30 April 2012

Iron Poor Blood

When I was very little, my sister Sue and I used to play a really fun game, called ‘Iron Poor Blood’.

It was inspired by a commercial where a husband tried to slow dance with his wife. She wasn’t up to the challenge, and would hang like a rag doll in his arms. The reason? Iron poor blood. After taking Geritol however, she appeared with a zest for life, brand new hair-do, and some excellent dance moves.

Fun and Games
Sue and I preferred the pre-Geritol version.  Sue would usually play the husband (she was taller) and would order me to hang in her arms while she dragged me around the living room. ‘Limper!’ she’d hiss at me occasionally, ‘You have to go limper’.

On the occasion when I would be the man, she would sprawl over me, her arms draped over my sparrow-like shoulders, her head lolling to one side. I’d do my best to pull her across the floor (she was heavier) while she whispered orders at me. ‘Pretend you’re dancing’, ‘Pull me towards the window’ and ‘If you drop me I’ll punch you in the head’. It was such a good time! 

Now when I’m in the Princess Margaret lounge, waiting for my sizzling, I’m reminded of that Geritol commercial.  Most people have been at their treatment for some time, and it shows. Radiation is exhausting. Some patients sit with their head in their hand, some have their eyes closed, and much to my delight – some look like they’re gong to slide off their first class faux leather club chairs. 

There was actually one sleepy man with his legs splayed out in front of him, armpits resting on the armrests, whose arse was dangerously close to slipping off the seat.  It shouldn’t have been funny, but it was. I pictured him sliding onto the floor like a flat cartoon figure. It would have taken a large person to drag him around the dance floor. I watched him for a moment, as he wiggled slightly, jerking himself awake. One eye opened. It rolled in my direction and looked at me. I looked back and gave a small smile.

He might have misconstrued this as compassion from a fellow patient. Or a moment of understanding from a man/woman with grandpas hair.  He may have thought I was smiling at him, but I was actually smiling at the voice of my sister, saying,  ‘Limper! You’ve got to go Limper! Go limper, or I'll punch you in head!'

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