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The original meaning of "sucker punch" appears to be a mean punch delivered in boxing to a "sucker", someone green, not wary enough and not expecting it.


Content warning: weight loss.

I have stayed in the hospital twice in my life. The first time, which I do not remember because I was four years old at the time, my mother talks about often enough. That time, my brother and I had the whooping cough. One day in the park, another child coughed at us, and mother says she immediately did not like the sound of that cough. She was right: that kid and the two of us had the only three cases of whooping cough in town, and because of how infectious this disease is (it is considered one of the most common "childhood" illnesses in Russia, along with chicken pox and roseola), we were sent to the hospital immediately after being diagnosed. Our mother somehow managed to be admitted to the hospital as well to take care of us, although normally, parents were not allowed to stay in hospitals with their children.

My second hospital stay happened more than 20 years after the first one, and I was not exactly sick: I joined a dieting program at the Nutrition Research Institute; it was one of the very few times in my life I've tried dieting. It did not work out, because the nutrition plan they supply you with requires too much effort. (Cooking five very specific meals a day? I never even tried after returning to the "normal" life).

It was still interesting to do it that once in the hospital, where you were allowed to eat nothing but what the doctors said you should, but very boring otherwise, and the attitudes of many patients were disappointing: they went to that hospital every year for the two free weeks covered by the basic health insurance (as did I), but treated the stay as part vacation part free taking off weight, while largely ignoring the recommendations of the hospital staff the rest of the year.

Talking to the other patients and visits from family and friends are one of the few ways to stave off boredom in places like this, especially when you are not actively ill, and although I have never talked to any of the people I met there since, I remember some of their stories and character traits quite vividly.

I was lucky to share our four-person room with two young women about my age for most of my stay, with whom we formed I little group of not-quite-friends.

Yet after our fourth roommate, one of the returning weight-losers, left, we had to also share the room with an older lady, who was an unrepentant malicious gossip: she pretended to be all white and fluffy in your face, then turned around and talked rubbish about you as soon as you left the room. She did it so transparently, however, that the three of us immediately united against her, and let her words slide right off our backs, having already known each other for more than a week before she arrived, a very long time by hospital standards.

To give you just a taste of her, let me imitate her coming back home once, all aflutter after a gossip session elsewhere in the hospital.

"Girls, you will never guess who is here, it's K.! (a famous TV actor) Do you think I could get an autograph?", then, without pause, "But what is he even doing here, losing weight, doesn't he know people like him exactly as he is? I think I better tell him this!"

And not a thought spared about that person's privacy or the likely very real health-related reasons for joining the weight regulation program.

I will not go into the details of what the really obese patients were going through in that hospital. Neither of my almost-friends nor I fell into that category.

I still marveled at the glimpses of these two young women's lives that I learned. One, E., was a sales assistant in an upper end boutique, and she took a vacation from work to hide the purpose of her absence, although she had a right to extra time off had been she hospitalized.

The other, I., a human hurricane of activity, was a well-paid lawyer, who was then in between jobs and using that time to check if her and her boyfriend's difficulties in conceiving the child they wanted to have were caused by her excessive weight. Only, it did not work out that way for her. The hospital we were at does not hold only the various dieting programs it is best known for, they also run comprehensive health checks and often discover that the problems you complain of upon admission (or don't yet know about) either are not the caused by your weight, or are not uniquely connected to it.

I's infertility wasn't. It was discovered that it probably had to do with a tumor an ultrasound found in her uterus.

As it often happens, unfortunately, when it rains, it pours. The same day her tumor was discovered, I. was also made aware that her boyfriend was cheating on her with his ex-girlfriend.

Not being one to take punches laying down, I. returned this sucker punch with one of her own, when the boyfriend came to visit her and beg forgiveness the following day. Using her generally upset state, which she made appear worse by smudging her mascara, and her ultrasound picture, in which the tumor showed like a small shapeless mass, she decided to tell the boyfriend that she had, in fact, been pregnant upon admission to the hospital, but the shock of the news of his betrayal made her miscarry their baby.

I try hard not to judge people, but one of the reasons why those two weeks in the Nutrition Institute remain so vivid in my memory is that these things my four roommates did, which I have just told you about, big and small? (Shrug.) I do not behave like that.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
kehlen
Dec. 16th, 2018 07:36 pm (UTC)
ConCrit is welcome.

How many sucker punches do you count in this story? :)
evermore_spb
Dec. 16th, 2018 10:56 pm (UTC)
Последнее просто жесть.
kehlen
Dec. 17th, 2018 03:31 am (UTC)
Да, и меня тоже шокировало просто
majesticzaichik
Dec. 17th, 2018 08:31 pm (UTC)
WOW anyone should think twice before crossing I. That was a truly epic bout of revenge.
kehlen
Dec. 18th, 2018 04:25 pm (UTC)
It was, wasn't it? I did not know her well, of course, when it happened, and I was stunned.
bellatrix
Dec. 18th, 2018 06:15 am (UTC)
I's story is very similar to something a friend I used to have once did to her ex too. He went on a holiday, came back and dumped her because he met someone on holiday (and cheated while there) and at the time she genuinely did think she was pregnant. A week later she was revealed to not be pregnant, but when she tried to contact him to tell him she wasn't, he and his new girlfriend started screaming abuse down the phone and threatening to kick her in the stomach.
A few weeks later she sent him a text telling him the shock and upset of his dumping her and then threatening her had caused her to miscarry.

While it's definitely not something I would lie about myself, I really didn't feel sorry for him in this situation after all of his behaviour, especially what he said on the phone about kicking her in the stomach which would be an awful thing to say in general - and he said it when he legitimately believed her pregnant with his child on top of everything!!

That older lady sounds like a nightmare to be honest! I know too many people who behave in a similar way and they're so tiring and untrustworthy, I never feel comfortable around them!
kehlen
Dec. 18th, 2018 04:33 pm (UTC)
I was not privy to I's conversations with her boyfriend, and the gravity of her situation, but I think that what your friend's bf did was even worse. (Seriously, cheating on a pregnant gf, then telling her those kinds of things? She was lucky she wasn't pregnant, and it is good that she is rid of him!)

I understand why she would retaliate that way, but I still think it was not right of her, regardless of these reasons :( . Two wrongs do not make a right.
bellatrix
Dec. 19th, 2018 02:14 am (UTC)
I could 100% understand why she did it, and I didn't judge her for it because I could see how hurt she was and how through her anguish she had arrived at that point. At the same time, it's not what I would have done in the situation (especially since my own mother lost my twin which is something I've always grieved) and I also wouldn't want any contact again with someone who had said those things to me believing me to be carrying his child.

Plus, in the end it didn't solve anything. It didn't even make her feel better, in fact she seemed to feel even worse in the days after that. It didn't reverse the situation and while I hoped it might at least have one impact - aka to shock him into realizing what he did in threatening her and stop him from doing something similar again - given his response, which was just: "you shouldn't have provoked me!" I doubt that happened.

The only thing that came of it was she was extremely upset all over again after talking to him and his yelling at her another time!

She was lucky she wasn't pregnant, and it is good that she is rid of him! Those were exactly my thoughts!! (Edited to add: Even before this, I was concerned about his behaviour as he also showed some other warning signs like being very controlling and yelling/swearing at her if she ever disagreed with his opinions, and he had said inappropriate things to me in front of her, all of which made me uncomfortable around him to be honest).

I told my friend she was lucky she found out what kind of person he was early on (after only four months of dating) as opposed to much later down the line. She was offended and took it as me implying that she wasn't truly in love with him or upset, which wasn't what I meant at all, just that I think it's better it happened early because given his behaviour up to that point, I think he would likely have escalated and him bringing physical violence into the mix was a strong possibility from my point of view.

Edited at 2018-12-19 02:17 am (UTC)
tatdatcm
Dec. 18th, 2018 08:49 pm (UTC)
I can understand why your roommates made the time there something to remember. Two weeks packed with drama...and sucker punches.
kehlen
Dec. 19th, 2018 04:13 am (UTC)
It was. *shakes head*
dmousey
Dec. 19th, 2018 01:48 am (UTC)
If she can do this to her boyfriend, she will be a horrible mother. Anyhoo, thanks for sharing this piece. I enjoyed reading it. 🐭🐀✌😊
kehlen
Dec. 19th, 2018 04:13 am (UTC)
You're welcome.
eternal_ot
Dec. 19th, 2018 11:41 am (UTC)
Wow! I didn't expect she would do that..and yet I am nobody to judge her situation. It did make for a 'sucker punch' to the audience in the end :) I liked that...I wanted to do that while writing. This was a interesting take on the prompt. Very unique and I enjoyed reading it.
kehlen
Dec. 19th, 2018 03:15 pm (UTC)
I am glad that this structure worked for you, and that I saved the most unexpected sucker punch until the last :)
murielle
Dec. 20th, 2018 07:29 am (UTC)
Situations like this one, that take us out of our normal lives and expose us to people and behaviors that are vastly different from our own can be good for us-- in short doses.

I have always wondered what this particular situation--a weight loss hospital-would be like. Thank you for the insight. I suspect at least one of these ladies had too much time on her hands. :-)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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