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Oct 02 2005

PMA

I had suspected that my cancer-related patriarchy-blaming opportunities would be legion, and so far I have not been disappointed. For last Friday, in wild anticipation of tomorrow’s boob-loogey excision, the hospital invited me over for some pre-operative phun and phlebotomy.

The nurse who took charge of me had chosen Down-home Folksy Camp Counselor as her professional persona. "I’m Darla, it’s easy to spell if you spell it with a D, last name Ree-shard, but this is Texas so you’ll say ‘Richard’."

I deduced that, like Hyacinth Bucket, exoticism was important to Darla Ree-shard, so I thought I’d give her a gift. I said, "If this were France, I’d say Ri-shargh."

"What?"

"Ri-shargh."

My frenchy gargling of her last name failed to delight. I was there to absorb what Darla Ree-shard called "the tricks of the trade," not to make impertinent allusions to France, the enemy of Texas.

"Why," she asked, tapping with her Bic pen one of the 753 forms I had filled out, "are you taking the Xanax?"

I revealed that after my doctor had called to tell me I had fucking CANCER, I’d experienced, for some reason, a wee anxiety attack. Darla Ree-shard, marshaling her considerable powers of nursely observation, scrutinized me closely. A true professional, she had me sized up in about two-and-a-half seconds:

I was deficient in the cancer-enthusiasm department.

"You know," said Darla Ree-shard, "one of our best doctors, Dr. Butt, he always says the patients with the best PMA live the longest!"

As I silently resolved to avoid this Butt character at all costs, my blank visage conveyed to Darla Ree-shard the sad but inexorable truth that I did not know what a PMA was.

"Positive Mental Attitude!" she announced, bestowing upon me one of the Secrets of the Ages. "Dr. Butt always says ya gotta wanna live to be 100. Ya gotta have that PMA!"

She leaned toward me. "So," she inveighed with considerable pep, teaching the PMA by example, "Do you wanna live to be 100!!"

"Well," I said, "I’d been shooting for 75 or 80, but now that I’ve got fucking cancer, I realize that the more realistic goal is clearly 100. Thanks a bundle, Darla Ree-shard!"

66 comments

  1. gigi

    Hmmm. Where does one begin? Dr. Butt, Ms. Richard and PMA aside, HUMOR, which you so beautifully employ, goes a long way towards healing…Am sending good thoughts to you.

  2. d.e.i.x.i.s.

    Oh Jeezus– that sounds exactly like junior high. I was always the depressed kid & every one of my teachers at some point was like, ‘Adrienne, you should really smile more! You look so pretty when you smile!’ Hell– I got that shit well into high school.

    I’ll bet they don’t tell the depressed boys that shit.

    Dr. Butt, eh? I once went to a Dr. Dray. And a Dr. Pepper. There’s a professor at my school, Dr. Jekell.

  3. Sour Duck

    I was sorry to read about your diagnosis.

    That whole “PMA” thing is a huge turnoff to positivity. But I hope you’ll give it a go, at any rate.

  4. crankle

    How on EARTH did you muster the self-restraint needed to not adopt the creepy tone of her potential murderer and ask “Do YOU wanna live to be 100, Karla Richard?”

  5. Anonymous

    Bullshit, Karla Richard. Tell her to visit this link:

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=5780

    Be as crabby as you want.

  6. kcb

    Wouldn’t any worthwhile medical professional promoting a PMA heartily endorse the use of antianxiety drugs?

    FWIW, when my bro was 13 and recovering from brain-cancer surgery, the Make-a-Wish lady stopped by his room to ask him what his wish was. He said, “I wish you’d get the hell out here.” And while he may not live to be 100, he’s still chugging along at nearly 30. So maybe the A is the key factor, rather than the PM.

    Keeping my claws crossed for you.

  7. jo(e)

    Clearly, you do have a positive mental attitude. It’s just that some people don’t recognize it.

  8. delphyne

    Oh God, not just talking about a positive mental attitude but giving it an acronym for crying out loud. Why do people like that so often seem to end up in medicine?

  9. D Bunny

    Jesus fucking christ I hate nurses like that. They give the rest of us a bad name.

    First of all, why would you ask ANYONE why they take Xanax? Some meds have different uses, but Xanax is pretty straight-forward. The correct question to a patient who is on Xanax is not “why do you take it?” but “do you have any extra you can spare?” ;)

    Second, it is true that some research studies have proven a better survival rate for those cancer patients who did positive mental imagery and all that new-age stuff, but to say what she said is bordering on “blame the victim” undertones. I mean, would you go up to a rape victim and say, “You’d heal from the rape faster if you had a better attitude about it!” Absolutely ridiculous.

    Not every nurses’ personality matches with every patient they treat, and I’m sure I’ve put my foot in my mouth and came across all wrong to many patients in my career. That being said, I’ve always said that you can always tell if your nurse or doctor has ever been a patient themselves or not. You can spot the cluelessness a mile away if they’ve never been a patient themselves.

  10. nicky

    Well, at least that’s better than the Bible verses the admitting nurse had plastered to her sliding-glass window when I checked in for my mastectomy. One read: “The wages of sin is death.” Mr. N. tore the hospital administrator a new one over that. Next time I checked in it was gone.

    For additional fun during chemo treatments, there was one of those volunteer pink ladies who always came by for prayer sessions. She tried this once with me and thereafter made a wide loop around the room to stay away.

    Yes, a positive attitude is everything. Meaning, keep being positive about all the shit up with which you will not put.

  11. Jodie

    Hey, good nurses respond to PATIENT cues…she wanted you to respond to HERS. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not that hard.

    Plus, you know, women victims must be perky at all times so no one has to deal with any pesky attitude, for example anger at getting cancer, because women aren’t supposed to ever be angry.

    Yep, go right ahead and blame the patriarchy for this one. And keep your attitude. (and Crankle, I laughed really HARD at the thought of asking Karla if SHE wanted to live to be 100)

  12. robin

    Darla Richarrrr does not amuse me. Her perkiness and her acryonym-spouting ways annoy me, even from these 2 degrees of separation.
    I myself prescribe black humor with anti-anxiety meds as needed (BHWAAMAN)..
    We’re thinking of you with all best and warmest wishes.

  13. Julia

    I don’t know if a positive attitude helped my husband live longer with his cancer. But it did allow him to live better.

    Sometimes I thought the whole positive attitude thing was just that the medical staff didn’t want to hear you bitching. But then I didn’t have cancer, so I kept my bad attitude.

    I think humor works. Some nurse once asked my husband, “How is the tumor?” He replied, “I didn’t like it at first, but now it’s growing on me.” You should have seen the look on her face!

  14. res publica

    I know “positive attitude” is better for you, etc., but I still would have puked all over her. Maybe just for being named Darla-With-A-D.

  15. kathy a

    i’m sure it’s easier for the medical people to deal with patients who seem perky and upbeat. but how realistic is that? it’s hard to work up a lot of enthusiasm for cancer, surgery, and whatever other goodies are in store.

    you’d think the dr. butts of the world would realize that the damned CANCER is, ya know, eating up your personal body, to which most patients are sentimentally attached, for some reason. aren’t anxiety, fear, and anger as naturally a part of the picture as a lump in the boob?

  16. liz

    Tact is for people who aren’t witty enough for sarcasm.

    I agree with whomever said that this is ripe for the patriarchy-blaming because, indeed, women are not supposed to get angry. It upsets the menfolk, you know.

  17. joolya

    oy. sistah, take your xanax proudly. if you weren’t having an anxiety attack you’d be insane. i come from a family of b.c. “survivors” (bleagh, it sounds so pink and frilly), one of whom is 91 years old and one of whom lived with it for 5+ years with a shitty attitude, and i am sending good vibes your way. prognosis is really good for early-detected breast tumors. keep blaming the patriarchy – it is good for your health.

  18. Pinko Punko

    God Damn, only a total pro would throw the big C a curve and instead harvest patriarchy blaming material. Touche, Twisty, touche.

  19. Nora

    What a bitch. In addition to insulting you, she also managed to make your cancer all about her — her name, its (annoying) spelling and pronunciation, her questions, her expectations for your behavior & outlook. Eff that. And her.

    I do like what you’ve done with the name of your disease — I shall henceforth refer to it in all contexts and conversations as “fucking cancer,” because that’s what it is.

  20. kathy a

    p.s. — thinking of you, and hoping the patriarchy-blaming medical corps is there for you tomorrow. declare a no-pink zone, promise excellent tacos to non-perky staff, take patriarchy-blaming backup.

  21. TeenageCatgirl

    Gotta love the medical profession, my sister, a type 1 diabetic (child onset, insulin dependent) went to see some quack a while ago, and the first words out of his mouth were ‘Are your parents related?’.

    Where do they find these people?!

  22. Josef K

    Suddenly I’m reminded of the joke:

    “Doctor, when my arm heals, will I be able to play the violin?”
    “Of course you will.”
    “Fantastic, I couldn’t before.”

    We all want to live to 100, but give me an early death over decades of incontinence and doolallyness. Mind you, you could always go for the ancient patriarchy-blaming Southern belle look.

  23. Reecie

    I’ll trade you a couple of your Xanax for a Valiam and two Ambien.

    And please do go right ahead and snatch a couple handfulls off Ms. Ree-shard’s empty effing head.

  24. radmila

    I remember a few years ago, when I was pre op for the 4th surgery, I was paired with a nurse who was “counselling” me before my biopsy.
    I was sick to death of all the poking and probing over 8 years of illness…

    Me: “What would happen if I refused treatment?”
    Her: “You would be dead by the time you reached 35″

    How’s that for counselling?

  25. jenofiniquity

    Hey, Twisty, I’m sorry about all of this. I’m thinking about you . And fuck the PMA. Jaysus.

  26. bitchphd

    I truly hope that you actually *did* say that to her. Ugh. That peppy, patronizing bedside attitude is the WORST.

    Tell her you wanna live through this so that you have enough time to bulk up and pound the shit out of everyone who tells you to have a “PMA.”

  27. Pinko Punko

    I would like to propose the au contraire argumento and say wouldn’t it be worse if they a) didn’t give a shitsy b) acted like you were already dead.

    Being a health care professional can be a thankless and tough job. I don’t think Twisteroni’s post crosses the line, it’s more a wry description of a days stressful events. Some comments tho’, I think maybe they are off track.

    But people know how PP can be controversial, so take that with a grain o’ salt.

  28. Hissy Cat

    I really hate that shit, being patronized by health care professionals. I had to get a breast lump checked out not too long ago by a doctor I’d never seen before. She asked what meds I was on and I rattled off my, admittedly quite impressive, list of psychopharmaceuticals.

    Dr: Uh-huh, and who writes these prescriptions?
    Me: Dr. R, my psychaitrist.
    (silence)
    Me: I’ve been seeing Dr. R for about four years.
    Dr: (with palable relief) Oh, ok, that’s gooood.

    What. The. Fuck. Did she think I was buying my Wellbutrin on the street?

    And later:

    Dr: And which pill is that?
    Me: Ortho-TriCyclin. I was on OrthoLo (low-dose) for a month, but that turned out disastrously.
    Dr: In what way?
    Me: Um, in the way that I got pregnant.
    Dr: (Nods. Conisders.) Maybe the dose was too Lo! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaheeheeeheeeheeeheeeheeehee.

  29. Chris Clarke

    It occurs to me that the acronym PMA, should the Powers That Be keep forcing it on you, offers abundant opportunities for humor in the Emily Litella ouevre, to wit:

    “And how’s our PMA today?”
    “What? No, that was two weeks ago.”

    or

    “Have we been paying attention to our PMA?”
    “No, I’ve been trying to ignore the cramps.”

    Comedy gold!

  30. Ancrene Wiseass

    Yep. Blame the patriarchy. And also blame just plain old selfishness. Ms. Richard and her “PMA” reek of that particular brand of self-regard which insists upon “cheering up” everyone in the known universe, because, to them, the possibility that somebody–particularly the womenfolk, who are meant to provide that cheerful, fluffy, pink buffer against Unpleasantness for all and sundry–might get pissed off, scared, or upset, no matter how justifiably, is complete anathema. After all, if somebody ain’t happy, it might bring Ms. Richard and her little troop of PMA Cheerleaders down. These people have no sense and no fortitude. Reality is their Kryptonite.

    You, on the other hand, are a righteous, ass-kickin’ patriarchy-blamer with a serious case of smarts. You don’t need such foolishness to get you by.

  31. Mandos

    “Dr: And which pill is that?
    Me: Ortho-TriCyclin. I was on OrthoLo (low-dose) for a month, but that turned out disastrously.
    Dr: In what way?
    Me: Um, in the way that I got pregnant.
    Dr: (Nods. Conisders.) Maybe the dose was too Lo! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaheeheeeheeeheeeheeeheeehee.”

    Hey if I had been that doctor I’d have made that joke too. It’s too delicious a pun to resist.

  32. MsKate

    Gag … she sounds like one of those dimwits who think that REAL women don’t go for the good drugs during childbirth. Ack.

    Seriously, though, those in my family that lived the longest were, to put it mildly, CANTANKEROUS! I believe I saw a study once where most people who live to 100 have PMA, and the rest drop the PM.

    Power to ya Twister, power to ya!

  33. MsKate

    http://www.despair.com/doubt.html

    Here, darlin’, sneak this into that place next time (or one of it’s demotivating sistern …)

    Cheers!

  34. yankee transplant

    You are one of the few people out there who are truly a match for these idiots. Get ‘em, Twisty! Sorry you’re having to go through this. I love your “A” though.

  35. Jodie

    Hey, PP, I’ve worked in psychiatry and am now in H&N oncology.

    Good caregivers respond to cues, particularly in areas where there is a lot of emotion tied to the disorder or disease.

    My guess is that Karla is probably trying to avoid any show of emotion by a patient and covering it up by “It’s good for you!” She probably even believes that…but it’s much better for the one with the disease or disorder to be able to express their feelings instead of being told that what they’re feeling will make them worse.

    And maybe it’s hard for Karla to deal with people’s emotions. In which case she’d probably be better off in some other area of nursing, IMHO.

  36. kathy a

    PP, i agree it is a thankless task. and hell, there surely are worse nurses in the wings, too — hanging out with the doctors who decided to skip med school sessions on bedside manner.

    jodie said earlier that nurses are supposed to respond to patients — not instruct patients to respond to their idea of how to act and feel. so true.

    instructing a patient who is in such a horrible, vulnerable place about having the correct “attitide” is so misguided, because real humans are different, and we all have complicated emotions about cancer. it is like saying, “doctor prefers patients who wear 34B,” and then throwing in the kicker, “and those patients live longer.” one fucking size does not fit all.

    wouldn’t it be gratifying to hear, “getting cancer really pisses a lot of people off”? i’m thinkin’ if i was in cancerland, i’d enjoy an offer to toss those extra post-surgical errant cells in a bonfire, or freeze the shit out of them in liquid nitrogen and toss ‘em on the sidewalk so they shatter, or something. and i’m not into violence, either.

  37. TimT

    That’s Hyacinth Bouquet, thankyouverymuch!

  38. sarahsarah

    I’ve found that the only answer to “why are you taking the Xanax?” is “why not?”
    I wish you the best of luck dealing with the cancer and the medical establishment BS. I recently dealt with a nightmare therapist and discovered that the problem with the medical establishment is that they really don’t leave you any outside. But it seems like you are forging ahead and making your own.

  39. Mary Kay

    I had (orthopedic) surgery earlier this year. When the doctor says you’re taking to much pain medication just tell him it’s your body not his and you know how much it hurts. My nurses were really good but the doctor had some attitude. Good surgeon though.

    Oh, um, Michael Berube sent me and I have madly enjoyed reading the back posts. Where have you been all my life?

    Good luck.

    MKK

  40. Tony Patti

    What a fountain of wisdom here. Blame the patient. Check. Keep the nurses’ own emotions in control. Check. Made your problem all about her. Check. You guys are all so insightful. And more.

    I call it poisonous mental attitude. An attitude of submission to a properly debased sense of what it means to be positive — being grateful for being patronised. The poor nurse probably could never understand that you are a woman who can’t be patronised.

    Give it to them good, but do it without rancor. It’s all grist for the mill, and insisting on dignity and respect will work effectively if the Xanax is working and you’re keeping it light and easy. I pity the fools, I do, but I don’t want them fucking with you, either. Dignity and respect are the only way for you to ensure that I maintain a positive mental attitude. That’s my mantra.

    Treat me with dignity and respect. I am not a child.

  41. BritGirlSF

    This whole cancer treatment extravaganza is starting to resemble a package holiday in Hell. Why do medical people always seem to think that weather-girl levels of perkiness are what a sick person wants to see? Personally I’d prefer quiet competence, but maybe I’m just wierd that way.

  42. Kyra

    Maybe second grade, I have my tonsils taken out. The surgeon, or anesthesiologist, or whoever (I don’t know if real-life surgeons actually bother to come in and interact with the patient before they operate like they do on Dr. 90210) comes to put an IV in, but before doing this, puts some type of local numbing agent on my hand. Before doing THIS, he tells me that he’s going to “make a little mosquito bite” on my hand. I kid you not. I looked at him like, “Are you stupid? What am I, two? Or are you so incompetent that you can’t wrap your brain around the concept of a local anesthetic that gets put under the skin by way of a tiny puncture wound, and choose to think of it as a mosquito bite? And if so, what the hell are you doing working here?” None of which I said, because I was like seven, shy, and assumed I was powerless.

    Know what I hate about the medical universe, though? How they don’t let you see whatever it is they’re doing to you. In the dentists office they never let me see the needle they’re putting the novicaine in with, and my imagination happily supplied the biggest needle that could properly be called a needle rather than an ice pick. Then, after years of this image, I had a conversation with a dentistry student and found out that they use very small needles for it. Like, thanks for absolutely nothing.

    And, for that matter, I hate how they insist on things. Example: I hate needles. I also hate any wounds in the soft tissues of my mouth. There is a discomfort involved with both of them that I hate far worse than any “real” pain. Real pain, especially something I can rationally catalogue as nonharmful, I don’t mind as much. Therefore the pain of getting a tooth drilled is preferable to the needles and prolonged numbness of novicaine. One time a few years ago, I asked if I could go without novicaine while a cavity was drilled, and they let me, and it hurt but I was fine. Everybody’s happy. But every time after that, I tell them I don’t want novicaine, and they tell me I have to have it, I suggest they start without it and I tell them if I need it (which doesn’t take any extra time, if you think about it), and they tell me I have to have it from the start. And I fucking hate that. Anybody know if they have the authority to do that, or do I have the authority to refuse a certain aspect of treatment?

  43. Cher

    Go, Twisty, go! Darla & her ilk can just … blow you if they can’t deal. Though that might be too generous a privilege.

  44. larkspur

    If there’s one thing you have for sure, Twisty, it’s credibility. You’ve got the cancer, you can set the ground rules. To Nurse PMA – tell her. “Oh, TIME OUT. You don’t know me, so let me explain something to you. I’m an intelligent adult who needs information. I appreciate kindness and concern, but I don’t have time for your cheerleading or your acronyms. That might be a good approach for some people, but it isn’t for me.

    “Now, if you can work with me like this, I’m pleased to meet you. If you can’t, then don’t waste my time, and please get another RN in here to take over.”

  45. rose

    I love you Twisty, you are the adorable one. Please do not listen to professional cheerleaders, they are tools of the patriarchy. Suitable for blame I think.

  46. The Fat Lady Sings

    You know – I think there is a special school for health workers titled “How to be an insensitive clod”. Some years back, my husband had to have a rather sizable tumor removed from the right hemisphere of his brain. Not a good week all around – but you know all about that. The surgery was scheduled to take 12 hours. They expected me to wait in this tiny room packed full of anxious people, all waiting for word on their loved ones. Presiding over all this was little Miss Helmut Head (empty, of course!).

    This stupid woman accosted every person there with her special brand of pseudo-religious claptrap to the point of nausea. For the most part, I tuned her out; pretending to read whatever silly magazines they had littered about the room. After about hour six, I began to get restless, so I got up and headed out into the corridor. Helmut Head followed – determined to offer me COMFORT – whether I wanted it or not.

    OK – I tried polite; nodding my head at appropriate intervals, going ‘uh huh’ whenever she stopped talking. Then it happened – she proceeded to tell me all about her terrible day. I won’t go into it – but it was tantamount to breaking a nail. She followed this up with an admonition on how I wasn’t the only person in the world with problems. That tore it. Shy is not a word anyone has ever used to describe me. I ripped the bitch a new one, then went to her supervisor and suggested idiot girl be reassigned somewhere she could do no harm. She was.

    Strangely, I felt yards better. So when my husbands doctor arrived to tell me he was going to be fine, I smiled and said ‘well, of course he is’. Now – I don’t know if your Nurse Ratchett is going to be there every time. If so, I suggest that verbal gymnastics may be the order of the day. At the very least you will have the satisfaction of seeing little Miss PMA sink beneath the waves of your scintillating wit. In other words – skewer the bitch! Trust me – that’ll perk your ‘attitude’ way the hell up!

  47. nicky

    What Larkspur and The Fat Lady said.

    You’re the customer, if you will. You are contracting with them for their services. Even though the servicing in question is for your body, rather than, say, your car, I found that it helps enormously to proceed accordingly through Cancerland.

  48. SneakySnu

    I just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear this news, since I’m learning about it only this morning. And it has incited a frantic self-check!

    The power/patriarchy tripping that goes on in dr. offices and hospitals kills me. Like when they start throwing out blood values in numbers and abbreviations without explaining what the fuck they might mean, and then get all huffy when I force them to stop and explain.

  49. M

    Keep kicking the patriachy. All that ‘PMA’ bollocks is blame shifiting; only baaaad girls die of cancer, nice ones who have PMA surivive! She was a Nice Girl who died of cancer? Well, she couldn’t have been that Nice, otherwise she would have PMA and live to 100!

    Grrrr.

    The patriachy needs blaming and kicking, and we need you to do it. Thus you Will Live.

  50. Sylvanite

    Kyra, I always tell the dentist that I don’t want Novocaine (or Lidocaine, or whatever it is they’re using). I don’t know why, but I’ve never gotten any real insistence that I be numbed. Maybe because I make clear that I find the pain much less annoying than drooling on myself for hours after the filling is in. That always seems to get a chuckle from the dentist.

    Anyways, to the best of my knowledge, competant adults are always free to refuse medical care. I don’t know why they won’t just do as you ask. It isn’t life-threatening, after all.

    Some of the commenters have made the point that that nurse has probably never had anything bad happen to her. Personally, I think that maybe such people should not be put in charge of oncology patients.

  51. laughingmuse

    Twisty, you rock my socks.

    Attitude is the important thing for people I’ve known living long lives – being yourself as hard as you can.

  52. Sara

    Ah, yes, let the patronizing begin…

    No matter what kind of sticky sweet passive-aggressive control mechanisms they try throw over you, remember: a genuinely positive mental attitude is not necessarily one which makes other people comfortable.

    One other thing to remember: These people — doctors, nurses, catheter emptiers — all work for you. You are not there to please them. When any of them appear to forget this, you should feel free to remind them, politely if you can, but firmly.

    I think you get this already. Good for you.

  53. Ron Sullivan

    Jeezus fuck I hate cheerleaders. Why the fuck to so many of them get into medical practice? And Heroes… sometimes you can hear the TV-med-show music in their heads leaking out their ears.

    And in my role as Big Nurse, I’m here to tell you it’s the bitchiest patients who live longest. Never doubt it, or yourself! (And when you do doubt yourself, don’t beat yourself up over that either.)

  54. Steve Pick

    Gosh, Twisty, apparently Dr. Butt and his nurse are fans of the Bad Brains. Us old time punk rockers remember the song “Attitude”:

    Don’t care what they may say we got that attitude. Don’t care what they may do we got that attitude. Hey we got that PMA (positive mental attitude). Hey we got the PMA. Hey we got the PMA.

  55. Orange

    Check out Cancerbaby’s posts about cancer, optimism, the Lance Armstrong mythology, and the crap people tell cancer patients about how, basically, if their attitude isn’t upbeat enough, it’s their own damn fault if they aren’t cured. (The first two posts on that page are the relevant ones.) I bet Cancerbaby would join you in smacking some sense into Karla Ree-shard.

  56. ae

    Good Keerist. The indignities are pulling into the station right on time. Oh, Twisty, I so dig you. And it’s screamingly obvious that you’ll kick fucking cancer’s ass w/ your obstreperal lobe and boobs tied behind your back. Your ‘A’ will hold you in good stead. Can you bring a pal next (and every) time to run interference on the Ree-shards along the way? It’s enough that you’ve got to sit in the chair.

    P.S. I have GOT TO stop reading your blog when I’m drinking something. This spit-take courtesy of Hyacinth Bucket. Ha!

  57. Dean

    Darla sounds like a git – a well-intentioned git, perhaps, but a git nevertheless. With a bedside (chairside?) manner like that, I’m surprised that she doesn’t have people just going *off* on her every damn day.

    Anyway, don’t let the bullshit get ya down, and know that your St. Louis pals are thinking of you and hoping for the best.

  58. Alvi

    Twisty, you’re a more restrained person than I. I think I would have thrown up in her hair and kicked her shins.

  59. Hogan

    I think your attitude is good enough that you’ll do the cowboy two-step on Darla’s grave.

    My mother died of lung cancer two years ago. Fifty years of my father’s second-hand smoke (yes, I blame the patriarchy). Kick cancer’s ass for me and my sisters. There’s a margarita in it for you.

  60. kathy a

    dean, i’m kinda slow and not from texas or st. louis. i should know this, but what’s a “git?”

    git along? git the hell out of here? Guru in Training? god-damned idiot tool of the patriarchy? or is there a deeper meaning?

  61. Dean

    Kathy A, a “git” is a stupid and/or obnoxious person.

    I’m pretty sure it’s slang from the UK, though it does sound almost like it could be from the Ozarks, doesn’t it? And yes, a git is usually someone you’d like to see “git out of here,” too.

  62. whyme63

    “Positive”, my ass. For me, the P stands for Protective, as in protective thinking. As in the correct term for so called “negative thinking”. More and more studies are concluding that pessimism is actually a valid self-preservation behavior.

  63. Craig

    “I’ll bet they don’t tell the depressed boys that shit.”

    Well, when I was a 14 year old boy I was depressed… abandoned, hungry, sexually molested and depressed… and my guidance counselor didn’t tell me stuff like that. She didn’t even seem to care WHY I was depressed and missing classes.

    All she did was tell me I had better get my act in gear and decide right away what I was going to do to earn money for the rest of my life because otherwise “how do you expect to support a wife and family?”

  64. Anonymous

    I hate people who tell me to smile when I don’t feel like smiling. I hate being ordered to do anything, including feel good about illness. Ugh.

  65. Cantrixargenta

    A brill post. Keep up with the squashing of the PMA idiots. You’re ill, not them, and that, I believe, entitles you to have whatever attitude you damn well feel like. My father was on dialysis and we all got really pissed off at the perky people who acted like if he was less cranky at having to get his blood cleaned every 3 days, his kidneys would magically come to life again. I ought to have said to them Hey, if it’s so easy, why don’t you come around to the dialysis clinic and we’ll hook you up too.

  66. Klem

    Dear Darla with a “D”,
    Has anyone that lives with a constantly PMA ever become sick? Well, oh my, yes they have.

    I blame the patriarchy when people spout off some statistic that is so naturally and easily disproven it is laughable.

    Beware of sadistic health care workers masquerading as Florence Nightengale-I’m-here-to-kill-you-with-kindness fucktards. Arm thyself .

    Cheers to Twisty for what will obviously be a long and well lived life!

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