Were I not living in a more or less sensible country like Canada, this Mother’s Day could be my last.

It could be, anyway, but for my faith in our medical system, friends, and myself (probably in reverse order), but that doesn’t bear thinking about just yet, since I don’t know, and can’t know, the extent of the mischief crawling through me. I’m content to reflect that, if we still lived in the US, I’d have no clue that anything’s amiss, since tests like the one my doc foisted on me some months ago are not available to the uninsured public. Even if by some fluke I knew, there would be no options. Walk into a US hospital and you can hear the clocks start ticking: "ching ching ka-ching!" Insurance in America cost almost twice as much as the rent on my tiny office–not that I could get insurance, since my previous illness disqualified me from almost all coverage.

Just think: if I still lived in America, I couldn’t afford to keep myself alive until next Mother’s Day.

You can imagine that I looked forward to this Mother’s Day Sunday. I had projects lined up: scattering pinecones on the back forty that would grow tall and strong trees that live for centuries; leisurely brunch with my wonderful daughter who has come home to be with me; finding some strawberry plants and miniature blueberries to begin replacing the pesky and useless lawn; playing with the dog. Maybe writing a poem. Or flagrant reading–an entire book in one sitting.

Hah! Apparently I haven’t yet learned that making plans is a bad idea for the likes of me.

I guess not. Mother’s Day went off with a bang at 2:30 a.m. with motherly duties: a drive to the hospital to take care of my daughter’s maiden migraine. No fun–quite alarming, really.

Fortunately ours is a quiet community. There was only one other person in the Emergency area, groaning periodically behind a curtain, whether in pleasure or pain, it was hard to tell. A doctor arrived within thirty minutes to take a look at Kay. I was back home with a morphine-sozzled daughter in two-point-five hours, thinking, Migraines! You’re kidding! That’s terrible!

Kay slept off the goof until mid-afternoon, well after the last brunch-eating Mom had daintily wrapped an extra goodie from the town’s buffets into a purloined napkin for the cockapoo at home and slipped it into her purse. Meanwhile I worked away at my recalcitrant computer, sorting out the major issues and tasks of life into piles of things I can do and still bigger piles of tasks at least temporarily beyond me.

Lately, naps have become more attractive, to the point where I was seriously suspecting my body of allowing itself to think it is aging. I was about to succumb to a nap’s seductions when a knock on the front door suggested we had a visitor. A friend with Mother’s Day wishes or invitations? Someone needing to buy a book as a last-minute remembrance?

There stood Stan the aging hippy. His van, with his wife and rollicking kids inside, blocked my driveway. Arms akimbo, he wanted money. Must have heard I paid his brother. But the whole world knows how broke I’ve been lately, and I was mystified as to why he would choose Mother’s Day to harass me for a problem to which there is no solution but patience. I said I was ill and would like to be left alone on a Sunday, especially this one. That should be enough to wring an apology and a hurried best-wishes-and-bye-for-now from any civilised person.

What did I expect? This was the same person whose kids riot and wrangle through weekends at the farmers’ market, swinging from trees and staggering on stilts through the crowd, heedless of the damage they could do to our liability insurance and utterly deaf to any pleas for restraint. This was the same person who publicly slandered several Board members, including me, because he believes he is a law unto himself.This is the person who took for himself money I entrusted to him to give to his brother. And I expect this person to meet my definition of civilised?

That conversation ended with my prohibition against his ever showing up on my doorstep again, followed by a brief test of my ugly front door’s endurance. Alas! It endured yet another slam. No good excuse to replace it–at least one more nitwit or boor will have to test both my patience and its mettle.

Meanwhile, at 4:30, I succumbed to a sherry instead of a nap, feeling the old blood pressure all riled up.

Where is that cabin in the woods when you really need it?

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