No Worries – – We’ve Got Your Back.

mad magazine

When a normal person is scared they have breast, skin or bone cancer,

They simply get examined by a doctor and have a quick answer.

But I worry the procedure will have serious complications,

Or their medical equipment will have poor calibrations,

Or the laboratory will make gross errors in their calculations,

Or the results will come back with (gasp!) positive confirmations!

So instead I go to a therapist and have lengthy conversations . . .

“How do I stop incessantly worrying about everything?” I ask.

They nod knowingly, sending me home with one simple task.

“Write down everything you fear happening, make one great big list.

Because once it’s down on paper, from your mind it’ll be dismissed.”

I take my pencil and put every single dread down in plain black and white

But maybe writing causes lead poisoning, how to avoid that disturbing plight?

And reading these awful lists are more frightening than thinking I have ovarian cysts.

To the depths of despair I sink, the only thing to do is find another Shrink.

The next one prescribes Xanax, Zoloft, Valium, and even a little Prozac.

Cuz drugs have your back & get you on track when life goes outa whack.

(Never mind the side effects, like filling your arteries up with plaque!)

Oh dear, this isn’t working; I think I need to just find a homeopathic Guru.

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” a sign over his desk sounds a little too woo-woo.

He warns, “Thinking about something you don’t want, will surely bring it about”

Oh great, now all my concerns will come true, of that there can be no doubt!

“Thank you!” I say as I pay the pretty receptionist his outrageous high bill.

I can’t think about going broke; I need to worry about writing my own will.

But first my caring boyfriend offers (for free!) his own professional tactics,

“You need an adjustment,” he says, “You should never underestimate chiropractics.”

I climb up on his special table, wondering if it’s been recently sterilized.

“Just don’t touch my neck, back, shoulders or body…I don’t wanna be paralyzed.”

He shakes his head in frustration and I fear his prognosis is gonna be bleak.

“I know you pick our dinners and movies — my diagnosis is you’re a Control Freak.”

As I drive home I realize I haven’t heard from my kids, not a peep all day long,

Now I’m sure they’ve been kidnapped or injured, or something else is wrong.

“Kids” I say, “Why don’t you phone to pester me or tell me your life is a mess?”

“We’ve been told to keep things secret, so we don’t cause you further stress.”

This sounds like bad advice from none other than my ridiculous Ex.

Now how will I know if my son is on drugs or my daughter’s having sex??!

As a last resort, I take all my troubles to an Author’s Workshop and ask for advice.

“Go home and Blog about it, I’m sure your followers will think that’s nice.”

But I worry an 800-word story about an MRI and a malignant brain tumor,

Will cause my readers to suspect, “She’s completely lost her (odd!) sense of humor!”

So maybe I’ll write a poem – but gosh, should it be a sonnet, a limerick or a haiku?

And will my depressing topic elicit comments like, “Sheesh, we really dislike you!”

Where will this ever end? There’s no remedy for being a compulsive worrier . . .

I’ll just go back to sleep, it’s clear my future’s dim and so much blurrier.

Desperate, I read the label sewn into my bed, “Under penalty of law, do not remove!”

And I smile and think, “Wow, I can do that! Now my life will start to improve!”

Yes, pillows and mattress tags are something I can completely control,

So I can cross off worrying about arrests, going to jail and never getting out on parole!

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A Little Support for Support Groups.

photo 2 (4)I decided to join a support group.  But even though I fit every description of every psychological disorder in every self-help book out there, I couldn’t find a group  that “got me.”  So I figured I would start my own. How hard could it be? Give the younger kids to my ex for the night, put some folding chairs in a circle in my living room, set out some grapes, and throw out a topic. Easy peasy lemon squeazy.  Oh and I might serve lemonade. That was always refreshing.

I put this announcement online:

Hi my name is Little Miss Menopause and I’m starting a support group. I worry a lot so I was thinking of calling it,  WWW– ‘Women Who Worry’  but we can tweak when you get here.

The first two calls were from women worried they didn’t know how to twerk, until I explained what I meant by tweak.

Since this was to be an anonymous support group, I will not use any names to convey the dialogue at our first meeting. It could be any woman saying these things.  And trust me, it was.

Is this for women who worry incessantly and want to stop?  Or for women who feel guilty they don’t worry as much as they should?

Well I worry that what I worry about will actually come true. Kind of like the opposite of “The Secret.”

Can this also be a support group for women who have never read “The Secret?”

How about women who really hate “The Secret?” Secretly, of course.

I recently read somewhere that the act of worrying itself is eventually what we’ll die from.

Ladies, can we get started?  We’ll call it “Women Who Worry Too Much Or Not Enough and Aren’t Sure How They Feel About “The Secret” but Don’t Want to Die.”

And The Men Who Love Them?

No men.  I would need to wear foundation. And my skin really needs to breathe.

How about we focus on Joy instead of worry?  We’ll be The Joy Luck Club.

Kill joy.

When and where will you provide childcare?

That’s just like you!  I knew you would assume that women our age would all be mothers.

Don’t say that.  My name is Anonymous. You don’t even know me.

Well I know you’re catty.

I wish I could be a mother.

I wish I had a mother.

I wish my landlord let me have a cat.

Well, if all 17 of us pitched in, I suppose my eldest daughter could babysit for an hour upstairs. Say $2.00?

If we pitched in $5.00, do you suppose you could hire a housecleaner?

Can you start a support group for women who cannot afford support groups?

Shouldn’t we have said the Serenity Prayer by now?

I think this group could use more tweaking twerking.

Or maybe we could all turn our chairs toward the wall and sit facing away from one another.photo 1-21

After they left, I was exhausted but stayed awake all night tossing and turning.  I toyed with starting another support group for women with insomnia. But when would we meet? We’d be too tired during the day from being up all night. We could meet evenings, but we’d want to turn in early to try and fall asleep. Finding a convenient time was definitely a worry.

To distract myself, I read slips of paper I had all the women leave in the Suggestion Box before they left. It was mainly filled with more names of support groups they were suggesting I start.

  • Women Who Are Mean To Other Women At Support Groups
  • Women With Teenage Daughters
  • Women Without Teenage Daughters
  • Women Wanting To Trade Teenage Daughters
  • Women Who Have Lost Their Mothers (we should open with saying, “I’m sorry for your loss”)
  • Women Who Have Lost Their Mothers to Mahjong, Rummy Cube, and Other Games Seniors Get Obsessed With Today That are Considered Hip.
  • Women Who Hate Their Hips.
  • Women Who Have Lost Their Keys, Cell Phones or Glasses (should probably still open with saying, “I’m sorry for your loss.”)
  • Women Who Are Authentic
  • Women Who Hate Women Who Always Say the word, “Authentic”
  • Women Who Start a Support Group Just so they Can Have Something New to Blog About (I knew I recognized one of my WordPress followers sitting away from the group on my purple couch!)
  • Husbands Who Have Wives Who Go to Support Groups To Talk About Them and Are Afraid to Go To Work the Next Day and the Secretaries Who Love Them
  • Children Whose Mothers Cannot Drive Them Anywhere Because They Are Constantly in Support Groups
  • Couples Who Can’t Talk To One Another (We could meditate)
  • Couples Who Can’t Stop Fighting and the Therapists Who Love them.

And there was one question:

Will you ever have anything to eat other than grapes and lemonade?  I have IBS.  It would be refreshing if you could serve other refreshments.

At the next meeting I decided to do more of the talking and be more bold.

Thank you all for coming back.  I wonder if some of you feel as exhausted as I do.  I was thinking of starting a group for insomnia but does anyone have a suggestion when a group like that could meet?

In your dreams.

Cute. So I’ve gone over all the suggestions and I’ve decided there’s one name that will encompass everything . . . Ready?  It’s quite brief.   “Dysfunctional Households”

Women Who Grew Up in a Dysfunctional Household or Women Who Create Their Own Dysfunctional Household??

But I live alone.

Uh, I’m a guy, so this might be a typical male question. But by Dysfunctional Households, do you mean when the dishwasher and the floor sweeper break down.

No, I don’t mean appliances. I mean people.

Well I AM the dish washer and the floor sweeper.

Welcome to our group.

Great.  Just great. Does anyone have foundation in a porcelain beige shade I can borrow?

After they all went home, I knew I would never mention it, but secretly I would change the name to “Women Who Start Support Groups To Feel Important But Instead Feel Put Out.”

And as far as worrying?  I was no longer concerned at all.  I now had plenty of new material for months of blogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Doctor Is In – – But I’m Out… (of my mind!)

formeAll my adult life I have dealt with a debilitating disorder – – it’s called, “Tell & Show Syndrome.”  Someone will TELL me about a new rare disease and WHAM! – – all the signs of it SHOW up throughout my body.

To say I am highly suggestible is an understatement.  I can read an article in a woman’s magazine entitled, “10 Symptoms You’re Too Shy Too Discuss With Your Male Doctor (But You Should Before It’s Too Late!)”  ~ Immediately I have all 10 plus 4 bonus ones the author wasn’t imaginative enough to think of.  Fear and panic overtakes all my shyness.  I’m gonna grab that Male Doctor right by his shirt color – – I might even consider going to Second base with him for a Second opinion.

I do have a regular physician I call several times a week, and I’m sure the nurses give him messages that go like this – –

“That hypochondriac lady (who resembles a very menopausal Amy Winehouse, minus the tattoos) is on the phone again.  Today she claims when she walks, it feels like thumbtacks/paperclips are poking her feet. Should we advise her to proceed directly to the local office supply store?”

Instead I go to my beloved online medical information mecca – – “The Web MD.”

First of all, it never occurs to me that the word “Web” in their name is a subtle symbolic tip-off that I should stay far, far away.  Let’s think about this, shall we?  Who has webbed feet?  Ducks!  And what do ducks say?  “QUACK!”  Hello??

But this does not deter me from typing, “thumbtacks sticking feet” into the symptom-checker box and obtaining The Diagnosis From Hell.  Four horrific diagnoses, actually.  One relates to my Brain, one relates to my Heart, another to my Lungs, and the final one to my Stomach.   Interestingly, none of the diseases have anything to do with Feet. And all are extremely fatal.

Having gotten C +’s in my Deductive Reasoning classes in high school, I know it isn’t possible that I am afflicted with ALL four of these maladies. That’s only logical, right?  So which one should I eliminate?

Next I do what I always do at 2:00 in the morning – – I log onto a hospital patient message board and post about my situation, asking if someone “out there” has ever experienced a symptom like this but everything turned out to be completely fine?   I stare for hours at my computer screen waiting for anyone to give a reassuring response.  And then it dawns on me . . .

The reason nobody can answer my question.  Everyone who had this same problem has already died.

Should I start writing my Obituary or my Will first?  And Guardians for my precious kids!  Why, oh why couldn’t my ex-husband and I ever agree who to name as caretakers in the event of our deaths??   His sister puts ketchup on eggs, doesn’t believe in orthodontia, plus Danielle Steele is her favorite author.  So what?  I shoulda let all that go.

“Please God,” I bargain, “I know last week I hated this world and said I’d rather be dead than go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my expired driver’s license.  But I promise to find gratitude and renew my zest for life – – just please don’t let me expire!”photo 2-3

There’s nothing left to do.  Except find a brand new doctor who hasn’t heard about my “Boy Who Cried Wolf” past.  My previous doctors have issued, “WARNING: Circus Side Show Freak” bulletins about me to the medical community at large, so this will be no easy task.

Finally I show up on the doorstep of an office in a faraway town.  I watch as their “The Doctor is in” sign lights up.  I’ve always believed first impressions are important so here is how I fill out the paperwork on the clipboard.

 New Patient Form:

NAME:  (circle one)  Miss/Mrs./Ms    I’m divorced so technically it’s “Ms.”  But please call me “Miss” as in “Little Miss Menopause.” Although Mr. may be a distinct possibility these days – –  can you check my testosterone level?

AGE:   I just caught a glimpse of you at the reception desk….I could be your mother big sister.

REASON FOR TODAY’S VISIT?  Look at me!  Isn’t it obvious?  I just need the Dr. to confirm how much time I have.

WEIGHT:  Who cares at this point?   Just order me a size 8 burial gown.  And yes, I’m banking on the fact that loss of appetite will kick in soon with this particular disease.

PROFESSION:  Writer  (Pssssst!  Hot tip:  Publish this form.  Everyone knows a deceased author’s last work commands a high price.)

EVER SKIPPED A PERIOD?  Yes, but I’m working diligently on eliminating my run-on sentences.

WHOM CAN WE THANK FOR REFERRING YOU?  You mean blame?

PERSON TO CALL IN EMERGENCY:  Um…my two ex-husbands will deny knowing me.  Let’s see….My kids will just ask, “what’s for dinner?”  Oh, don’t call the neighbors, they’ll tell you I should have been deceased 8 times already!  Hmmm,  I think you might call Mabel, my hairdresser.  But when you say, “Died”  – –  you better spell it.  She’ll think you mean Clairol Nice n’ Easy Deep Burgundy Brown.

I’m interrupted by the Doctor, who calls me in.  He listens to my heart and pronounces it steady and strong.  I resist the urge to ask when he’s last had his stethoscope calibrated.  I describe how I feel  (this time likening it to feet stabbed with steak knives) but he cuts me off before I can get to the Web MD part.

DR:  Have you ever heard of Transient Paresthesia?

ME:  Oh no, Dr.  Not that!  I don’t even ride a train or bus!

DR:  Not “Transit.”   Transient, meaning Short-Lived.

ME:  Good Lord, you mean I’m gonna go even quicker than I thought?

DR:  Where ya headed to?

ME:  Aren’t I dying?

DR:  We all are.  But I think you’re gonna survive this one.  Transient Paresthesia = Limbs falling asleep.

As I depart, I glance over my shoulder to see him sketching a big-haired woman with the caption, “BEWARE OF CREATIVE BLOGGER WITH TOO MUCH TIME ON HER HANDS….She needs to be cut off ASAP!!”   He then posts it on the WEB MD  website!

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