Monday, February 18, 2008

My Mother Has a Condition

That is going to be the name of my first book. Just so everybody knows. When a book by that name comes out, you'll know who I am.

Space Alien and I have been thinking about perhaps writing it together.

But yes, I promised to tell you about my mother's condition.

For many years, my mother, who is a teacher, has had what she calls "a bad throat." Her voice gets scratchy and dry, particularly in chalk dust, but even switching to dry erase boards hasn't protected her from something strange in her throat that wells up and causes her to not be able to speak at all on occasion. Her throat isn't sore, it's just full of things. She thinks she might need surgery to get the things out. It will all be very taxing.

Doctor after doctor has looked in her throat and shook his or her head. There's nothing there to take out, they say. Really.

Nonsense!! cries my mother, who after these appointments would storm off to nap in agonized frustration. What is wrong with all the doctors? Or what is wrong with her? Maybe she's dying.

Finally, there is a breakthrough. My mother unfortunately has shingles that come back in times of stress, and one of her bouts (or possibly the medication she has to take for it) causes her to have insomnia. The insomnia causes her to hear random beeping noises around her. They sound like alarm clocks, only friendlier. She hears these beeps both when she's supposed to be sleeping and during the full light of day. No one else hears them. The doctor prescribes some pills (sleep aids). Alas my mother can't swallow them--the things in her throat get in the way.

Eureka! The doctor has figured it out.

"I have a condition," Momrat tells me when she gets home from the doctor.

"Really?!" I say, shocked. Is it systemic? Will there be unendurable sessions at clinics, operations, strange medications with side effects? Poor Momrat--all this time no one took her seriously! "What is it?"

"It's called Globus Hystericus," she says. I hesitate to affix the adverb "proudly" to the previous dialog tag but not to do so seems dishonest.

I search all the Latin roots I remember from SAT prep a million years ago. "You have... imaginary balls?"

"Yes," she says. "In my throat, like a bunch of marbles sitting there. The balls are what's keeping me from swallowing the pills and they roll around and that's what makes me hear the beeping."

"But they're... imaginary."

"No, they're real, only only in my head, so they can't be removed, unfortunately."

"Right." Seems pretty straightforward. "Ma," I say. "You realize this means you have an imaginary condition."

"Of course," she says. "But it's a real imaginary condition."

"Is there, um. Anything you can do for it?"

"Yes, the doctor's given me this bottle of placebos. They help a lot--I've never slept this well. And I think the balls are much smaller."

"Ma." I struggle with this for a moment. "You realize that the doctor has given you imaginary medicine for an imaginary condition."

"Duh," she says, rolling her eyes. "He couldn't give me real medicine for an imaginary condition. Geez, Moonrat. Sometimes I wonder about you."

By the way, my mother has cautioned against writing about her in my blog. Not because she's shy or anything--it's a genetic case of exhibitionism we have. No, she just warns me that someone ELSE might steal her stories and write a book about her before we can.


Brian said...

Yep. That's what I'm going to do right now. I'm off to write a book about this marvelous condition because, honestly Moonrat, the world must know about this and it's miracle cure.

This made my day. Thank you.

Hélène Boudreau said...

Oh, dear.

I hope you don't mind that I'm still chuckling at her pronouncement of being given placebos to treat her 'condition'.

*wipes eyes*

writtenwyrdd said...

You really do need to write that book. I will buy it. Hell, I'll buy copies for all my friends. That is hilarious.

But, you know, in the realm of slippery logic, hers actually works...kinda...

booklady said...

Wow. I thought the whole idea behind a placebo is that people don't know they're fake, so they still help. But she knows they're fake and they're *still* helping. How very...strange. And honest of her to admit.

Lisa said...

I didn't think there could possibly be a character in the Moonrat orbit who would displace Robert the Publisher from his pedestal in my mind, but Momrat has done it.

Rachel said...

Imaginary pills for an imaginary condition... It's big Pharma! :D

pacatrue said...

She should ask her doctor to sub out her current placebos for whatever she most craves but needs an excuse to consume. Placebo truffles, for instance, or placebo deep fried oreos.

Colorado Writer said...

Oh my god. My Mother has a Condition could be a best seller. You could go on Oprah. Perhaps you could include shorts from others? I have oodles of stories about my mother.

Like the time she used her own blush brush on a corpse. He needed more color.

Sarah Hina said...

Gold. Pure, David Sedaris-mined gold, moonrat.

I await your bestseller with bated, imaginary balls in my throat.


Tory said...

Oh dear, Moonrat, you stole the name of my book. I guess I'll have to stick to 'My Mother Is A Raving, Psychotic Lunatic' for my book. sigh....
But at least your mother is funny!
Take care

Ello said...

Oh my gosh! That is the best story! I think Momrat just edged Robert out as my absolute favorite. Boy I can't wait to read the book!

Precie said...

Place me on the pre-order list now please!

wheelmaker said...

My mother (also a teacher) had a similar throat problem, but hers turned out to be real-- she was diagnosed with GERD. She used to feel like her throat was closing up while she was trying to give a lecture.
But she never heard any beeping!

Charles Gramlich said...

"Imaginary balls." I'm sorry, I'm going to go laugh hysterically now. And it won't be imaginary laughter.

ChristineEldin said...

I heart your mom.


She is funnier than Robert. And this post is hysterical!!!!

Bernita said...

When I shake my head I hear a sound like those Chinese Baoding exercise balls for jingluo.
I wonder if we have a similar condition.

lauramanivong said...

Imaginary balls...yeah, I know a few guys afflicted as well.

Seriously, I will so buy this book. Your writing has flair...absolute flair.

Thanks for the laugh.

Kaytie M. Lee said...

At first I was concerned but funny. :)

Space Alien said...

"Bravo," I spout quietly, as I rest in my plush, scarlet chair.

Get it?
But actually, it was really good.

Merry Monteleone said...

Add me to the pre-order list too... my title would have been 'My Mother Has Issues' but yours is better, and your mom's quite a bit funnier.

The Anti-Wife said...

Wow! I want your book too. And you mother really is edging out RtP.

Maprilynne said...

*snort* That's freakin' awesome!

Lisa McMann said...

OMG. This story is hilarious. Well-told, moonrat!

La Gringa said...

I swear to God when I first read this I thought you'd written that she had Homo Habilus in her throat and I thought, jeez, that's kinky!

Matt said...

@Booklady: There has been at least one study showing that, even if they are explicitly told they are taking placebos, patients experiencing mild forms of neuroticism will experience improvements in their condition.

The study's really interesting, and should be floating around on the internet - some of the patients came to firmly believe that their doctors were lying to them and that there were actual medications involved, even so far as to experience 'side-effects'.

Aerten said...

This is so excellent! I will be checking Amazon regularly for this book!

Mags said...

Brilliant! My mother castigates me frequently in the comments section of my blog. Perhaps I can get that nice doctor to convince her that I am her imaginary daughter, and that some nice imaginary therapy will finally get her to stop trying to convince me to write "nice" books like the ones that "Waller fellow" writes.

Did you get the nice doctor's card, by any chance?

CT said...

Okay, seriously, I had a doctor tell me I had Globus Hystericus once. I got really frustrated, though, and followed up with another doctor. Turned out I was allergic to my dogs (who sleep in my bed, with their heads on my pillow), and my throat actually was all swollen and raw and red. My ENT stuck a scope down there and said, "Wow, your throat is really irritated." I could have cried with gratitude. Zyrtec has solved my problem.

But maybe don't tell Momrat that, or she'll think she's got allergies.