If you have a stroke, I’ll kill you. That’s what Marge always said to me. She meant it, too. Sounds like she really cared about me? Ha! She wasn’t worried about me. She was worried about her. She didn’t want to have to deal with an invalid. Oh, yeah, she was plenty worried about that. What with my high blood pressure and half of my family turned into so many doorstops, while the other half played nursemaid, she had reason to worry. Me? I didn’t. I figured you lived your life until your number was up, then you took whatever came. I mean I don’t want to go out as a drooling vegetable, but, if I do, well, I probably won’t know the difference anyway.
So, in order to protect her interests, so to speak, as soon as the doc said my blood pressure was up a bit and that my cholesterol (whateverthehell that is anyway) was too high, BAM, I was on a diet. I couldn’t eat salt. I couldn’t eat fat. I couldn’t eat anything I liked. I got steamed vegetables and fish. That was her favorite to fix for me. It was so easy she said. No trouble at all. Just put everything in some foil and bake it a while and bingo, healthy food. I have to admit after I got used to it, it tasted okay. Once a year maybe. But that was what she fixed me seven nights a week. Fixed for me. Her, she ate regular. Steaks. Fried chicken. Lasagna. Gravy. Butter. Oh, yeah. All that stuff. She would sit there and tell me what a saint she was for saving me from all that fat and grease. How I should be grateful to her. Grateful she says as she is shoveling it down her yap. And me? I’m staring at steamed cauliflower and cod. If I griped, she’d say don’t blame me for your side’s genes. I’m not gonna to sit by and watch you blow a vessel in your brain like your daddy did. And if you think I’m gonna chain myself to your bedside like your momma did your daddy, you can just think again. You eat what I give you.
So it went day after day until one morning, I woke up late. It was so quiet. Marge was in bed next to me all still. She was usually up way before me. Couldn’t sleep late she said. But she was still there. And it didn’t seem like she was sleeping. I called her name, Marge, and shook her, but she didn’t wake up. I call 911 and told them to hurry. Jesus, I was sure she was dead.
After the ambulance came and whisked her off to the hospital, I got dressed and tore after them. When I got to the hospital, they’d already taken her up to the ICU. Geez, the ICU. The nurse showed me where the waiting room was and said to sit tight. The doc would be in soon. Seemed like forever when the doc came in. He said she’d had a massive stroke. A stroke. Her. He thought she’ll probably pull through, but she’s going to need lots of care. He looked at me standing there in my baggy clothes. The doc said good thing you lost all that weight. It’s going to be a long haul.