Monday, June 11, 2012

A Remarkable, Unremarkable Day

Today started off as a normal day. 

It was too sticky in my bedroom, and several times between the first alarm and the actual-wake-up, a cat either nuzzled my cheek, stepped on my head, or ran across my stomach. I went to my job and did my job-things. On the way I got my iced coffee at Gorilla, and paid for the iced coffee and a muffin that I got last week and didn't have enough cash to actually buy. It's nice to know your neighbors. 

I listened to some Planet Money on the D train to Herald Square. I syndicated some stories. I changed the Interwebs. And then I had my first trip to The Dermatologist.

I had this little red bump on my nose. It was very tiny, just a couple of millimeters across, at most, but it was red, and it has been there long enough so that I couldn't tell you how long its been there, but I know it wasn't always there. Of course, you use the Googles, you WebMD, and you really do think at the end of the day you have cancer. It was a bump, it was red, and that is the potentially WORST POSSIBLE KIND. 

So, for a few weeks after doing the Googling, I lived in a state of subdued mini-panic. "This thing on my face? Yeah. You can't see it but it's totally murdering me." (Basically the same level of internal-monologue-drama as Hannah had in 'Girls' when she found out she had the HPV, which is really basically like having a cold, unless that also gives you cancer... But it usually never ever does.) 

I went to The Dermatologist to have my potential murder speck analyzed. 

The Dermatologist, a gorgeous, really-really-skinny woman roughly of my own age, who had total fake eyelashes, gave it a technical name, "or maybe its another (insert latin but normal thing here...) but either way she thought I was cute, and shouldn't worry even a little bit, but let's cut that bugger off and then biopsy that shit and you won't have to worry about it ever again. 

After that, I got a needle in the nose, pretty lady went at my nostril with a razor blade, scooped out a "look how tiny that is" thing, and then cauterized it, which HURT LIKE HADES. That super painful nose numbing needle? Yeah. We should have given that a few more minutes. 

She also recommended a powder sunscreen, since I sweat in the humidity and heat very quickly, especially if I have wet hair, and then my moisturizer beads up and and sweats off. Especially if it has sunscreen. She recommended this stuff from Colorescience. Powder! No face sweat! But based on the alacrity with which she excised my fear of face cancer, I was prone to trust her, despite her lashiness.

Which brings me back to work, which I attended like a good worker bee until 5:20, at which time I had to book my ass down to Babbo, the flagship piece-de-resistance of Celebrity Chef I Once Interviewed Mario Batali. (If you use the Googles, search "Lawinski Batali". There is a result.) 

To go into the details of THE BEST MEAL OF MY ENTIRE LIFE COUNTING EVERYTHING ELSE I EVER ATE, well, that is a post I will write tomorrow when I am trying to sort my thoughts on the Cloud Expo thing I have to go to in the morning. I took a lot of photos. They turned out pretty nice, for a phone thing. 

After dinner I came home and threw on some pajamas, washed my face and put some ointment on my nose wound, and put on the series finale of "House" that's been on my DVR, waiting for me to watch it. 

I did, indeed, cry at the end. But not for the reasons I had assumed I would, considering TV finales of the past. (The oddly haunting, disappointing "LOST" finale...) 

Old readers know about Phatiwe, my dear, dear friend who I lost to uterine cancer in 2005. 

In the final episodes of "House," Wilson is diagnosed with cancer which cannot be treated. Which will leave him with six months of life, which will end painfully... or he can fight it and live the rest of his life sick from chemotherapy, hoping to hold onto something he, as an oncologist, believes is a lost cause. A futile fight. 

How do I live those last months? Fighting yet suffering, ultimately futile. Or do I choose my exit. In the episode, (MAD CRAZY SPOILER ALERT) House fakes his own death, about to face being returned to prison after some antics go awry and a hospital ceiling crashes in after he floods a bathroom... Yeah yeah, a series of implausible events... But he fakes his death so that he can stay with Wilson during his last few months. And as the series concludes, Wilson is on a motorcycle beside House, and they're strapping on helmets, and Wilson wonders, about to warn House that the cancer will get bad... and House goes, "Cancer is boring..." and they strap on and ride. 

I wonder if I would make that choice. If my friend would have made that choice. If she had chosen differently if that last year would have been less scary. If she would have spent more time with me instead of trying to shield me from the horror of what she was experiencing. Which she did. Which just filled me with more sorrow. To be loved so much by someone who was willing to suffer alone rather than have it hurt you... Wilson and House talked about that. Wilson made his choice. House got to make one too. And he chose to throw his own life away to spend the rest of Wilson's with him. 

Yes, it is fiction. But it is a beautiful demonstration of what it means to really love someone. On just another normal day, when everything we do is actually kind of extraordinary.