Two weekends ago, the red oil pressure light flashed on in my Fiat, a Barbie Doll of a car. Trying to get the car off a major avenue swarming with traffic before it stopped. The car said, “Arrivederci.” Too late. Ugh. I rolled to a stop fighting the urge to push the car into an intersection putting everyone out of their misery but good sense prevailed. I had “my miserable dung heap of metal” towed to the only dealership for miles around.
Thinking that I would call the next day, I walked to my office to have a friend pick me up. Not a hardship but not exactly love in the afternoon with my limp. Double ugh.
Thinking maybe some kind soul would have sent me a funny email to divert my mind from what I was calling “a cluster of magnificent proportions,” I opened up my inbox. My sister had sent me a message. Her email was short and pointed. She had tested positive for BRCA1. Crap. She told me to get tested STAT. Double crap.
Unable to get up with my sister, I searched the internet for information trying to avoid the doom and gloom predominant on the web.
My Russian Peasant Fatalism, first step to HuffyPuffyCrankyPerson, took over my being. If I am positive for the gene mutation, my chance of developing breast cancer by the age of 70 goes from the national 12% to 55-65%. Fuck. BRCA1 increases my chance of ovarian and peritoneal cancer too. I do need to get tested. Double Fuck.
How do you tell people about this? Did my sister sit on this for a while before telling me? No she sent the email after she found out that morning. Spunky gal.
I didn’t have that kind of fortitude. I sat on the secret for a week until I had tied my intestines into such knots that they went on strike. No intestinal movement until I told my doctor and my friends.
The doc’s return note said, “Make an appointment this week.”
In the mean time, I was dealing the Fiat fiasco. Renting a car in a snow storm. Calling the service department and getting nowhere. I wondered if their silence meant they had lost my car. I left a message asking if they had lost the car. No return phone calls except for a vague message of your car needs a “major engine overhaul.” How can a car need a major engine overhaul with only three years and 36,000 miles on it? Were they covering up losing a big appliance with the silence and vague message? Now, HuffyPuffyCrankyPerson was driving down the expressway to Crazyland.
Last weekend, I bit the bullet and told a friend about my sister’s note and the doc’s terse command. We worked through the possibilities to come to the conclusion – I get to decide what and when to do tests and procedures. I am driving the car in Medical Decision Land.
With my mojo back, I focused on having fun with the MIA Fiat. I covered all Fiat FaceBook pages and a couple of car internet forums with an ode to my car, Todd Rungren’s:
“Hello, it’s me
I’ve thought about us for a long, long time
Maybe I think too much but something’s wrong
There’s something here that doesn’t last too long
Maybe I shouldn’t think of you as mine … “
Before 9am on Monday, I had messages from a SOCIAL CARE SPECIALIST (what’s that?) at Fiat USA and a call from the service department. I like the SC Specialist and will use her as a go-between with the Fiat service department. Parts are ordered. I am driving a rental car from Surreal Customer Service Land.
I am working on the “gracious” indignation. Good grief. It has not been easy. But it is empowering.
On issues of cars, computers, and health, I feel like my only choices are HuffyPuffyCrankyPerson or caving in to other people’s opinions. “Gracious indignation” flies out the window. I forget who is driving the car or calling the shots.
Gotta go …