One of the little known side effects of my illness is that I was required to be a codebreaker as soon as I woke up. This happened when people had to say “no” to me but felt really bad about it so they framed it in nice words and I had to read between the lines.
One of my favorite examples is when I started to wake up in the 2nd Hospital and wanted some fruit so badly, but the sign on the wall said “NPO” and told everyone that both food and liquid were contraband items in my world. This did not stop me, however, from hitting up passers by for some ice chips or fruit. I though a lot about that part in Pride & Prejudice (ch. 55, I think, for you Austenites out there) when Georgiana plays the reluctant hostess at Pemberly and does her duty by serving pyramids of fresh peaches, grapes, nectarines etc. to Lizzy and other guests. I wanted some fruit in the worst way and asked Mommy for some. It pained her to have to deny me something that I wanted so much, and Mom said some very loving and sad words that I mercifully don’t recall. I only remember the moment when I summarized, “So…‘no’ to the fruit.”
Now that I’m better, I’m the one who speaks in code. Here is a sampling for my family’s reference:
- Ed is baking cookies. = I need baked goods NOW.
- Ed thinks you’re the cat’s pajamas, Mommy. = I love you, Mom.
- Ed and I are going to go tell Tanpo a joke. = I’m going to go bother Dad.
- Ed is sitting on the sofa with Tanpo while he “watches” (naps during) the PBS Newshour. = I really, really, really don’t want Dad to be sick.