Death Wish

My wife, it seems has a death wish. It's unclear to me whether she is a fatalist, an overly anxious pessimist, or if she harbors a quiet, yet insatiable need for attention. Quite honestly, it wouldn't be out of the question for her fascination to be an equal combination of all three. In any case, she continually manages to find new abnormal circumstances sure to be responsible for her demise. Understand, her theories are far beyond that of a mundane car accident or place crash, but contain, instead a consistent element of dramatic rarity supported by meticulous research intended to make her audience doubt their own misgivings as they listen to my wife's point-by-point assertions.

Not that her little quirk is an annoyance to me, as she has convinced me on several occasions of the legitimacy behind a few of her hunches, and because she's my wife, it's hard for me to accuse her of crying wolf. Who wants to be the grieving husband haunted by his deceased spouse's eternal nagging, "And you thought I was so full of shit. Look who's laughing now, Mr. Know-it-all?" Still, I'd like to thank the bevy of Television medical dramas (Grey's Anatomy excluded), as well as the efficiency of the Google search function for the quasi PHD my wife now holds in the field of medicine. 

. . .a death that allows adequate time to bask in the sympathy from others, while at the same time being devoid of pain. . .

From before I knew her, my wife has often speculated on having contracted a number of obscure diseases and disorders, which she has since dismissed after crossing off various signs and symptoms that were no longer consistently present in her goings to and fro. More recent dismissals have included Waaler Aarskog syndrome, Quinquaud's decalvans folliculitis and Pachydermoperiostosis, leaving Huntington's disease and brain aneurysm to remain as strong front-runners. Given that my wife's father may have had Huntington's and that her mother survived an aneurysm, coupled with the strong hereditary nature common to both afflictions, I remain alert. 

Were I in my wife's shoes, the numerous precautions and warning signs involved in monitoring these legitimate health risks would be more than enough to keep my mind preoccupied. Apparently she feels differently, continually exploring more and more potential culprits in a quest for the perfect means by which to leave this world. Specifically, this would mean a death that allows adequate time to bask in the sympathy from others, while at the same time being devoid of pain, complicated treatments or any potential for survival. A beheading for example, would be way too quick, but at the same time, the plague is so excruciating the agony would overshadow her capcity to enjoy the adulation of grieving well-wishers, and that's not to mention it's easily curable.    

The other day she swiveled around in the desk chair to greet me as I walked into the room. "I think I have hypothyroidism," she announced as if winning a coupon good for a sizable discount at her favorite shoe store. Behind her, on the computer screen, were the results of an Internet query, which she noticed me glancing at. "I runs in my family."

"Geez, woman. What doesn't run in your family?" It's true, sometimes they seemed to be the prefect candidates for a library full of cases studies conducted by experts in a wide-range of specialties.

She responded by squinting her eyes mockingly as if to say ha ha, very funny. "Oh ya? Well it explains the tiredness, weight-gain, snoring..."

There were more symptoms, but I can never remember more than three. There's no real point in doing so since anytime one of them is mentioned, my wife is quick to recite the details tying the symptom in question to the diagnoses in a manner not unlike medical interns proving their proficiency to the attending as they make their daily rounds. Upon the conclusion of these impromptu sessions, my wife will then repeat the story of how she astonished doctors by identifying the viral infection behind her daughter's illness. 

"It has all the drama associated with the connotation of a brain tumor, but with better odds of survival."

The hint of skepticism that somehow seeped through in my reaction to her self-assessed hypothyroidism apparently warranted the need for my wife to up the stakes somewhat. "I was doing a bit of reading today," she said as we were riding in the van, "and I have a brain tumor."

This time, I couldn't help but roll my eyes. "The other day it was your thyroid, and now you have a tumor?"

"Ya, the two are related." Naturally a full dissertation followed, and when she came to the point explaining how this particular tumor is classified as a brain tumor, their was a hint of glee that coated those two words. Brain tumor. My suspicion was confirmed as she mentioned how this particular growth is usually benign and easy to remove. "It has all the drama associated with the connotation of a brain tumor, but with better odds of survival." She seemed quite proud to have been "chosen" for such and honor. So sure was she of herself that she dialed a doctor right then and there. Admittedly, her confidence in the matter had me legitimately concerned for her health, but it was tempered with a calmness watching my wife rehearse how she would break the news to friends and family once the diagnosis was official. To date, my wife has yet to meet with the doctor. In the meantime, however, she has found new discoveries sure to kill her.

The other night as we watched TV, an astronomer was being interviewed about a book recently written concerning the outer space (see video in the sidebar). During the talk, he alluded to an asteroid currently being tracked, that will narrowly miss our planet roughly 27 years from now. Interestingly, it seems that this initial pass by us is only a precursor as to whether this same chuck of rock will actually impact earth the very following year.

Upon hearing of this potential catastrophe, my wife sat straight up. "Wait," she said after counting on her fingers, "That means I'll be 59 and you'll be..." She ticked through her fingers again, "65. We could still be alive."

"Maybe," I said already knowing where this was going with this. Sure enough, as if the Google god himself had called to her in a booming voice from a burning laptop in the wilderness, my wife rose up from the couch to answer the call, searching for more details concerning the future demise of humanity.

"I wonder if there's a countdown clock for that thing somewhere," she said between clicking through 756,668 search results.

I raised one eyebrow."Honey, do you think we could get past the tumors, aneurysms, and my sanity before worrying about a killer asteroid?" But she didn't hear me. She was already figuring out how she planned on telling everyone goodbye.         

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