19 November 2011

Nail Polish & Champagne

The front doorbell isn’t working, so I had to rely on the mighty hound to announce the arrival my Russian nurse. I opened the door to see a  shiney gloved hand jabbing at the doorbell. “Why iz not working?” he demanded. Preoccupied with his gloves, I didn’t answer, merely ushered him in and gave him the once over. Fitted dark suit, knitted grey cable mock turtleneck, suede ankle boots, and black gloves that glistening like a pair of leather tap shoes. “Shiny gloves!” I said, but he ignored me and bent down to press his forehead against Jed’s.

In his glistening hand he clutched a stethoscope. In any other situation it would have looked like a medical tool, but surrounded my gleaming leather it looked like an instrument of torture. I’m torn between whether he looks more like James Bond’s evil double-agent doctor, or the skating coach for the Russian team at the World Championships.

Jed, Alexi, and I filed into the kitchen so he could wash his hands. Part of my treatment includes a large dose of steroids that makes me sleepless, talkative, and unable to sit still. So I apologized in advance as I hopped up on a bar stool babbling about nothing in particular. Now he gave me the once over, settling on my crimson toenails. “I much appreciate the colour of your pedicure.” I personally found the colour garish, but obviously our tastes run a bit differently, and I was scoring a 9/10 in the red department. I told him that, as my chemo nurses warn me away from nail salons with germy tools, I had to paint my own toes. He frowned, “Iz hardship for you?”

‘Damn right it’s a hardship!’ I almost screamed out loud. But then I thought that maybe he’d had a harder life than me. Uprooting his family, leaving his friends behind, moving to a new country with overpriced vodka, and driving around in a Jaguar tending to the wounded.  Perhaps he wouldn’t sympathize that I sacrificed a leg massage in a vibrating chair in lieu of perching my foot on the edge of the bathtub. So I kept quite, and offered him a cup of coffee.

He declined, and said that what he really wanted was something he’d provide for himself in a couple of hours. With the promise of an early afternoon, he was going to celebrate with a bottle of French champagne. ‘Tattinger,’ to be precise.  Then he jabbed me delicately with  $2,700 worth of white blood cells while I complimented him on his brilliant, painless technique. “I know,” he said, and almost smiled.

So later that day, as my nurse sipped his sparkly treat, I settled (sort of) in front of a decorating show to redo my whoreish nails. Iz hardship, of course. I'd rather swap bottles with Alexi. Polish for champagne. But in the grand scheme of things, with fresh cells soaring through my body, I can manage.

На здоровье, Alexi!

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