My last day at chemo was, until the end, like all the other days at chemo. I slouched in my barcalounger, they stabbed me with a 1″ needle in the bottlecap-sized subcutaneous catheter surgically implanted for this purpose (yes, it hurts), and they proceeded, over the next five hours, to dump several quarts of toxic emulsions into me. My sister Tidy arrived, as she has done without fail since my very first infusion, with Starbucks and copies of People and Texas Monthly and the Monday Austin American-Statesman, which we utilize chiefly for the crossword. Many say Tidy deserves a medal for her undying devotion through my entire treatment, but we both know she was just using me to get away from her kids for the day.
Stingray eventually showed up with a celebratory bag of cheddar-flavored Goldfish, and we made her take pictures. Here Tidy and I display examples of the lofty reading material that sustained us for the duration of the last four months’ ordeal. Certain Americans sure seem to have a strange obession with celebrity death and cancer. Cancer, cancer, cancer. Last week People had Sheryl Crow on the cover because a) Lance Armstrong dumped her and b) she’d just come down with Cancer. The one I read yesterday had a totally dead celebrity on the cover. “Her Final Days”—an exlusive!— was about the celebrity’s death from—what else?—Cancer. She was a celebrity because before she died she was married to another dead celebrity before he died. I also learned which celebrities are having babies, and that Jessica Simpson is the most popular girl in the universe, although 79% of People readers think her ex-husband deserves to score heavily in the divorce settlement “after what she put him through for 3 years.”
My crack team of infusion nurses present me with a “diploma” and throw a bunch of confetti on me for what’s known as “chemo graduation.” Thanks, girls!
After graduation I shopped around for an Airstream, but the closest one is in some hick town east of Dallas, so I’ll have to wait for a test drive until this last chemo wears off to the extent that I can take a road trip. Thusly foiled, I decided to utilize my fancy-free lighthearted steroid-induced end-of-chemo euphoria to walk my dogs.
At the point the furthest from the Twisty Compound our party was attacked by some asshole’s loose untrained dog. Somehow, during the ensuing scuffle, I was knocked down by an unexpected sideways bonk to the knee. The asshole tried to corral his dog by yelling “Thibedeau! Thibedeau!” at which point poor Thibedeau ran like hell in the opposite direction. The unfortunate fugitive was finally apprehended, and the asshole of course began delivering unto him a series of blows, apparently to ensure that in future old Thibedeau would never, ever come when called. “For chrissake don’t hit him!” I screamed from my crumpled position in the middle of the street, “he’s just a dog!”
Once the asshole was finished abusing his reluctant companion, he pulled the knurled Twisty physique off the pavement and asked if I was OK. I glared at him, and, taking a page from Thibedeau’s book, hobbled away on my rapidly swelling appendage with all speed, by which I mean really slowly. Tidy, who in her pre-motherhood days had been an athletic trainer, was called upon to bring expertise and Ace bandages and those Latin words she always uses to describe the nature of my injury. I had sustained a latero-lumpular sprain of the left pygmalion. Or something like that. “Ice it for 20 minutes every hour,” she prescribed, and then dashed off to a movie.
I did not let this setback prevent me from joining Stingray for dinner at Fino, where we drank champagne and ate this tiramisu with white chocolate and a poached pear and espresso syrup. Note to patrons of Fino who have sprained knees: there is an elevator, a fact I discovered only after I’d gimped up the double flight of steps.
But, hey, all you fucktards with loose untrained dogs! You are all roach-fucking needle-dicks!
Addendum: It turns out that I Blame The Patriarchy is a finalist for the Best New Blog Koufax. Spread the Blame!