28 October 2011

Date with the Russian Nurse

 “What time would you like to receive me?” my Russian nurse asked over the phone, in order to arrange my post-chemo shot. “Anytime before noon,” I managed to say, without adding ‘your Royal Highness’.  Then, as is befitting nurse royalty, I got to the task of straightening up. Dusting, shaking out dog blankets, and programming some CD’s. Sounds crazy, I know. But here’s why.

Possible Nurse Ancestor
Over the summer the Russian Nurse was my one structured moment of the day. Because I was convalescing, I liked to have a certain amount of order. And that meant that our normally tidy house would be super-duper clean. So, pre-visit, I’d vacuum (with one arm) all the dog hair, do the dishes, and put on some soothing CDs. Lhasa, Cesaria Evora, Norah Jones, girls like that. One day, after our bandage changing, the Russian nurse declared, “I truly appreciade your eggsalent taste in music.”

I thanked him, and for each subsequent visit made sure that I programmed something that might meet his approval. Even if I were in the mood for a Blue Rodeo marathon, (which I am today) I would switch it to Glenn Gould, Edith Piaf, or some other ‘bandage changing music’.  One day Jim came home while I was programming the CD player, “What is this, a date?” He asked. And it pretty much was. Here was the routine. Alexi (for that is his name) would arrive at my door in an angora cardigan, pressed trousers, and stylish shoes. He’d come in, greet the dog,  I’d turn up the music, and we’d all head up to the bedroom. I asked if he minded having Jed staring at him, and he said “Absoludely not. Dogs are much smarter then beeple.”  Jed would hop on the bed, I’d take my top off, and Alexi would check my incisions. “Beauty-ful!” he’d declare.

Today when Alexi came he told me I looked great. I told him he looked great (he was all Hugo Boss) to which he matter-of-factly replied, “ I know.”  Because it was just a quick shot in my behind, he did his work in the dining room to the strains of Leonard Cohen. And really I must admit that he can almost justify his arrogance, because he does flawless bandaging and painless needles. The tiny shot, incidentally, costs a whopping $2,750.

So as far as dates go, this ones not so bad. A dashing man pulls up in his Jaguar, gives you a three thousand dollar treat, and hands you a compliment. 

There are worse ways to start the day.


  1. Surprise him with a Russian phrase next time

  2. Beyond cleaning my house, I have no desire to please my nurse.

  3. I can picture every moment...so funny!