In April 2002, I was sitting at my desk in my office at the U. of Minnesota when the phone rang. It was my physician's office, telling me that a radiologist had spotted a suspicious shadow on what until that moment had been a routine mammogram, and could I please hold while Scheduling arranged an ultrasound test.
HMOs, university medical centers, and myself being what they all are, it was three weeks later when once again, as I sat at my desk, my physician's office rang me up. The more sensitive ultrasound test had identified the potentially cancerous lump as nothing more than a pocket of adipose tissue. Clean bill of health. For three weeks I had been denying I was at all concerned. I put my head down on my desk and bawled so immoderately that my secretary ran in with a box of tissues in one hand and an airline shot of single malt scotch in the other.
Just over three weeks ago, I was driving home after dropping my daughter off at school when Ann Compton broke into the regular morning talk show with an ABC Special Report: George Bush was nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. I whimpered in impotent rage and disappointment. I knew this was bad, but didn't know it would keep getting worse, day after day after day.
This morning, I was driving home after dropping my daughter off at school when Ann Compton broke into the regular morning talk show with an ABC special report: George Bush had accepted Harriet Miers's withdrawal from consideration for a seat on the Supreme Court. I pumped my fist in the air and bellowed, "Yes! Yes!!!!" The sun shines again in the District. Tomorrow there may be bad news, but today is a day of respite. Simple common sense dictates that the relief I experience today differs not just in degree but in kind from the relief I felt at the news I did not in fact have a mortal disease. But heck if I can tell the difference.
Now where the hell's my single malt?