Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Valentine's Day cliché

So I called my little sister on Valentine's Day just to say hello, and she told me she'd ended up in the hospital a few days earlier with chest pains and had ended up wearing a heart monitor for 24 hours. It turns out she has some mild arrhythmia that's nothing really to worry about, though it will need periodic monitoring throughout the rest of her life. Lucky her.

I hadn't planned on telling my family about my abnormal EKG last week until I got more information from my stress test, which will be happening first thing on Wednesday. I didn't want to worry them needlessly, especially because my mom can be the polar opposite of me in interpreting bad news. Where I refuse to get worried until I have something very specific to worry about—like my cold, dead heart sitting in my own bloody hands—my mom has been known to take a benign tidbit of information and blow it out to its absolute worst-possible-case proportions:

Me: Oops. I burned the toast a little.
My mom: I knew it! Cancer!

But the fact that my sister and I both ended up at the doctor's with measurable heart problems within a couple days of each other was too cosmic even for my usually level-headed self to process. So I spilled the beans about my sludge-pumping heart, and we reveled in the bizarre coincidence together. (She, too, knew better than to tell our mom about me, even though I never told her to keep it a secret. I know this to be a fact because Mom emailed me twice on Tuesday and never brought up my imminent—and no doubt painfully fatal—myocardial infarction. (HA! Infarction!))

But the Valentine heart clichés don't stop there—not by a long shot! One of the reasons Mom emailed me only twice on Tuesday was because she spent the day in the hospital with my ex and his mom and his boyfriend while my ex's dad had triple-bypass surgery. Because when my extended family gets heart problems, we make sure we do it with thoroughness and maximum drama. What's more, the poor guy was actually supposed to have a quadruple bypass, but the one artery with 100% blockage was for some reason inoperable. But—and this is the cool part—it was actually growing its own new passageway around the blockage. Which just goes to show you that the human body is totally friggin' cool.

Anyway, I'm not making this post to elicit pity or play the drama card. My sister's fine, I'm gonna be fine, and my ex's dad is recovering nicely, according to all reports.

But if you get offered one of our hearts next Valentine's Day, don't take it. I'm just sayin'.

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