Fuck You, Mark Burnett
February 12, 2004
A new low point in my life.
Survivor All-Stars made me cry.
Scratch that. Survivor All-Stars made me bawl like a little freaking baby.
MADE ME CRY.
Fuck you Burnett. Fuck you so hard.
For those of you who don't watch (and seriously, shame on you and I bet you think you're better than me for not watching well guess what no), tonight one of of the Survivors (the much-not-loved Jenna Morasca) quit the game. Because her mom had cancer and after six days in Panama she realized that she shouldn't be in the game. She needed to go home and be with her mom.
Her mom died eight days after Jenna got home.
I. Freaking. Lost. My. Shit.
When I was in ninth grade, my mom took me for a drive. I forget where we went, but I remember we ended up at a Taco Bell parking lot. She turned the engine off and stared straight ahead when she told me Dad had cancer.
I didn't know what to do. So I cried because she was crying.
Dad had radiation. I got a kitten in my Easter basket. I expected people in high school to treat me differently because My Dad Had Cancer. Dad was very, very sick. But then the cancer went into remission.
Fast forward: freshman year of college. My first and last semester at a godawful religious college in the Midwest. Calling home collect from the pay phone in my dorm lobby, telling my mom how much I hated this school. Dad's coughing again, his throat is really sore again. But it's probably nothing...he's almost five years into remission so This Is It. He's beaten it, right?
Yeah, no. The cancer came back right at the five-year mark. He needed surgery, and fast. I met Jason and immediately became totally obsessed with him and his hotness. Dad would be fine...and hey, I have an awesome boyfriend! Whatever!
Jason came to the hospital for the surgery where Dad lost his vocal cords and voice box. They created a new voice box out of the vocal cords that were left, but my dad's beautiful voice -- that classically-trained, radio-announcer voice -- would be gone forever. He was left with something rough and raspy. I have a tape of him reading Shakespeare for me...he recorded it just before the surgery. If my house was on fire, I'd grab my cat and my Dad's tape. And that's it.
Dad read I Corinthians 13 at our wedding. Out loud, in front of everyone.
In August 2001, the phone rang in the middle of the night. I. Am. So. Not. Answering. That. I managed to stumble downstairs after the answering machine picked up and I heard my brother-in-law's voice. Dad. Aneurysm. Or something. I'm so sorry sweetie. Please call us.
I looked at Jason, bleary-eyed, and told him I had to go home. He nodded. He understood.
I walked out the front door in my pyjamas and tried to get in the car. Jason patiently led me back inside and said it would be better to wait until morning. Or at least until I found my car keys.
Dad had an aortic aneurysm. They operated just as it ruptured. But because of all the throat surgery they couldn't intubate him. His throat wasn't normal and no one was able to get a drainage tube in place. Staph infection. Fluid building in the lungs. Pulmonary infections. I went home every weekend. I spoke to strangers on the phone, using big medical terms like I had a clue what I was talking about. My mom, sister and I straddled the line between gallows humor and batshit insanity for weeks.
One Saturday morning I drove home and hit Stupid Insane Traffic in Delaware. I tried calling my mom to tell her I'd be late but couldn't get through. When I finally arrived at the ICU my mom was already hysterical. Five minutes before? My dad very nearly died. The fluid in his stomach and lungs had built up to such a level that he went into cardiac arrest. Dying. A 20-something resident-on-call had been paged, and determined that a drainage tube needed to be inserted. Everyone else: Well, duh, be our guest. 17 doctors have tried to get a tube down this man's throat and failed so good freaking luck, rookie.
Attempt one. Tube down. Crisis averted. Corbett family women? Beyond hysterical meltdowns.
Oh yeah, and like a week after my dad came out of his coma? September 11. Good times.
But now we know that when Dad went into cardiac arrest because of the fluid build-up, he also had a heart attack. And they also found cancer in his thyroid. They removed part of the thyroid. They decided against an internal defibulator. They have him on synthetic thyroid drugs. They monitor him every three months.
I hate They.
But when Jenna M. talked about her mom tonight, I understood. I was convinced something Bad Would Happen when Jason and I went to Aruba last summer. Every time my mom mentions Dad coughing or not feeling well, my heart just about stops. No, not now. I haven't gotten my diploma, I haven't had a baby, I'm just not ready.
Anyway. This is my daddy. We're gonna splurge for the good seats and go to a Phillies game together this summer. And it's gonna be great.