I’ve been working on this one woman show. It’s called The Ideal Version. Here’s an excerpt.
“It’s not cancer. You’re going to be fine.” The Doc said to me as he put away the ultra sound. That’s good, I thought, because that would have been a bit far away from even the worst thing I possibly could have imagined. Let’s back up.
I come from a family that’s very much: Go big or go home. Not intentionally. We never seek to arrive at the worst possible outcome. We never try to have a cold turn into, say bronchial pneumonia. We never try to fracture an ankle while walking off of a sidewalk. We never try to end up needing a wheel chair after an ill fated lap of breast stroke in the swimming pool. But for some reason, we’ve always ended up going big or going home.
And that’s resulted in a couple of problematic situations. Like say, when I was 5 years old when the 3rd eye doctor my mom took me to told her that it was good she brought me in. Because I was rapidly losing all vision in my left eye, and could go blind if we didn’t start treating it yesterday. Or when the same doctor, after preventing me from going blind by having me wear an eye patch over my right eye for a number of years told my mom, when I was 11, that we should consider having eye surgery to fix my lazy eye.
Christmas of 2004, I couldn’t just have a cold, I had to have the worst bronchitis of my life, be rushed to a doctor on Christmas eve, be prescribed robitussin with codeine, and find out the next morning, through upchucking my breakfast, and breaking out in itchy spots all over my body, that I was allergic to codeine.
My family has developed certain methods of coping with stuff like this. We have a plan A through a plan T. We have the version where everything works out like we had dreamed. And the version that might end up with a trip to the emergency room. Through it all though, we always say “You know what, we’ll get through this.” Because we always do. And we grow and become better people for it. My father has a motto, that perhaps contributes to the’ go big or go home’ style we live in. Walk it off, he’ll say. Just walk it off. While this does help us avoid over-hyping most non-crisis situations, it also delays getting treatment before reaching the brink of collapse.
My mom is the counterbalance to that, and she would say, “Maybe we should have that looked at. I don’t think you should be hacking up a lung. I don’t think that’s a great sign.” And then we would go to a doctor, and over the course of several heavy duty anti-biotics, and many missed days of school, I would be cured.