July 24, 2008

NWD

I'm up late, doing what I am nearly always doing when I'm up late: worrying.

This time it started because I like to have something to watch on TV while I'm stirring the fudge, and I'd finished my disc of The Wire so I just turned it to PBS. It was a program about this awesome thing they've discovered: a way to generate stem cells from regular old adult skin cells, instead of in controversial ways. The problem is that the way they get the skin cells to do this is by introducing a special kind of virus. And that virus! Oh, guess what? It causes cancer! They showed lumpy pink mice.

Well, and they're working on that. But in the meantime, is that not the makings of an apocalyptic novel? A virus some scientists are using for good, but have not yet perfected! It escapes! The whole world gets cancer and dies, except for the select few who will now spend their time plundering stores, figuring out how to fix a broken leg with no doctor, and trying to contact other survivors!

So there I am, lying awake picturing my children---and everyone else's children---dying of cancer. Oh, the weight of all that imaginary human pain! And I was cursing myself for having so MANY children. Why did I have any children at all after the first one, when I realized his continued existence was absolutely essential to my continued will to live? I was trying to lay in reserves, but instead I dramatically decreased my odds of living my life's dream: dying as an old lady who never had anything truly bad happen to one of her children.

Well, so you can see why I had to get up and bask in the light of the computer. Seasonal Affective Disorder can be treated with UV lights; Nighttime Worrying Disorder can be treated with monitor light.


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Pay-it-forward updates:

Living in Maryland is showing the giftie she got, and posting her new contest.

Pink Elefant is starting a new contest.

31 comments:

SLynnRo said...

I'm a nighttime worrier too. Like, why can't I get that crap out of the day when I am not doing anything worthwhile? Like being at work?

BethanyWD said...

Your last sentence of the post? That's the funniest (and most spot on) thing I have read in awhile!

Akimbo said...

Hello! Hi!

COMPLETELY delurking. How long have I read your blog and not commented?? Embarrassing to admit.

HOWEV!

Thought I could help---I'm a PhD biologist (please, stop laughing. It was what I call a "poor life decision". I'm encouraging my daughter to be an engineer or CPA or something that is challenging AND pays well!) Anywho, the viruses they (we!) use can't replicate in you, and can't really even infect you.
SO, what I'm saying is, that when you glance at your monitor light tonight, I am also glancing at mine and feeling safe. (well, as safe as I can knowing that my heart is inextricably linked to my daughter's, and that everything except the science I do is totally out of my control).

By the way, between you and Sundry (and many others I found through the two of you), I have finally come to understand that everyone else has the same parental struggles I do. You keep writing, and I'll keep lurking.

Akimbo said...

OH.
ALSO.

Just re-read my post, and I didn't mean that staying-at-home/other-careers-I-didn't-mention weren't challenging! See what happens when you are a SCIENTIST and you try to comment on a WRITER'S blog???

Natalie said...

Oh my gosh! Hahahaha, nighttime worrying disorder can be treated with monitor light. LOVE IT. It's only 10pm here, but I've definitely treated this disorder with monitor light before!

Swistle said...

Oh, Akimbo! Really? What a wonderful, wonderful world blogging is, where I can tap into a scientist at 1:00 in the morning and have my virus-related worries personally soothed! ...Wait. What about MUTATION! That's what it would be in a novel: mutation, all the way.

Whimsy said...

Seriously this should be one of those Hallmark-y "this is what happens when people connect over blogging" things because the fact that Akimbo TOTALLY ANSWERED YOUR FEARS is awesome. And also totally and completely funny.

I think that "basking in the monitor light" would be a great title for a song.

Mimi said...

Isn't that like the whole beginning plotline for the movie "I Am Legend"? You should totally be a screenplay writer, Swistle.

Jennifer said...

This? Is me. Every night. I recommend more Bravo and less PBS. I am currently enjoying a bit of 'Project Runway" with a dash of the "Ya Ya Sisterhood" thrown in during commercial breaks. Ah, anxiety!

squandra said...

I like the way you think. With the laying in reserves and the bad-happening-odds and the what have you. I think that way, too.

Yay for blogs!

Meredith said...

Ugh! I ALWAYS lie awake and ask myself what I was thinking bringing a child into this toxic world. I feel like there is no way to protect our sweet little babies from bpa, fumes, cancer, etc. I am a pretty optimistic person, but in the middle of the night, all bets are off.

Sarah said...

I'm not sure that dying of cancer is the loser's hand in this game. I think that watching everyone you love die and then having to forage for food and learning how to remove your own rotten teeth sounds much worse.

God, parenthood can be a bad racket some days.

Omaha Mama said...

I hope the light of morning finds you free of fear. Night time worries are the absolute worst and mine almomst always involve death!

BRash said...

There already is a movie out with the EXACT same plot - I Am Legend with Will Smith. Great biologist develops cure for cancer but it mutates, causes all but 5% of the population to die, and the rest of them turn into these horrible night walkers that eat the remaining unaffected people until there is only one guy left. It's a pretty good movie and I didn't give anything away. (It starts out with the premise I've told you and goes from there.)
Whenever I think about how the world will end I totally just pray that it won't happen in my or my children's lifetime. My husband thinks I'm heartless not to think of my grandkids.

Leeann said...

Aw Swistle,

I am a major worrier too, especially at night.

Why can't night worry be considered exercise? Think of how many calories we could burn! lol

Updated my blogroll today and you are on it, babe!

Thanks for making me smile, nod in agreement and laugh along!

Leeann
niccofive.blogspot.com

Stacey said...

I was up all night worrying too, only I was worrying about food shortages & how I have no idea what is edible in my landscape and what will poison us all.

I'll have to try treating with monitor light next time.

Mommy Daisy said...

I was going to tell you that "I Am Legend" is about that. The wolrd being infected with a disease. But someone else already mentioned it. Bummer.

Also, I totally think of weird things when I'm up at night (or trying to fall asleep).

Jess said...

OK, I am not a worrier. I didn't know that until I just read this post. I only worry about tangible, stressful things. But wow, your vision of the cancerous apocalypse is pretty unpleasant.

Erin said...

There is no end to topics for Nightime Worrying. NO END.

It's funny to me that something I can be up thinking about at night, so worried it gives me a stomach ache, can seem so ridiculous and impossible in the morning.

KatieBug said...

I watched the same show! Those lumpy pink mice were so nasty!! But they were working on a way to take the cancer gene out of the slurry of stuff they put in the virus. Maybe we are not all doomed? Unless we go into the Burmuda Triangle which was the next thing they talked about. :)

Misty said...

"...I realized his continued existence was absolutely essential to my continued will to live"

Perfectly put. Couldn't have articulated it better if I tried. I understand.

Astarte said...

I had to laugh when I read this!!!! How many times have we talked about being up at night worrying about money or some such thing, and now here you are worrying about BUMPY MICE! HA! (also, those poor mice, seriously, I hate animal testing, and plus, as the former owner of several pet rats, anything that DOESN'T give rodents cancer would be a miracle, because that's what they ALL die from)

On the up side, maybe this means that you no longer have to worry about money, and are now substituting the Weird and Unlikely? :)

MzEll said...

This is why it was a BAD IDEA for me to watch 28 Weeks Later and I Am Legend in the same week. I still wake up in the middle of the night trying to save everyone. Ugh, no fun. Also, The Machinist, make it stop! I can knit and grow pumpkins, not very helpful in the long run!

t2ed said...

Lumpy Pink Mice is going to be the name of my new rock band.

Alice said...

oh i love the internet! scientists delurking at 1am to allay your fears!

am hoping to continue wonderful ability to sleep through anything (incl night fears) if i have kids. do not have hopes set very high on that.

McMama said...

sounds like a prequel to 28 Days Later... didn't everyone tun zombie because of the "cure for cancer"?

Barbara said...

Funny how we all want to tell you it's the plot for I Am Legend... that monitor glow really helps, so long as it's not the glow from WebMD, because you are looking up the symptoms that start with a harmless itch, but it's turning red... from the scratching? maybe, but what if it's not? oh and it's swelling slightly... just a bug bite? should I worry...

Not a hypochondriac, but WebMD's symptom checker could turn anyone into one...

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

dude - i know all about nwd and rather than hijack your comments, i posted over here: http://www.dailydeven.blogspot.com/

Moose said...

As a fellow fretter, I frequently thank the internet gods for providing me with a late-night worry suppression vehicle. Youtube is a modern miracle.

whimsicalwalney said...

It's not cancer that worries me at night. Instead, I'm struck with images of the commercials about little ones who were killed by a drunk driver hoping that no one I know is the star of that kind of commercial. The cute babies in the bathtubs waving to mommy or daddy or...That seems even more out of my control than any disease.