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Gill and I have always laughed about Crazy D’s tendency to get lost, forget what he’s doing, where he’s supposed to be, what day it is…and we have threatened to have him chipped so we could keep track of him. Well, the universe has gotten even with me. I am now hooked up to my own monitoring device — albeit a heart monitor– and it’s driving me nuts! I know it’s a valuable thing and will track my heart’s doings for the next two weeks but, really, people!! It’s holding me back.

Of course, when I moaned to Gill about it, her only retort was:”Cry me a river! Count yourself lucky, Ma! You’ve never had to have a barium enema or any of the other horrid tests I’ve had to endure over the years for my major diseases (arthritis and Crohn’s). Suck it up and deal with it…it’s only two weeks.”

True, but it is interfering with my social life. Plus, it’s all very high tech — which, as loyal readers know, is my Achilles’ heel. They hooked me up the first time in the technician’s office, were careful to tell me how to do it again when necessary and even gave me a sheet of paper with explicit instructions on it. Boy, they saw me coming! When it comes to all things technical, I nod and smile as if to convey my understanding and then, five minutes later, it’s all disappeared from my brain. In one ear and out the other. It’s a really bad habit I have and one that I must correct. (Same with people’s names. Unless I consciously tell myself ‘you must remember this name’, it’s gone before the handshakes are over. Very embarrassing.)

When the nurse hooked me up, she tucked the rather large monitoring unit into the pocket of my jeans using the convenient metal clip. That was fine…but I realized later than many of my clothes (even the pants) do not have pockets or other places to which I could attach the device. A dress is out of the question. Underwear is too flimsy to stand the weight. And sleeping is problematic. I rarely wear anything more than my underwear and possibly a light t-shirt to bed. And even if I were to wear something sturdier, every time I’d roll over, the metal backing of the monitor would dig into me  and wake me up. Not that I sleep well anyway, but more reasons to not sleep I do not need!

My solution was to leave the wires dangling and the monitor lying beside me on the bed. So basically, I lay ramrod straight and perfectly still to avoid setting off the ‘event’ button. I prayed I’d awaken in the morning, having not electrocuted or hung myself on the wretched device. So far so good — but that’s only one night. If I were to sleep the way Gill does, fighting all night with the Burmese rebels that live under her bed, I’d be a goner. And that’s not the worst of it. Sleepovers with The Man in My Life are put on hold…I can’t imagine any man being turned on by electrodes and wires hanging from his bedmate’s chest. A definite mood killer! Plus, two bodies being tangled up in the wires is much worse than only one person being entangled.

This being the Christmas season and the season of special lunches, dinners, and parties, I was trying to plan my wardrobe choices around My Device. But I was coming up short. So I talked to Gill, my authority on All Things Medical.

I moaned to her: “I’ve been trying to find something I can wear to a luncheon next week and I can’t find anything that properly covers the bulges from the wires and receptor points glued to my chest. My boobs look lumpy and lop-sided. Any suggestions?”

“You could always drink a lot and then you wouldn’t care how lumpy you are. Plus, people would be paying attention to your dancing on the table rather than your bulges.”

“I don’t think you’re taking this seriously enough! I need help. I could wear a jacket over my clothes but whenever I have An Event and have to press the alarm button, I’d be rummaging around in my clothes to find the button. That’s just awkward. Then everyone would ask what the monitor is for and the fun conversation we’d been having would turn to my health issues…strokes, heart attacks…not exactly the kind of light-hearted banter you expect at a Christmas party. I don’t want to be responsible for being the Debbie Downer in the group.”

“First of all, you’re freaking me out! What do you mean by ‘An Event’? You having a Code Red and a heart attack or something? Ma, how sick ARE you? And to be fair,  I thought people of your age only talked about their aches, pains and illnesses at parties anyway! And I say this with respect and awe since, with my chronic diseases, I’ll probably never live to see your advanced age. I’d like to know what I’m going to miss.”

After I decided it was too difficult to wear The Device to these social functions, I phoned the technician to plead for a two-hour amnesty during which I could take it off.

“Sure,” she agreed cheerfully.

“And, I’m sure you aren’t expecting this question, but how about during sex?’

There was a longer than usual pause.Was that her jaw dropping that I heard?  “Honey, if you’re still having sex at your age, more power to you! You probably don’t even need the monitor! Just keep it on as much as possible.”

And with that, I felt much better…