I was 10 years old when I brought home my first C+. Convinced that The Fonz and Vinnie Barbarino had snuck into his house and shrivelled his daughter’s once enormous brain to the size of a pea, my father shouted (among other things), “That’s it! I’m going to break the TV!” (this is loosely translated from Korean). Once cooler heads (Mom’s) prevailed, he realized that “no more TV for you!” could accomplish much the same, with less pain. And thus, I was banished from the TV room, keeping their beloved Zenith Chromavision 23″ color TV safely encased in its solid oak console, and Mom would still get to watch her Korean videos.
My father was positive that TV (and in particular, that distractingly good looking Bo Duke) was to blame for my terrible grades, possibly even jeopardizing my chances at getting into a top-tier medical school. However, my mother the softie, could be convinced to let me watch Marcus Welby, MD on occasion. I think she thought that Dr. Welby gave good insight to the medical profession which might help make up for the lack of having a doctor as a relative when it came time to apply to medical school.
After a few riveting episodes of the good doctor, I became a doctor-in-training and a full-fledged hypochondriac. My diagnoses were usually dire. Persistent fatigue and weakness? Sounds like Leukemia. Difficulty with balance? Egads, that could be brain cancer. None of my diagnoses ever hit the mark thank goodness, but my husband says I still tend towards the paranoid, fussing unnecessarily over our sons’ bleeding noses, countless bruises and headaches.
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Well wish me luck as I have just finished reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova. This is a heart-breakingly beautiful story of a accomplished woman/lovely mother/devoted wife/Harvard professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at the peak of her career. Unlike most stories written on Alzheimer’s or dementia, the Ms. Genova wrote the book from the perspective of the patient, allowing the reader to experience firsthand the unfair and uneven erosion of her brain. As I sobbed my way through the book, I couldn’t help but notice all the times I had forgotten commitments or lost my train of thought mid-sentence, and it gave me pause. But when I shared my worries with my husband, he just rolled his eyes at me.
Last weekend, we decided to go skiing on Blackcomb Mountain. It was a bluebird day, a perfect day to test my new poppy-colored SunIce GORE-TEX Performance Shell’s wind defying properties. While we were on the Excalibur Gondola, I texted my sister our apres-ski plans to catch Marianas Trench playing in the village square for the Telus’ Ski & Snowboard Festival. Plans were confirmed and I put my iPhone away. Once we got to mid-mountain, we disembarked the gondola, popped on our skis and skied into the lineup for the Excelerator Chair when I noticed that my pockets were open and my iPhone4 was not in them! As I frantically patted myself down, I yelled at my husband and kids that I’d lost my phone and that I’d meet them at the top of the mountain in 30 minutes. I zipped back to the gondola, my eyes darting around looking for my phone in the snow, perhaps sitting lost under the wave of skis heading to the lift. I asked the Operator if he’d seen it. Nope. He offered to radio to the mid-station below so that the guys could check the gondolas heading back down the hill. I then skied down to mid-station to see if they found it. Nothing. I asked the guys there what I should do and they recommended skiing down to the base to file a report with Guest Relations. I decided I should check in with my family before doing so as my 30 minutes were up and I had no way of communicating with them, and slumped dejectedly into the nearest gondola going back up the hill. I sat, frustrated with my own stupidity and carelessness. I took off my helmet to give my head a shake, when my inner arm brushed up against something that didn’t feel like my jacket. My phone. Sitting safely in the SunIce patented welded zip chest pocket. In my defense, I’ve never had a chest pocket before. I unzipped the pocket in disbelief. There my phone showed 3 missed calls from my husband. My phone wasn’t on vibrate mode, it was just too quiet for me to hear over my pounding heart and swooshing skis.
So now, I’m deaf too.