It has been over 52 years since my last confession. Remember, I’m Jewish, and Jews don’t do the whole confession thing. Our Day of Atonement is months off, so I hope you won’t mind my beseeching you now. My sin is weighing heavily upon me.
Every winter, as citrus season arrives, I make do with the usual tasty but inferior navel oranges while J. enjoys her daily grapefruit. When I am buying groceries, I make sure my beloved spouse is in good supply of such fruit when in season. I miss grapefruit terribly, the smell, the taste, the whole experience, and I’ll admit I have long coveted J.’s stash. It pains me to have this most delectable of fruit in our home because, for many years now, grapefruit has been verboten for me.
This past weekend, as I sat in the living room watching (what else?) Border Security, I could hear J. in the kitchen peeling her grapefruit. Soon the smell was wafting my way. When she sat down beside me, I asked her ever so sweetly whether I might have one segment. Just one. She shot me the evil eye while searching her bowl for the smallest piece. I ate it slowly and lusciously, openly defying my lifetime ban.
Why am I not allowed grapefruit? Because grapefruit has a compound that interferes with the elimination of my chemotherapy, allowing excess amounts of the drug to build up in my bloodstream. This excess may cause heart arrhythmias or even a heart attack.
How do I know this? Now we get to my other, more grievous sin: I looked this information up on the internet, after I had consumed the grapefruit section. So often I have warned my readers not to seek medical information on line, but I did not heed my own warning that day. I recklessly sought an answer to my query. Thankfully, my searching did not raise my anxiety, as it often has in the past, but it confirmed for me that the prohibition against consuming grapefruit is valid and important.
Still, I figured one segment on one occasion wouldn’t hurt. And it didn’t, I hope–no heart attack yet–although the effects of these evil compounds can interfere for some time after consumption. If I look like I have really bad leukemia today, it is indeed because of my sins of the weekend.
I do not know what penance you will decide upon, but I’d appreciate your leaving out the Our Fathers and Hail Marys. I am Jewish, after all. Perhaps I could do some public service, such as educating people on the importance of heeding all written warnings on their prescription bottles. I also hope you’ll absolve me of the sin of my internet search; I didn’t want to burden the unfortunate pharmacists working the weekend shift.
When you determine my penance, please factor in my bravely confronting my wine gums addiction today. I walked toward the bulk bins, stopped at the wine gums, and proceeded to the till with nary a purchase. I am trying, Doctor, I really am.
Your devoted patient,