DISPATCHES
Life With ‘the Lousy Gift That Keeps on Giving’
by Rob Schultheis
Jan 26, 2012 | 1325 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“Today, Father, is Father’s Day, and we’re giving you a tie, the one that we bought, didn’t cost such a lot, and we gave you the same tie last year.”

– Song by Groucho Marx

This is a ridiculously clumsy way to segue into a discussion of one aspect of cancer, et al., that I haven’t really written about before, or maybe I have and have totally forgotten about it. It’s the lousy gift that keeps on giving, seemingly forever: The full-on assault that cancer, Hepatitis C, etc., and the various medical remedies for same mount on one’s brain. I’m experiencing it a lot lately, and it’s about as much fun as having a wisdom tooth pulled by a first-year dental student, while two weasels do battle inside your BVDs.

You find your once fairly intelligent mind turning out stumblebum thoughts like, “Hey, I’m alive, but I can’t remember who the ---- I am or what the ---- I’m supposed to be doing. I think I’ll celebrate by going out, finding a beach with a kickass undertow and a reputation for shark attacks, stuff my swimming trunks with raw hamburger and take a nice, refreshing swim.”

“Do you have change for a twenty?”

“Sure. Here’s two fifties and I’ll have to owe you the rest.”

“It’s a shame that Caine and Perry dropped out of the Republican primaries; either one of them would have made a first-class chief executive.”

In my case, I was already laboring under a stupendous burden: dyslexia runs in my family, and I was born with a world-class case of it that worsened as I grew older. Of course, no one in the family ever told me about it; we were classic WASPs, of the “Uncle Stuyvesant has always been a bit different; you know; he’ll probably offer to carve the turkey, but whatever you do don’t let him near the carving knives” variety.

That was frustrating enough – for example, it took me three years of practice before I could successfully tie my shoes and graduate from being a pathetic Webelos to being a not-quite-so-pathetic Wolf Scout in the mysterious Cub Scout hierarchy….

But when the so-called “mind fog” produced by Hepatitis C began to manifest itself, I really got gonged; and when I was diagnosed with cancer and began a program of chemotherapy, wham-o, brain cells began quitting their jobs and staying home to play Sudoku and smoke ganja all day. Anyone who has had chemo knows what I’m talking about. And just as no one in my nutball family thought to inform me I might be dyslexic, I don’t recall anyone warning me that chemotherapy might result in my dropping out of contention for the next round of MacArthur Genius grants (or whatever the blazes they’re called; I used to know, until Cisplatin and his sidekick Gemzar mugged me behind the abandoned feldspar quarry…).

(To be continued, unless I forget…)
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