Jody doesn't tend to get maudlin about her disease or wrap herself in its mantel to gain favor.
True, we would often joke about it around the apartment four years ago—such as this laffer:
Me: Hey, when you get a chance, could you unload the dishwasher?
Jody: (whiny, tantrum voice) I have cancer!
...or, this old chestnut:
Me: I've cooked for the last three weeks. Wanna take a turn?
Jody: (whiny, tantrum voice) I have cancer!
But for the most part, Jody never played the "cancer card". Only when she was really
ragged from the chemo did she ever miss a day at work, skip a date, or retreat from the world in general.
(Okay, there was
that one time she just used it to get out of social plans she had absolutely no interest in, but that wasn't with you
, I promise.) :)
I've always admired this stoicism in her: it would be far, far too easy to let cancer be a crutch; a kind of blanket immunity from anything you didn't want to deal with. Jody's threshold for using it as an excuse is (typically for her) stratospheric.
My threshold, apparently, not so much.
played the cancer card. Tricky, huh?
We decided to drive to the Upper East Side this morning for our IVF appointments (instead of taking the subway). Jody was to have bloodwork and an ultrasound, followed by our consultation with a radiation oncologist at MSKCC
It was pouring
out when I dropped her at the clinic and proceeded to look for a parking spot. And look. And look. And........wait.
An oil truck made a delivery on the street in front of me. A full ten minutes sitting behind it. The rain falling heavier. Jody's time in the clinic progressing. I wasn't so worried about the bloodwork, but I wanted to be there for the ultrasound because her actual doctor was performing it (instead of an attending), and he'd give us a good idea as to where we stood.
Up the streets and down the streets I crawled in rush-hour traffic, in buckets of rain, looking for a spot, any spot, for my tiny car, which will fit in most of them. And then... disaster.
I turned onto an avenue where, across the street, a large, long roll-off container truck was preparing to back-and-turn across the four lanes of traffic between us to get into a construction site. A flagman waved me down to stop so that the truck could pass in front of me. But I was running late, and besides, there was no other traffic on the street for three blocks south of us, and as soon as I'd passed them by, they'd have had plenty
of time to make the maneuver. Yet here was the flagman, waving me down anyway.
"Screw this," I said under my breath, and zipped past him and the truck both, in a matter of seconds (see, they really took more time stopping me than they would have just letting me through!)
Wrong move. Immediately
a police van pulls up behind me, lights-a-flashin'. A burly, angry cop hops out, taps his flashlight on the window
(and I thought they only did that in the movies!)
I roll the window down and he shouts at me (think heavy
Brooklyn accent), "When a flagman tells you to stop for your safety, I suggest
I'm totally busted, and I'm out of time. It's been half an hour since I dropped Jody off. Who knows
what's going on up there? (As it turned out, Jody was getting reamed by an inexperienced phlebotomist, but that's her story for another day). I was not going to let this asshole read me the riot act. Even if he was
just doing his job.
So....I pulled out the cancer card.
And the actor card, while I was at it.
"I'm sorry I didn't stop, but my wife and I have an appointment with her RADIATION ONCOLOGIST
, and I've been trying to park the car for twenty minutes!", I protested, My Lip Trembling.
Cop: (insistent) "I'm sorry to hear that, but let me see your license and registration!"
"Here they are. I dropped my wife off half an hour ago. We're figuring out the best way to proceed with her CANCER TREATMENT
," I said, My Voice Choking Up.
Cop: (calmer) Allright, allright. Which doctor are you seeing? (Like he was going to verify this.)
"B***** M*****! (the doctor's name)" I shot back immediately, "at the Sloan-Kettering CANCER CENTER
", Tears Welling Around My Eyes, and Composure Hanging By a Thread.
The officer veritably jogged
back to the van (I've never seen that
before), hopped in, took oh, about 30 seconds to look at my stuff, then jogged
Cop: (soothingly, now!) Okay, but next time, if the flagman says stop, you STOP.
"Yes sir, thank you
sir!", Relieved Smile Spreading Across My Face.
And good luck to you both!
I know, I know
. But as soon as I pulled away, I found the only parking spot I'd passed all morning, and as I was getting out of the car, my cell rang with Jody on the other end imploring me to get up to the clinic. I won't argue that the ends justified the means, but the fact was, I really needed to get up to her, and I did what I had to do.
I won't make a habit of it.