hope I am wrong, but rather than seeming like the carefully considered decision,  it comes across as like a manipulative tantrum.  I feel like he could not have failed to realize that he’d be “inconveniencing” his former patients with this avoidably abrupt timeline and that he chose to make us feel upset and angry in the hope that we would turn those feelings on the “recent changes” in the “healthcare environment”.  Sorry man, it doesn’t work like that.  If you want me to respect your choice, you need to own it, and own all of it.  Maybe he had been weighing this decision for some time, maybe there was some unanticipated deadline on what he wanted to do next or on what he’d need have needed to do to keep in practice here, and so he had to act abruptly.  This is truly the only legit, respectable reason I can think of for his handling the departure like this.  But then tell the patients that.  Or better yet, show a fraction of respect for patient’s time that they have had to show for their doctors’ time over the years.

I’ll miss him, but a lot less now that he left like a thief in the night.  I guess I should have a chat with my primary care doc to see if he’s entertaining similar thoughts of running away.  My GI doc, well I’d be happy if she would.  She could bugger right off and it wouldn’t affect me one bit, no wait, actually it would make things easier since I could explain dropping her in a way that doesn’t immediately raise “doctor shopper” flags.