Friday, April 1, 2011

Cultural Exchange

We spent yesterday morning up at UCSF getting some tests done. Maggie has been having trouble keeping her oxygen levels up and i was worried about pneumonia. It looks like a slight lung collapse. She is on antibiotics and should be ok in a day or so. Hope so. I'm supposed to go to out of town tomorrow for 24 hours.  We shall see. 

We were waiting to get her meds at Walgreens. I just sat in the chair because they kept telling me it would be "just a few more minutes" (we left after 45 min). Maggie was worn out and looked quite peaked. She had the oxygen hooked up but the was still smiling and talking with her dynavox. 

A  woman went by and gave me the puppy dog eyes. and I groaned silently to myself, thinking "here we go." She walked by several times looking at Maggie, clucking and looking sad. I ignored her. She got in line to pick up meds and stared, waiting to catch my eye. Finally I looked up and smiled at her. She was well dressed and I would guess from her accent that she was  South American. She asked with a thick accent how old Maggie was. I told her, " she just turned 17". She clucked."17, ohh my"  I waited. She then asked "Is she your daughter." I smiled and said yes she is. She sighed heavily. I  knew the pity was there and she just had to express it. I waited, but not too long. She then said in the saddest possible voice, while slowly shaking her head,  "It just breaks my heart."  

There it was.

I tried to say nothing at all because it didn't really warrant a response. She was talking about herself, not Maggie. She's entitled to feel and say whatever she wants.I don't have to agree with her.But the clucking continued and  she clearly wanted me to tell her how hard Maggie's life is.  I just met her gaze, smiled thinly and said politely but with very little warmth, "You know, she's just living her life." I busied myself looking at my phone because I did not want to continue the conversation.

The woman was perfectly nice and she undoubtedly meant well, but ... please. I cannot handle pdp. (public displays of Pity). Have questions? I'm happy to answer them Want a place to dump your pity party? No thanks. There may be a cultural element at play in this particular exchange, but I cannot be responsible for that.

I suppose I COULD have said, HEY, DON'T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA" but that might not have been appropriate. Of course I laughed at the thought of that all the way home.  

Cross your fingers that Maggie decides to get better today. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Sally, I am laughing, my shoulders shaking at your Cry for Me Argentina quip. Awesome.

    And my new acronym is going to be PDP -- that's awesome, too.

    I hope Maggie is feeling better soon and that you get your 24 hour trip!


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