I have two younger brothers, Elder Younger Brother (EYB, the middle child) and Younger Younger Brother (YYB, the youngest). Collectively, they are “the boys.”
(This last fact annoys EYB to no end– YYB will do something like leave his socks and empty soda can in the TV room, and mom will call, “Boys! Come clean up your mess in the TV room!” and EYB will just fume.)
My mother has recently lost a lot of weight on the Jenny Craig diet, which made her pretty happy, but made her gallbladder pretty unhappy. (Turns out losing weight isn’t inherently healthy!) She went to the doctor because she thought she had an ulcer– excruciating pain nearly made her miss an out-of-town conference– and she’s been commenting that she feels like she’s six months pregnant. She went in again for an ultrasound and we are waiting for the results.
When I woke up, YYB said something to be about the doctor’s office calling,
“Something about mom’s surgery,” he said.
“You mean ultrasound,” I corrected him, reaching for the Cocoa Puffs. “Mom hasn’t had any surgery.”
“I dunno,” he said, and ate his macaroni and cheese lunch . (I sleep in late.)
I forgot all about it, until making conversation at dinnertime, I asked Mom what the doctors had to say.
“Oh, I’m still waiting on the results,” she said, “but I should hear back soon.”
“Um,” I said. “Didn’t you call them back?”
After much confusion, it was finally discovered that David had answered the phone, totally ignored everything the doctor said, wrote down the phone number, and forgot all about it. He attempted to fetch Mom the phone number, but the sticky note he brought her was his friend’s cell phone number. We tried calling the main office, but, of course, it was dinnertime and they were closed. So now we’re all waiting for tomorrow, when they’ll be open, and all we know is that this office only calls with your results if they’re bad, and they mentioned surgery.
“Did they mention it as in, ‘immediate surgery’?” Mom asked.
“I dunno,” said YYB.
“Was it ‘critical life-saving surgery’? Or ‘call us to schedule a convenient time’ surgery?”
“I dunno! I wasn’t listening.”
Younger Younger Brother, it should be noted, is not particularly young anymore. He’s thirteen. He should know how to take important messages! And “your mother” and “surgery” are key words indicating important messages! “I dunno” is not an acceptable message!
I wish I’d answered it– though I was asleep at the time, and would’ve had to run across the house to get to the phone…he could have let it go to voice mail and we’d be better off!
I’m being a little too harsh on him, though, I think, but it’s a difficult impulse to resist. All of a sudden I’m really worried about my mom, and moms are supposed to be immortal, y’know? She and I have only just made up after years of there being a lot of pain between us. I love her a lot. And it’s kind of worrying to know nothing but “your mother” and “surgery.”