Wednesday, March 25, 2009

That's Life!

There’s a saying in my family that sums up all the absurdities of the universe in three little words: Life is life.

When a pile-up of humbling calamities befalls anyone in our immediate circle, we turn to each other and say Life is life, and for some reason, we feel better.  Life is life condenses all Murphy’s Law supplements into one handy phrase. Over the past few weeks, we’ve said Life is life a total of 82 times. I’m not exaggerating. Okay, maybe a little, but trust me, I’m entitled. Here are a few excerpts from my highlight reel. Spoiler alert: those with weak stomachs, stop now. This tale includes broken parts and an ugly black boot.

Last week, my 87-year-old father went shopping for a new hip, and three hours later, found a replacement over at Cedars-Sinai, a giant mall of premium hospital beds. It takes an hour to find a parking spot, and an equity line to pay for it. The coffee shop on the plaza level, however, serves a nice pound cake. The operation went well, thanks to the tall, handsome surgeon who disappeared after the final stitch and has yet to return a call. would rate the Cedars recovery room and hospital stay with half a star, and that’s being generous. The indignities ranged from bumping and banging my dad and spilling water on him, to serving him mysterious, fish-like cuisine and trying to move him to another floor the night before he was going home. He rejected that particular upgrade with a flurry of expletives, and during check-out, declined the offer of a bedpan as a peacekeeping souvenir.

Back at the condo, as he put his attorney on speed-dial, the mishaps continued. Two seconds in the door, the bathtub sprung a leak, the freezer refused to make ice (for the ice therapy machine that broke instantly), and the commode delivery, along with the carefully-selected, physical rehab team, got re-routed to Mars.

Meanwhile, I decided to grab a little attention for myself. Everyone was so focused on my father, I couldn’t help but wonder, what about my needs? Don’t I count? I decided to find out. Jumping around in an exercise class, I came down wrong and rolled my right foot. At first, I thought I’d sprained my ankle. Sure, a sprained ankle might’ve garnered some sympathy. But sprains are for underachievers. So I went all out, people. Not to be outdone, I broke my foot. And now I’m wearing one of those hideous black boots, getting MRIs and most importantly, lots of indulgent phone calls, mainly from my father, the former invalid. “Are you okay, honey?” he says, hourly. “Who’s going to take care of you?” he asks. “Oh, sweetie, were you able to sleep?” Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll be fine. Eventually. Still, a basketful of tulips, irises and roses wouldn’t hurt. The inscription on the card? Life is life.