Depends on How You Look at It

Posted: April 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Discoveries, Doctors, Miss Kate, My Body, My Temple, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Preg-o | 3 Comments »

When I was pregnant with Paige—and with Kate too—my right eye went on temporary hiatus. I have a strange neurological wiring problem that flares up now and then. My own rare medical malady. Like the fact that I’ve never seen Star Wars, it’s one of the few things that set me apart from most of humanity.

And desperate as I was to land impossible-to-get appointments with specialists, once I got in to see them they all just patted my hand and told me to wait it out. There ain’t much you can do about this thing. ‘Specially when you’re pregnant.

But sitting around waiting for something to happen is my personal brand of hell. So I took up with a well-respected mad genius-type Chinese acupuncturist. Or rather, put myself in his care.

The Bay Area’s alternate-health gurus all claimed this guy was The Best. Despite his ramshackle office, located deep in San Francisco’s foggy Avenues. almost out out by the beach, I was supposedly in the care of a world-class healer. Plus, tacked to the wall in the waiting room was a picture of Robin Williams mugging with the good doctor. To a long-time People subscriber, there’s no better testament to a doctor’s competence than his having a celebrity patient.

During my visits, Dr. Q would look at my tongue, take my pulse, and inform me that my gall bladder was grumpy. Other times he’d say my liver was woody, or my blood sluggish. At least those were the kinds of things I remember him saying.

In fact, I understood nearly nothing about his assessments, and that had little to do with his limited English. His form of healing was just damn different from anything I’d known before. Despite that, I gave myself over to his needle wielding wholeheartedly and in good faith. I was desperate, helpless, and more than anything, bored. There’s not much one can do with one eye. Reading is tiring. TV is depressing. And computer work is out of the question.

One can eat. And one can worry. So my visits to his office were in large part a hopefully-helpful distraction. One that my insurance didn’t cover.

Aside from my bizarre eye issue—which, granted, most people would trade for several months of gut-churning nausea—my pregnancies were marked by almost no other symptoms. I never barfed, had swollen feet, or ran from rooms at the smell of broccoli. Much of the time I forgot I was even knocked up.

But a little thing started interrupting my sleep at night. (And sleep, as you may know, is my super power.) It was minor, but just pesky enough to torment me. The inside of my right elbow was—well it seems silly now to even mention—but it felt kinda tickly. Like someone was ever so lightly touching it, brushing a feather across it. And of course, there was nothing there.

To make things worse, it was only on the right side. The first rule of hypochondria is if it’s asymmetrical, it’s probably cancer.

Okay, so I didn’t really think it was that. But still, it was maddening.

I’d wake Mark up over it. “Honey? I can’t sleep. My elbow pit. It’s Driving. Me. Crazy.”

It was, I decided, the perfect symptom to relay to my acupuncturist. If the leg bone’s connected to the kidney, and the gall bladder’s connected to the pinky toe—or if not quite that, at least I’d come to trust that there was some interconnectedness between what I’d previously thought of as unrelated parts—if that was the case, then this tickly inner elbow thang may be the key to unlocking my eye problem.

And wasn’t I so clever, so in tune with my body, to make note of it? (I had a lot of time on my hands to be self-congratulatory too.)

At my next appointment, as the doctor was readying my needles, I laid the news of my latest symptom on him. I awaited his chin-rubbing contemplation. The “aha!” moment in which he connected my ocular issue with my tickly elbow pit.

Instead, he looked up and said, “Oh… Okaaaay.” The way you might talk to someone who you think is a touch crazy. Someone you may even feel a little bit afraid of. But then, so as not to appear rude, he quickly added, “Sorry if that bother you.”

Then he started sticking needles in me. And I never brought it up again.

The other day I drew a hopscotch in front of our house for Kate. Years back, this was the kind of thing I enjoyed harassing our realtor about. I was waddling around to tour houses 8 months pregnant and once-again one-eyed, but whenever I’d see some cute crap chalked onto the sidewalk I knew not to fall for it. Not to buy into the, “Oh honey, look! What a nice family neighborhood this must be!”

No, instead I’d turn to Charlie, the Bay Area’s most patient realtor, and ask, “So what time did you have to get here this morning to draw this?”

So here I was last week, playing outside with Kate and realizing that my hopscotch skillz have lost some of their bououncy since my youth. Though it might have had to do with the clogs I was wearing.

Anyway, when Paige got up from her nap, she was all fired up about joining the game. I adore that kid-sister fearlessness. That her default setting is to get in on whatever big-kid action is underway. I mean, Kate could have some pals over for a few friendly rounds of mumblety peg, and Paige would be all, “Cool. I’m in. Where’s the knife?”

But as it turns out, with hopscotch Paige lacks some fundamental know-how. She still hasn’t mastered the simple act of jumping. But she doesn’t let on about it. It’s like the best-kept out-in-the-open secret ever.

Here’s Paige: She sizes up the hopscotch squares, bends her knees, thrusts both arms into the air, and calls out, “DUMP!” (This being her closest approximation to the word “jump.”) Then she takes a step forward.

This delights her, and she appears to have no reservations about her ability to play being any different than anyone else’s. If it weren’t so obvious that she wasn’t really jumping, you’d swear that she was.

Recently when we pulled up to the house after getting Kate from school, Paige ran out of the car to the corner where the hopscotch squares had been. Days of rain had washed the chalk away, but that was no deterrent.

Bend knees. Arms up. “DUMP!” And a step forward.

There was no hopscotch court there. But hey, Paige also wasn’t really jumping.

But from her perspective? Miss Paigey Wigs was radiating the fierce confidence of an Olympic long jumper. She sold those not-really jumps. And it was so damn endearing I bought up every last one of them. I mean, sure, I AM her Mama. But it got me thinking that sometimes what ain’t really there, can sometimes kinda of spring to life, if you pretend hard enough.

And sometimes, what IS there–what’s taking up every last drop of your mental energy—turns out to be of little consequence at all. You don’t need two workin’ eyeballs to see that some things are just what they are, and nothing more.

And on that note, I think I’ll turn on the TV.


3 Comments on “Depends on How You Look at It”

  1. 1 jEFF said at 9:51 am on April 16th, 2010:

    Love it! Kids are so great at helping us look at things a different way and so are you. And you are always good for a chuckle or eight. Thanks yet again!

  2. 2 DSturtz said at 7:37 am on April 18th, 2010:

    Clever as always. At some point I’m going to demand credit for introducing you to Charlie…

  3. 3 Mary said at 9:56 pm on April 26th, 2010:

    Next time we hang out, can you just be a blog post and I’ll sit there and listen and wave a small flag when you say something that is super funny or resonates on some level so you’ll know which parts of your post are my favorite?

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