In certain circles, I’m known as Little Miss Sunshine

Stuffed toy of Little Miss Sunshine

If you think Sadness and Fear are my constant companions, I beg to differ. Sure, I’ve been a little off kilter lately due to my gouty complications, my unrelenting fatigue, and my difficulty handling doctor change, but the rest of the time, Joy prevails.

If you know me only by what I write, you may envision my holding back tears all the time. You may even wonder how I ever managed to become a psychologist. Before you write my provincial regulatory body to rescind my license lest I harm the public, I beg you to hear me out.

Despite your negative preconceptions, under the right conditions I am an unimaginable bundle of joy. I bring light and life to those around me. People can’t help but smile when I enter a room, and not only because my fly is undone.

To demonstrate my point, I’d like to share a story from earlier this week, before I became unduly distracted–and distressed, I might add, in case you didn’t pick that up–by the Trauma of the Changing of the Doctors. My moment of unbridled happiness took place on Monday afternoon while I was volunteering at Canadian Blood Services.

I’ve been on the Monday shift since I started volunteering at the clinic last September. It turns out that donors often set their appointments on the same day of the week, and that over the months I’ve become familiar with many Monday donors. I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I can anticipate their soup preferences or cookie choices, but I do see them on a fairly regular basis.

Earlier in the shift, I was feeling somewhat verklempt because I had met a donor who was profoundly hearing impaired. I did not realize her impairment until I noticed her reading my lips and heard an unusual lilt in her voice. Her hearing was impaired, but her blood was not, so in she came to give. The range of people who attend the clinic never ceases to amaze me.

Then Mr. Platelet entered. Mr. Platelet is a lovely fellow who donates frequently. Platelet and plasma donors often attend the clinic more often because they can, and thus we get to know them better. For the first time, Mr. Platelet called me by my name, which is on my little red volunteer vest. We had never chatted before but we spoke briefly as he was leaving. During this conversation, he told me he liked donating during my shifts because I am “all smiles and sunshine”. Not wanting to disabuse him of that notion, I thanked him warmly and told him he was very sweet.

And in truth, I am Little Miss Sunshine at the clinic. I look out upon the donors slurping their soup each week and imagine, “Are you the one who saved my life when I needed blood (or platelets or plasma)?” Thanks for that.

After Mr. Platelet left, I broke the volunteer code of conduct: I neglected the donors while pulling out my phone to text J. I wrote, simply, “I am all smiles and sunshine.” She promptly responded, “I know.” And so, too, should you, dear readers, in case you sometimes forget. I’d forget too if I were you.

Tears for fears

Pill with image of Canadian flag on it

I visited the pharmacy today and left $74 poorer with a large medication stash. I whipped out my credit card to pay for the portion that was not covered by my insurance plan. I am lucky that I have adequate funds to pay for my drugs. Some people don’t take their drugs as prescribed because they can’t afford to.

The prohibitive cost of drugs in our land of universal health care has been in the news recently. The reality of the problem hit me last week, when Dr. Foie Gras seemed overly preoccupied with the prohibitive cost of the new gout-busting drug he thought might help me. He actually checked whether my drug coverage would be adequate during our visit.

Then yesterday at the Cancer Centre, I asked Dr. Blood’s fellow about the safety of my taking this new medication. Dr. Fellow noted that, in order to cover the drug, the insurance company would need a letter explaining that I could not take the cheaper alternative. Since the cheaper drug may have caused my liver to fail 4-1/2 years ago, I’d imagine that letter would be fairly straightforward: I’d be taking my life in my hands if I took the cheaper drug.

Then Dr. Fellow questioned who would write the letter, asserting that hematology was too busy and that I should ask Dr. F.G. or even Dr. Family, although he wondered whether Dr. Family would have the authority to speak to my exceptional status, blah blah blah. After Dr. Fellow left the room, I became overwhelmed and even a bit teary.

J., a master at not reacting prematurely, ignored Dr. Fellow–or is that Dr. Roadblock?–and hushed me up so she could listen to his conferring with Dr. Blood. Dr. Blood immediately recruited the clinic pharmacist, who wrote the necessary letter.

Then Dr. Blood came in to inform me that she would be facilitating my approval for that drug. She noticed I was a wreck and said, “You look teary.” Of course her compassion sparked more tears. As I collected myself, J. said, to my surprise, “Annie is just worried about your leaving.” Why hadn’t I thought of that? Of course I was, and am, worried about Dr. Blood’s departure and how I’ll manage with her replacement. I’m worried that simple things, like getting approval for a new drug, will become more difficult. That’s enough to make anyone cry, isn’t it?

There is an ease that comes with a doctor’s knowing me and understanding my needs. Were I not so overwhelmed by her imminent departure, I’d have trusted that Dr. Blood would solve that day’s problem on the spot. And now I must trust that whomever she chooses to replace her will do the same. I am relieved to report that Dr. Roadblock won’t be her replacement; he told us as much.

I have one more appointment with Dr. Blood before her sabbatical starts. I’ll probably cry since, among other things, she’ll be missing my fifth cancerversary. Without her, there would be no fifth cancerversary. But there’s a more important matter at stake: what if the new doctor doesn’t like my baking? I’d rather worry about something trite for a while, if you don’t mind.

A simple recipe for poisoning your loved one

Picture of pasta with cheese and pepper

Two years ago, J. celebrated her birthday in the ER, where I had gone to seek urgent medical attention. I made the one day of the year that’s supposed to be all about J. all about me. After spending several hours ignoring my symptoms, I could no longer deny their seriousness.

I’ve since succeeded in avoiding hospital visits on J.’s birthday. Last year I left my cancer at home and celebrated J’s birthday in her favourite London pub. This year, staying healthy was a piece of (birthday) cake, for me at least. I have been the picture of health for a chronically ill person.

J.’s birthday this past Saturday started out like any other day. I had carefully planned a special meal for her. I chose not to tell J. what was on the menu so she wouldn’t try to simplify the offerings.

I then carefully gathered my provisions. On Friday, I made sausage and bean soup because soup always tastes better on the second day. I planned to make the pasta and dessert on Saturday.

At dinner, J. enjoyed the soup and the pasta so much that she even took seconds. Then she had her first bite of the Portuguese custard tarts I’d laboured over that afternoon. She left the rest of her tart untouched while I scarfed mine done. She became increasingly quiet, and then she abruptly fled the dinner table.

J.’s using the facilities during a meal is not unusual. Her kidneys are so healthy that she pees hourly. I found it odd when she did not returning promptly to the table, however. I waited and waited, and then I went in search of her, only to discover she had spent the last 20 minutes ridding herself of my carefully cooked dinner. She was so sick that night that she couldn’t even watch her beloved Oilers clinch Round 1.

Ever the catastrophizer, I was sure my special meal had poisoned her. I reviewed the meal ad nauseum. I was sure I’d cooked the sausage meat properly. Yes, I’d adequately heated and then cooled the soup. I’d baked the custard tarts, with their six egg yolks, long enough. And then I considered the fresh pasta. Was there salmonella instead of semolina in the flour mix? (Recalled flour is all the rage lately, but E. coli are the offending bacteria.)

The cheese did have a bit of mold on it, which I cut off before grating, but did I miss a spot? How dangerous is moldy cheese anyway? Turns out some molds are fine–Brie cheese is made with mold, for example–but others molds can make you sick. Then I learned that some molds have a toxin that is precursor to liver cancer. Oh great, I gave J. cancer on her birthday.

Before you throw out all your cheese like I did, consider this: people don’t react to food poisoning as quickly as J. did, according to my wise neuroscientist friend. And despite my questionable immune functioning, I didn’t get sick. Perhaps it wasn’t my cooking after all.

Once I’d determined I hadn’t killed J., J. told me that she’d been feeling off all day. Sorry to hear that, honey, and please excuse my huge sigh of relief.

 

P.S. Turf that green cottage cheese pronto.

 

 

Crisis chez Dr. Liverpaté

Did I mention that, with a little cajoling, I scored myself an appointment with Dr. Foie Gras (who my dear friend insists on calling Dr. Liverpaté, which does have a certain ring to it)? So off J. and I went this week to visit the dear doctor, seeking help for my progressing lumpy gout.

Dr. LP well tolerated our barrage of intrusive personal questions. At our last visit, he disclosed he had married and bought a house. This time, we learned he and his wife recently had their first child, a baby boy. Dr. LP happened to have a newborn picture or two on his phone, which he showed us readily. We oohed and ahhed appropriately.

The doctor’s recent sleep deprivation did not seem to interfere with his clinical acumen. But before we give this esteemed physician too much credit, let’s consider his job: gastrointestinal specialists train intensively for years in order to be able to ask people about their poop. Yes, all such doctors have a morbid interest in their patients’ potty habits, and they make a whack of cash investigating such habits. Can you imagine talking to each and every patient about their No. 2? I certainly cannot, and I am grateful that my clinical interviews cover a broader range of subjects.

And so, after I addressed my concerns, including whether my gouty bumps would continue to grow until they became grossly disfiguring and burst through my skin (we’ll address his response to my catastrophizing some other day), Dr. LP circled back to the No. 2 (not his but mine). But because even a poop specialist prefers visuals to words during a discussion of this type, Dr. LP began looking frantically around his assessment room for the hanging poop chart, a.k.a., the Bristol Poop Stool Scale. Lo and behold, there was none.

With any other patient, this would have been a true GI crisis. Dr. LP knew that I, a longstanding clinic patient, familiar with poop-preoccupied physicians, would know not only about the existence of this chart but also have the chart memorized. I didn’t need the visual reminder; the verbal cuing would suffice. So we had a quick discussion, after which I expect Dr. LP made a note to hang a copy of this chart forthwith so other less experienced patients would not have to endure such an awkward conversation.

Before we left, Dr. LP, who is by nature a serious fellow, displayed an uncharacteristic playfulness, possibly prompted by his recent sleep deprivation. We had been discussing a certain over-the-counter medication, and Dr. LP was distracted by its absurd advertising, which he tried to locate for us. He explained that this medication’s packaging has always been an emasculating pink, so the company had recently come out with a blue-bottled version for macho men. The contents of the pink and blue bottles are absolutely identical; only the colours of the labels differs.

What, then, would I like you to take from today’s post? With any GI specialist, you can expect the poop talk. Hopefully there will be a poster to help you through it. Also, not only do men have babies, they are babies.

 

Blue bottle of Lax-a-Day for men

Raising my business from the grave

My new life, Chapter 1, typed on paper in a typewriter

Last summer, I realized that: 1) I probably wasn’t going to die anytime soon; 2) not only was my death not imminent, my health was fairly stable; and, 3) I was getting bored of twiddling my thumbs. Those factors led me to seek out volunteering opportunities. To my surprise and delight, I was accepted to volunteer despite my leukemia. Today I enjoy my volunteer assignments with both Canadian Blood Services and PALS (thanks to my PAL Jelly, who is remarkably well behaved in unfamiliar settings).

I convinced myself that, if I started volunteering, I might not miss working so much. My love for volunteering has not lessened my desire to work as a psychologist. To clarify, I don’t miss making money, I miss helping people.

I’ve had only one client visit my office so far this year. My client base has trickled to a standstill for two reasons that I can think of: those who know I have leukemia must think I’m dead by now, and those who don’t know I’ve been sick will have trouble locating me on the internet. Or at least I’m assuming they will; I’ve never Googled myself to find out.

What’s the first thing you do when you receive the potential name of a professional for hire, whether it’s a plumber or a financial advisor or a psychologist? You do an internet search, and decide whether you’re willing to give that person a try based on what you can find out. (I guess I shouldn’t speak for you, but I know that’s what I do.) If the professional doesn’t have a website, you may form your opinion based on her marathon time, or her snarky letter to editor of the local newspaper, or her involvement in this or that charity, or whatever else the internet chooses to share with you.

Many psychologists were slow to jump on the social-media bandwagon, perhaps because of the strict rules that govern how we advertise ourselves. We need to honestly represent our credentials–I can’t say I’m a Rhodes scholar if I’m not–and we can’t include any client testimonials. That means no quotes from former clients on how much I helped them through difficult times. Furthermore, when psychologists advertise or use social media in other ways, we must not breech client confidentiality. For example, we cannot befriend our clients on Facebook.

Despite these social-media constraints, more and more psychologists have been creating snazzy, engaging websites in recent years. In order to keep up with the Freuds (bad analogy since Freud was a psychiatrist but let it go, okay?), I too may have to create a website for my practice. Then when people search online for my obituary, they may instead find that, not only am I still alive, I’m open for business.

Once I have my website up and running, I’ll have to figure out how to solicit potential clients. Our ethical guidelines forbid ambulance chasing, which is overly constraining, don’t you think? What’s wrong with showing up at funerals and encouraging people to seek my help? I don’t need any client testimonials to assure you that I’m an excellent grief therapist. Someone has got to help the bereaved, and it might as well be me.

The miracle of the Easter bunny, and other trite matters

Lindt Easter bunny

Boy, am I lucky. Not only did recent dinner company bring us delicious Lindt Easter bunnies–I devoured that silky smooth milk chocolate-hazelnut awesomeness all too quickly–but some bunny appeared at our door unexpectedly on Sunday morning.

Do you remember Bob the Bunny? The mysterious beast who left Easter treats at our doorstep a few years back, never revealing his true identity despite several pleas for him to come forward? I’ve given up on identifying Bob, although if you’re still out there, Bob, it’s not too late to tell me who you are so I can thank you properly.

Rogers chocolates, three Victoria creams in spring coloursThis year, Bob’s wife Barb showed up (I’m hoping Bob isn’t under the weather), and stealthily snuck some Easter treats inside our storm door so surreptitiously that even Jelly did not alert us to the delivery. (It should be noted that Jelly normally alerts us to the presence of anyone within 50 metres of our front door.) Before we could utter “What a funny bunny, honey!” Barb had hopped back across the street.

I imagine Bunny Barbie was scurrying off to her family Easter feast. What does a bunny’s Easter dinner include? There’s a starter of carrot soup, followed by carrot soufflé, roasted carrots with carrot-top pesto (or perhaps carrot tzimmes if the bunnies are Jewish), and, finally, carrot cake for dessert. Everything a bunny’s heart desires.

I must say that I’m relieved that my Easter treats were brought to me rather than my having to search for them myself. I would not have been up to a no-holds-barred Easter egg hunt myself, although to be fair they hold few such hunts for people my age. I was busy sleeping on the couch for much of the weekend, napping not just on Saturday afternoon but on Sunday as well. In fact, I spent a record number of hours laying on the couch on Sunday. Thank goodness I didn’t have Easter dinner to attend; I’d have fallen asleep on my festive meal. I’d never have been able to participate in an egg hunt.

My sleepiness got me thinking. I realized that I push through my busy-for-me weeks, doing all those regular things on my schedule, like volunteering and yoga and grocery shopping and dog walking, in addition to the odd random errand. (I realize the rest of you are doing all these things on top of your day jobs, but cut me some leukemia slack, would you?) After all my days of pushing and yawning and dragging myself through the week, the weekend arrives and there’s no gas left in my tank.

I’d like to renegotiate my leukemia–and, while we’re at it, my polycythemia and my wonky liver–with the powers that be since they’re getting in the way of my life. Give me five healthy, productive days during the week, and I’ll wholly embrace my cancer every weekend. I can accept two days per week of lassitude, but seven is becoming a bit cumbersome. I know, I know, I should be so grateful I’m alive that quality of life doesn’t matter. Oh me of little gratitude.

I’ll do anything to express my thanks, except relinquish my not-remotely-Jewish but genuinely tasty Easter treats. I’ll somehow find the energy to snarf those down any day of the week.

The meaning of Easter through the eyes of a Jewish chocoholic

Small children on an Easter egg hunt

A friend was apologizing to me yesterday for not knowing more about Passover and Jewish customs. “Bah humbug,” I responded, “I probably know even less about your customs.” It’s true. Despite my living in a world where Christianity is the predominant religion, I know very little about the real meaning of Easter.

I have managed to familiarize myself with the important non-religious Easter customs, however. I know that children look forward to a grand Easter egg hunt sometime over the weekend. I also know that these same children would be disappointed if the eggs weren’t made of chocolate. I am glad that I did not know, as a child, that Christian children everywhere were hunting for chocolate Easter eggs and I wasn’t invited. This ignorance is due not only to my Jewish heritage but also to growing up in a predominantly Jewish community.

When I examined the true meaning of the Easter egg hunt more deeply, I realized Jewish children do engage in a similar ritual during the Passover Seder. Early in the Seder, a piece of matzah known as the afikomen is hidden for the children to find after the Seder meal. The excitement of finding the afikomen is not without its purpose: the goal is to keep the wee ones awake through the long celebration. That excitement used to keep me up for hours, I’m sure, although I can’t recall my childhood excitement as an adult.

In case you were wondering, afikomen means “dessert” because it is supposed to be eaten after the meal, when it is found. Matzah for dessert! Yummy! Thankfully, at our recent 30-minute Seder, we somehow forgot to end our meal by eating the afikomen. Rather than matzah for dessert, we insteaded suffered through large slices of Kosher-for-Passover lemon cake and flourless chocolate cake.

Compare our two traditions: Jewish children get to look for the afikomen while their Christian friends search for chocolate Easter eggs. Which custom would you prefer? Need I even ask? The searches may be similar but, in this case, the rewards are vastly dissimilar.

Usually, when I write about being Jewish, I try to convince you that our celebrations and rituals are more fun/better/more exciting than yours. I’m not trying to preach or proselytize; I’m just telling it like I see it. Being Jewish is great. One morning of gifts at Christmas vs. eight days of Hanukkah gifts? I rest my case.

But in this instance, I won’t even try to bring you on board (“board” is a Jewish pun, since matzah and cardboard taste remarkably similar, at least to those who have tasted cardboard). If I had a choice, I’d take the chocolate eggs over the matzah anytime. Matzah notwithstanding, I’m still happy to be Jewish, especially during Hanukkah.

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go and put my first-ever batch of hot cross buns in the oven. J. loves hot cross buns, and it is Good Friday. Of course I will not eat any of these leavened baked goods myself because Passover has not yet passed over. Also, I’ve decided to nix the crosses on them because, well, I’m Jewish. I’m substituting Xs instead. Do you think J. will still know what they are?

Homemade batch of hot cross buns

Why are these playoffs different than all other playoffs?

We are on the second day of Passover now, Jews around the world are struggling with GDDTM (that’s “gastric distress due to matzah), and my suffering is just beginning. Tonight the Stanley Cup playoffs kick off and Edmonton Oilers fans province wide will end what they have dubbed the 10-year post-season drought. Try hanging out in the desert for 40 years, Oilers fans, and you’ll appreciate the true meaning of drought.

Tonight, with the help of their key player, Connor McDavid (that’s McJesus to you), the Oilers will start their run at the Cup. Oilers fans will be glued to their television sets to watch the first-round match up, knowing their boys in blue stand a good chance.

Sadly, the Calgary Flames have earned a playoff spot by the skin of their goalie, and their fans do not hold out the same hope. I don’t know hockey, yet I’m anticipating they’ll barely make it through the first round. They’re up against the best in the West and if I were the betting type, I’d be placing my money on the other team. Calgary doesn’t stand a chance. That’s why I have not chosen even one Calgary player in my hockey pool. (Sure, maybe J. chose my players for me since she’s the only true hockey fan in this household, but even if I were choosing for myself, I’d have passed on the Flames.)

The Oilers-Flames rivalry dates back almost as many years as the Jews’ wandering in the desert. That’s why Oilers fans are gloating over their successful season and their playoff prospects, while Flames fans fear the end is near.

Life-sized stuffed Grover in Oilers jersey sitting on couchDid I mention that J. roots for the Oilers and I for the Flames (solely to irritate J., of course)? This won’t be a problem after the first round of playoffs, when I too will be rooting for the one Alberta team still in contention, but tonight I will be outnumbered: J. has invited her Oiler-fan friends to her woman cave to kick off Round 1, and I will be the only one wearing a vibrant red Flames jersey. Even our life-sized Grover is rooting for the Oilers, and Jelly will be doing the same, under coercion. (N.B.: I will not be posting a picture of Jelly in her cute little Oilers t-shirt because I refuse to soften the blow of her disloyalty.)

One of the couples attending has baked a homemade cheesecake adorned with the Oilers’ logo. This same couple made that scrumptious rainbow cheesecake for Pride last September, so I know it will be divine. It looks incredible, don’t you think? However delicious it may be, I’ve been told I don’t get any unless I join the immoral majority. If I really want a slice of cheesecake, I must jump on the blue bandwagon.

I can’t switch allegiances yet, though, because I enjoy being the antagonist. No matter. This cheesecake will not be kosher for Passover, and you know I am too good a Jew to eat of the forbidden fruit. So enjoy your delectable cake but first pass me the matzah, would you? Tonight I must suffer like my ancestors. Bring on the GDDTM.

Cheesecake with Oilers logo on it

Is it time to update the Seder plate?

Seder plate with the 6 traditional items on it

I know, I know, I did not humour you with a post yesterday. Because I had festivities to attend in the evening, I needed a long afternoon nap instead. Today I’ve had to badger J. to complete my entries for this year’s hockey pool. I’ve had a lot on my Seder plate.

Last night, I thoroughly enjoyed the 30-minute Seder, abbreviated out of respect for the short attention spans of the two toddlers present (and me). In no time at all, we managed to hit the highlights, including the Passover story, the 10 plagues (recited in Hebrew so as not to invoke any fear of smiting in the wee ones), and the meaning of the items on the Seder plate. That left us time for a few songs.

Consider the Seder plate the centrepiece of the festive table. On it are 6 traditional items: bitter herbs, bitter greens, another vegetable for dipping, a hard boiled egg, a lamb shank bone (replaced by a doggy Milkbone when the real deal is unavailable), and charoset, a fruit-nut mixture representing the mortar and bricks of our labour. Oh, and there’s matzah and salt water alongside too. Together these items represent the hardship we endured when we were enslaved in Egypt. Let’s say those herbs are bitter for a reason.

Were I to expound on the meaning of each item, you’d think we Jews were a cranky lot, but that’s not true. Sure, we went through tough times, but we have so much to celebrate. Perhaps revamping that downer of a Seder plate would help. Can we fathom some new symbols less reflective of suffering? How about a chocolate egg instead of that boiled one? Seems obvious why kids enjoy Easter more than Passover.

A pile of small coconut macaroonsWe might include something from the coconut food group, since coconut is pivotal in Passover treats. I envision some delicious canned Manishewitz macaroons, so small they can be eaten by the handful. (You’re surprised to learn that Manishewitz produces not only sweet wine but all manner of tasty kosher food? Try the gefilte fish!) Several of these one-bite wonders would look at home on the Seder plate, and they’d be one of the first things I’d crave after years of eating matzah.

Pile of toasted coconut marshmallowsThose pillowy soft toasted-coconut marshmallows would look splendid too. Kosher marshmallows are hard to come by since marshmallows are made with gelatin, an animal byproduct. If the animal isn’t kosher (pigs aren’t, I hear), neither is the gelatin derived from it. But every year, toasted-coconut marshmallows made with kosher gelatin magically appear amongst the Passover foods at the supermarket. For those of you attending a second Seder tonight (I bow out after one), what better gift for the Seder host (other than Manishewitz wine of course)? If you don’t believe me, try one of these scrumptious marshmallow delicacies sometime, and another, and another. The bag will be gone in no time.

To any observant Jews reading this post–after your second Seder ends of course–I mean no offence. I simply believe we Jews are a happy, sometimes chubby, people who appreciate our sweets, and that these treats deserve a place at the Seder. Children (and I) would prefer marshmallows to bitter herbs hands down.

“Let my people eat!”*

Moses in a basket on the riverDid you hear researchers recently reviewed studies of how much babies cry? Who cares? Of course babies cry. They get hungry, they need their diapers changed, they get sick. Since they can’t talk, crying is their way of communicating their discontent.

According to their study, Canadian babies, along with those from Italy and the UK, cry the most. I’d say Canadian babies have more reason to cry than babies from other countries. It’s cold here and the winters are long. Who can stand being cooped up? Canadian babies want to go on more walks but, if it’s not too darn cold, sidewalks aren’t passable to strollers because of the unshovelled snow.

Rumour has it I was quite the crybaby in my infancy, although I don’t know how much I cried compared to the recently determined national average. You’d have to ask my mom. Better yet, I’ll ask her, since she’s a diligent follower of my blog.

Annie: “Hey mom! Did I cry a lot? Was I colicky?”

Mom: [Silence.]

(Turns out my mother is not a diligent blog commenter, so my secret is safe.)

There is one fatal oversight in this research, which makes me wonder why the well-reputed Journal of Pediatrics published it: the researchers studied only infants. I know, I know, it’s the Journal of Pediatrics. Still, what about the country where adults cry the most? Wouldn’t that be more interesting?

People expect babies to cry, but they’re alarmed when adults do. Remember when the ER doctor told me I needed a hospital admission, and I cried because I hate being in hospital? My crying prompted a referral to the social worker because of my apparent emotional instability. From this experience, I learned not to cry in front of doctors.

Then, a few weeks ago, I tripped and fell, bruising both knees. I would have cried but I didn’t want my dear friend M., who was with me at the time, to think I was a baby, so I held it together. I shed a few tears of embarrassment once I was home.

I foresee ample opportunity to cry at the Passover seder on Monday evening. I’ll cry because the Jews were enslaved in Egypt for so many years. I’ll be cry out of fear that baby Moses will not survive his ride down the river in a leaky basket. (Ed. note: He does survive, thank God.) Then I’ll cry because the Jews wandered in the desert for so many years and no one thought to ask for directions.

There will be ample opportunity to cry over the festive meal itself. I’ll cry over the feared consequences of matzah. As an adult, I understand why the fruit plates of my childhood seders always had prunes on them. I’ll cry when I dip my greens in the salt water. Why must our symbolic tears be so salty? Finally, I’ll weep with hunger because the story of Passover is so darn long we won’t eat for hours.

Do you now appreciate why this crying study would be a lot more interesting if adults were the focus? If the Journal of Adulthood would consider revamping the research, I’d gladly be the first participant. Any other cryadults want to join me?

 

*Ask your favourite Jewish person to explain this joke.