Thursday, October 20, 2005

Where do you rate on the Cosmo Stress Test?

Growing up in the 70s, a bunch of us loved paging through Cosmopolitan Magazine. A rather racy read for high schoolers back then, but at the time it was the only up-to-date info we could find that didn't sugar coat the facts about boys, dating, and sex.

The quizzes were a favorite of ours, especially the Cosmo stress test. The exact wording of the questions isn't as important as some of the topics they covered. Anything from: Have you been divorced in the last six months? Did you move recently? Have you ended a relationship recently or are you starting a new one? Are you pregnant or a new mom? Did you change jobs recently?

Each yes or no answer earned a point value. A low score meant your stress was in a healthy range. A high score meant you should call 9-1-1.

Thinking back on it now, I realize the test had little in common with high schoolers who'd been raised in single-family homes along tree-lined streets in a quiet bedroom community outside Chicago. Maybe that's why we liked the test in the first place. No matter how we ran the numbers, the score always came up peachy.

Over the years, a running joke with select friends has been to report how we've been doing based on where we'd rate on the Cosmo stress test. These days my score's off the charts. No surprise, those results. Not with what's been happening in our lives.

The last four years have been a non-stop roller coaster ride, ever since our middle daughter E took ill in July 2001, nearly dying in my husband's arms from a ruptured aneurysm. Since then E's relearned how to walk and talk again while we've reshaped our family life to a new sense of normal.

Family, friendship, faith, and a writing community that is second to none. Without all four, this journey would be unbearable.

Though we long to exit the ride, docs say it isn't over yet. A week or so before school started, we learned another aneurysm lurks inside E's head. The only thing keeping us sane is the belief that we've been graced with this knowledge now because we have the time to fix the offending blood vessel before it ruptures.

Surgery is scheduled for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Light a candle for us.

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