Gam calls me on Christmas Eve.
“Guess what I got for Christmas?”
“Are you deaf? I said Hepatitis C.”
“Now I don’t know if you know this, Jenny, but it is a Sexually transmitted disease.”
“It can be sexually transmitted. You get it from sexual cont–
“GAM! I know what the Hep is!! Gammy how did you get it??
“Well you know, Jenny, how many guys are on Viagra around here. Everyone’s on Viagra. And there are always ladies ducking in and out of their rooms, it’s just what happens around here. Which is why everyone’s assuming but anyway I assure you, I am not one of them. Do you think you could go onto your computer and find out how else I might have gotten it?”
“Gam how is your friend Mr. Bud?”
“Jenny you are making me very angry.”
“Now if you would kindly go onto your computer and type it in. Hep-a-ti-tis- C.”
I call her back a few days later. (After emailing the conversation to all of my coworkers assigned to a retirement account…apparenting nursing homes are the #2 place to catch one these days. Who knew.)
“Gam, I looked it up. I really think you might have gotten it from one of the blood transfusions you had. You’ve had a lot of those.”
“That,” she says, “Or indiscriminate sex. The world may never know.”
My cousin Becky is a nurse. Apparently it’s really rare to have caught it from blood transfusions. Hospitals are very careful.
“It hasn’t happened in like 50 years,” she laughed. “I told Gam she’s gotta stop sleepin around.”
Then I talked to my Aunt.
“I’ll tell you, Jenny. It was so funny in that hospital room listening to the nurse trying to figure this out . . . ‘Any tattoos?’ . . . ‘History of drug use?’ . . . ‘History of . . .’ ”
God bless my grandma. I have a feeling she’s known that something bigger was going on long before the Drs did. (The cancer, that is.) Maybe she was prepping me by making me laugh a little–looking out for my sensitive heart. (She does that.) Maybe she was just being her quirky self and loving the opportunity to stir up some drama. (She does that, too.) Then again–
Nevermind. She is still my grandma after all.