Oh, great. Here comes my nephew, Mikie. He is playing at the other end of the school gym.
[The kid’s always surrounded by an entourage. Totally popular. Clearly, we are not related.]
“Is she your grandmother?” Nosey Kid asks Mikie as he skips in my direction. So, let’s be clear: “She” is “me.”
[Really? Little Dude.]
- First, I clearly have a just-dyed-my-hair youthful effervescence. Everyone knows dying your hair automatically lops off 15 years from your current age, making me barely old enough to drive.
- And second, what are they teaching these mouthy little brats in school?
“No, that’s my Aunt,” Mikie responds slowly, like he is tutoring someone that is really stupid.
The plan was to get in. Sign my nephew out of his after school program. Then, get out. And go see some insipid Disney movie. You know? Family time.
Everything involving children also involves stopping the space-time continuum. I will actually be old when I leave this joint.
Some teacher has disappeared with my license, to check to see if I am who I say I am.
[And I am not. I need coffee. And freedom. Not in that order.]
One of my life-goals is to not be some kid’s psychiatrist-story in 20 years. [I know. Right? Get a life.] So I am always super careful and super attentive when they are talking.
Which I think their little brains interpret as – me wanting to talk to them.
[Do you see the cross that I bare?]
Clearly, this is why Nosey Kid has shifted his deft interrogation skills to me… Question, question, question, question.
[Seriously, little dude. Pace yourself.]
I have no answers. And I barely know how to dress myself in public as my nephew – who has just reminded me that “I don’t need to wear sunglasses inside” – will attest to.
[Yes. I do, Bratcula. And I don’t need a reason. That's how being-an-adult works.]
There is nothing like getting advice from someone who still drinks from a juice box.
I remember when Mikie was sweet. When he thought there were people living in the attic and refused to go up there. Now, he’s mastering sarcasm and that delightful trait of having a comment for every-friggin’-thing.
Pre-teen purgatory is a weird gray area [for me, not him.]
On the one hand, Mikie’s still got that adorable baby face. Chubby cheeks. And sometimes, he still says the cutest crap ever.
But on the other hand, it’s like watching your favorite shoe store burn to the ground.
Not cute. Not even remotely.
Neither is itching.
Or having a cast thingie on your foot. I guess it’s really a cast-imposter. It’s 1,000 layers of bandages and gauze, with hard plastics parts in the ankle bits. Whatever. It’s a foot prison. And foot-prison was okay when I was konked out in a Vicodin-induced stupor for a week after my operation.
But now, my Vicodin lover is making me nauseous so we broke up.
And all I have left is the itching.
It’s like tiny little bugs crawling on your skin. But you can’t reach them.
And because I am on Short Term Disability Leave for 6 weeks (as of January 9th), I’ve got tons of time to obsess over it.
Now, I know why my cats stalk a fly on a wall for hours.
The fly hasn’t invaded their world. The fly has become their world. AND IT MUST DIE!
So I stick a knife in the cast.
Then, a toothbrush.
But that’s not enough. The itch is still not dead. I need scissors. That’s what I need! To cut things.
And I see a string hanging out of the bottom of the cast thingie.
I just cut it. That can’t hurt. Right?
A string is so small.
Then, I start digging in the bottom of the cast with pointy things and grab a bit of gauze.
I just cut it. That can’t hurt. Right?
A bit is so small. Small things don’t matter. Everybody knows that.
Bit. Cut. Bit. Cut. Bit. Cut.
Until I could stick my finger in. Ahhhhhhh…. I am fingering the bottom of my cast. Mmmmm….
This might be the best sex I’ve ever had.
And there is air, genuine air on my toes.
Oh? What’s this? A hook. Sticking out of the side of my toe.
I’m no doctor, but I am pretty sure I am not meant to be fingering my new hook.
This can’t be good. So I do the only logical thing.
I start picking up the little bits of gauze and shoving them back into the bottom of my cast.
Um… like… okay. So that didn’t work.
Then, I tried to re-wrap some of the bandages. But every time I did. It hurt like hell.
Um… like… okay. That didn’t work either. And we clearly know who’s fault this is…
Sure, he told me 50 times after the operation not to stick anything into the cast. Something about staph infection, dying. Whatever. But there was no mention of a hook in my toe.
Words like “hook” resonate with OCD-types. Hello? It’s not about saying a bunch of words. It’s about saying the right words.
His lack of specificity is the issue. Not me.
I rest my case, Your Honor.
“People always forget that I told them about the hook,” Doctor Cryptic assures me, the next day – at my first post-op appointment.
[Yeah, right. It’s so easy to forget what you’ve never been told. Words are so crazy like that.]
“Oh, I’m sure you told me. I just forgot. You know how it is?”
Then, Doctor Cryptic starts investigating my mangled cast.
[Umm… What to say? What to say?]
“What did you dooooooooo?” he says slowly, like he is tutoring someone that is really stupid.
Of course, I regale him with my Tale of Itching Woes. He interrupts.
“How could you do this to my work? Are you crazy? Are you a child?”
[See? This is an example of how to friggin' use the wrong words. I know I am being crazy, but from one drama queen to another - take it down a notch, Diva.]
Do I need to do everything around this joint?
Be the person with 2 new screws – and a hook – in my foot, hobbling across a snowy parking lot for this bizarreness and be the doctor with… you know? people skills.
Now, I want to punch my doctor. But I am stuck with him because it takes 4 months to fully recover from this. [It's like some dysfunctional marriage. And marriage sucks? Everybody knows that.]
More importantly, he controls the drugs and signing off on my Disability Leave.
And the only thing better than Vicodin is freedom, baby.
He takes a deep breath.
“I would like to have a good relationship with you so I need you to never to do that again,” he says. [Ugh. Just do your job. I can put up with a little crazy if you're a genius. And he is...]
Check this out. See? My foot.
It’s still swollen like a watermelon, but it’s beautiful, eh? My technical condition is called – hallux valgus rigidus (basically, a big lump on the side of my big toe and crooked bones). It’s genetic. So never let it be said that my family only gave me stuff to get over.
They also gave me diseases.
“Don’t worry when I pull the hook out – you won’t feel a thing,” the doctor assures me.
[Yeah, right. My mama didn't raise a fool. Just stop talking to me. Everything you say is annoying.]
We are done now.
“Here we go,” the overly-perky teacher says, handing me back my license-with-the-crappy-picture.
Note to self: Never renew your license on a bad hair day.
Not cute. Not even remotely.
“Everything’s fine.” [Darn. I was looking forward the cavity search and urinalysis. Oh well…]
Okay, Nosey Kid. Fall back. I am leaving now – with my sarcastic nephew.
“You’re a curious one?” which is my super subtle way of saying goodbye to Nosey Kid.
“Yeah, I just need to know some answers,” he says.
Wait until he learns that talking to adults isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.