Saturday, December 31, 2005

On Becoming a Drama Queen

I’ve never been one to tell stories about my life to any great degree – perhaps because there aren’t too many remarkable things to tell. But as I approach this very strange period of isolation in just 10 days, I find myself almost delighting in describing the room, the bizarre process, and all the rules aimed at killing off a particular group of cells in my body.

As we sat around the dinner table with friends last night, after gorging ourselves on multiple kinds of latkes and brisket, I started relating a story that was reminiscent of an I Love Lucy episode. I described 24 hours of being awakened by my alarm clock every 90 minutes to suck on lemon candy to stimulate my salivary glands, drinking prodigious quantities of water, and then getting up from my plastic-covered bed to pee and shower in an effort to shed the excess radiation. ALL BY MYSELF, since no one will be allowed in. God, this sounds scary once again this morning, but last night it almost seemed comical in its unreality.

Then I described going home and keeping real boundaries from every living thing – well maybe not bugs! But my husband and my dogs and God-forbid a pregnant woman should enter our house. Because I will be off limits to humanity until I quit glowing. But this story too became comical in its absurdity.

When someone asked why I didn’t just talk to another person who had been through this, my first thought (to myself) was, “Why in the world would I really want to know the truth? It’s so much more fun to just speculate and laugh about it.” I mean, maybe I would find out that the plastic covering in the room is imperceptible. Maybe I would find out that they serve you gourmet food and lots of wine in the hospital (probably not the case.) Maybe I would find out that there is nothing to be afraid of. But then, maybe I would find out that it is truly AWFUL. I think I just don’t want to know, even though this is the logical thing to do.

So meanwhile, the story gets more dramatic in every retelling – that is, the telling of what I think will be the story. They had better let me bring in my laptop so I can write in between lemon candy and showers because I do want to tell the truth someday. For now, I am just content with playing the drama queen.

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