Friday, December 23, 2005

My fear of death and a Jew's Christmas--A post dedicated to Woody Allen

I have this intense fear of anything medical: doctors, hospitals, dentists, and anything with a MD as a suffix. I start to shake, heart palpitations, panicky, and overall just want to cry. This fear stems from my fear of death; thinking that a doctors appointment will uncover some form of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, or anything else that will cause me to die slowly and painfully. Oh, and never mind the weekends where I drink myself into oblivion and then to proceed to mix alcohol with other indulgences--in my sick world, a blood test could seal my fate and not the lethal mix of large quantities of alcohol and anything else.

So for me to make a doctor’s appointment, you know I have to be on my deathbed with my vacation to Sun Valley quickly approaching; as proven since I scheduled an appt with a real doctor and not a First Med quack.

The problem with seeing a real doctor is that they will act as medical professionals and first ask about your bad habits and then proceed to counsel you—they just don’t want to treat the symptoms but the whole person. I knew I was in for a treat when I was weighed at the office and discovered that I had gained around 10 lbs from eating the contents of the lavish gastronomical delight gift baskets that get showered upon employees of the agency world, in what I like to call ‘Vendor Season’.

The doctor comes in and takes my vitals, seeing that my blood pressure is high and then proceeds to connect my smoking and belly to it.

“You know, you have high blood pressure.”

“Yes, I get nervous when I have to go to the doctor, see my hands are shaking.”

“Yes, but your blood pressure is high. You know, you are a smoker with a family history of heart problems.”

“Listen, I was in the hospital a few months back and my blood pressure was fine. I don’t know you [you don’t have much of a bedside manner] and I am nervous.”

He then jumps to the next red flag of my health history.

“You are a smoker.”

“No, I just smoke on the weekends and when I am drunk and when I am stressed (which is about every fucking day, but I won’t tell him).”

“There are three types of people, non-smokers, smokers, and former smokers. Do you want to quit smoking? It is giving you health problems and could lead to more.”

I look at him for a few seconds, and really think. Do I want to quit smoking?

“You know,” I begin, “I know this sounds horrible and I am a terrible person but, I love my cigarettes. I love the feeling of smoke filling my lungs as I inhale, and I especially love it when I am having a glass of red wine or a nice scotch.”

“Shannon, if you told me you want to kill someone, that would be horrible, but maybe you should reconsider smoking. Granted you don’t smoke a lot but you don’t know which cigarette it will be that gives you cancer.”

I sit and nod my head half listening to the anti-smoking shit. He continues:

“Next time you have a cigarette you should try to think about all the bad things that it is doing to your body and instead of associating it with pleasure, try to associate it with the health problems you will encounter.”

“Yea, too bad when I am smoking I am usually too blitzed out of my mind to form any rationale thought.”

He gives me a nod, and then proceeds to ask me if I have a problem drinking. The sad thing is, under the question asking, ‘How much do you drink a week?’ I answered how much I binge drink a weekend night. 7-8 drinks, and that weekly # that I gave him may be indicative of a problem. If my lie is too much, how bad could the truth be?

He then moves onto my sexual history, keep in mind I am in for a THROAT INFECTION. And, let’s be real, you guys have read in previous posts, my sex life is a joke. I’ve only slept with 1.5 guys this year, both British, one prob gay and the other socially inept hence he was my half. So its difficult for me to answer his sexual risk questions seriously.

“What forms of protection do you use against STDs?” the doctor asks.

“Abstinence!” I reply with a slight chuckle and the memory of my less than stellar fucks of the year.

“Do you think you should be tested for HIV? It says here that you’ve slept with 1.5? What is that .5?”

Obviously, the doctor doesn’t get my humor.

So he gives me antibiotics for my probable sinus infection. Since he is in a prescription writing mood, I tell him about my horrible fear of flying, hoping to score some Ativan off of him. His response? Tells me I should take Benedryl. Oh, I don’t think this is the doctor for me. What happened to the days where I could walk into a Dr’s office, tell him ‘I am feeling anxious’ and he’d give me a script for 60 pills and 4 refills of xanax? Most of NYC is medicated and why do I have to find the “professional” doctors.

Although he did recommend that I get this saline nasal spray, which, if I ever have to endorse a product, this shit fucking rocks! What’s even better is that at work I look like a cokehead running in and out of the bathroom from doing hits. I leave the bathroom, touching my nose, sniffling loudly, and a little jittery from taking the Herculean sniffs of saline into my nostrils.
But seriously, it fucking works like a charm, my nasal passages are clearing up and they are moisturized.

So with the medical bills piling up from my stint in the hospital, the fact that I spent almost $100 in vain on useless vitamins trying to keep this cold from turning into a sinus infection, and now having to pay the co-pay plus the script for my latest doctor’s visit, I am running out of money. Plus I just bought the cutest pair of UGGs and hot fucking snowboots too for Sun Valley. But Christmas is around the corner, and I come from a materialistic family where love is measured in how much you spent on that person for Christmas. But I am also a cheap fucker because I know those ‘gifts of love’ usually suck and I am too guilt ridden to return them for the cash/something I truly enjoy.

As I mentioned, Christmas season in the ad world is a very small but welcomed payback for the shit that we have to deal with comes in the form of vendor presents.

“Hey Kay, I got Tiffany’s from a vendor, go exchange it for something that mom would like and I’ll put your name onto the card. She won’t be the wiser and she will be stoked to receive that little turquoise box. But I don’t have a gift for dad, and none of the vendors gave me anything that he would like...,” trailing off and hinting.

“Fine, I’ll put your name onto Dad’s present. You got him a calendar with pictures of us growing up.”

“Oh wow, that is such a thoughtful present I got him. Thanks!”

“What are you getting Patrick?”

“Well 1 vendor gave me an I-tunes gift card and another gave me a Starbucks gift card, so I was going to give him that, do you want in on that?”

“Maybe, I am having a difficult time getting finding something.”

“Awesome, hey Kay, so your present, I got you tickets to see a Broadway show (awesome vendor present)”

“Oh, I was going to say, that I really can’t afford anything right now…”

“Babe, vendor present! And to be perfectly honest, you know that you would be the recipient of the second ticket regardless of the season. I really want to see Spamalot…But what was the ‘perfect present’ that you were going to get me, that you kept on talking about over and over aain?”

“A year’s subscription to the Met!”

“Kelly, how often do I go to the Met? You know, just keep your money and know that I have a nice vendor enabling me to give you such a wonderful Christmas present.”

So thanks to vendor gifts, I have spent a whopping $26 dollars on Christmas presents. That money going to my brother Michael and his fiancé (so $13 respectively) on movie passes for the two of them. These free Christmas gifts make me feel slightly less bitter about the 10-15 lbs I just gained from all of the overeating of gift baskets, drinking at Christmas parties, and from taking a hiatus from cigarette smoking.

And finally, a big thank you to the MTA for not only having the strike during finals week (yea postponed stats final) but for ending it once my stats final had to be rescheduled. Do you think the head of the MTA’s daughter just needed a postponement with her final and this was just a merely an elaborate scheme? But in all seriousness, strikers, you guys fucking rock! And for the asses who called you thugs and the lack of support from the TWU international, I think they need to read the fucking Communist Manifesto, some Taylor (he explains the managerial structure that facilitates the working man to be treated like shit), and some real life examples how collective bargaining and resistance fucking work, especially when the days of corporate responsibility and companies taking care of their employees are long gone. Moreover, if anyone bitches about the pension plan and how they shouldn’t receive on at the age of 50 or whatever, I would like to see how else the workers could raise a family, pay some of the most ridiculous housing prices in the country, put food on the table, and put money aside for retirement. If the city doesn’t pay the pension plans now, they will certainly have to deal with more people added to the ranks of the elderly and destitute. If I didn’t have to wear the yoke of capitalism, chained to my cubicle, I would be supporting them on the picket line.

And now I step off of my soap box with a realization I fucking belong as a professor at a small liberal arts school, teaching sociology to students who call me by my first name as my husband works for JP Morgan as a senior partner or whatever, living vicariously through my intellectual achievement and inability to function in the corporate world.

But, ya know, I am just saying.


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