Tuesday, February 1, 2011

i am not an animal! i am a human being!

disclaimer: i'm about to release a laundry list of my current and previous medical oddities into the universe. if you're not into that or don't want to see me in a different light (i.e. that of a terrible freak monster), then go procrastinate being checking out or

if you're still here, i'm just gonna assume you're a glutton for punishment or unable to overcome your intense voyeurism.  that's ok.  i forgive you.

here goes: i have had exactly two "real" medical emergencies in my life.  at two years old, i was hospitalized for ten days with periorbital cellulitus and when i was six, i was hit by a bike (as in bicycle - i wasn't run down by a hell's angel, although that would make a better story) and needed many stitches to sew up the gaping knee hole i got when a tire bolt ripped through my leg.

despite only truly needing medical intervention as a child, i've been to the doctor approximately fifty thousand times in my young life.  just so we're clear: two legitimate medical problems, fifty thousand doctor visits.  why the huge discrepancy, you ask?  it's the one-two punch of being raised by a hypochondriac mother* and imagining the worst all the time, while having a very real tendency to actually contract some of the most bizarre and irritating bodily issues in history.

as an adult, i have: been diagnosed with a hernia on my calf from sprinting for seven years, found a benign cyst on the sternal end of my clavicle, gotten pink eye (twice), suffered through styes, broken out in ringworm (on my neck, which is probably the most disgusting place), had three ingrown toe nails, had such terrible skin i needed to take accutane, grew a subcutaneous cyst that hung around for like three months,  and had a miserable reaction to a nose piercing that resulted in a permanent round little nostril tattoo.  i'm still the proud owner of the hernia, the clavicle cyst and the nostril tattoo, and have sort of just accepted that i am predisposed to vomitous, if not life threatening, skin/eye problems.

why does this matter?  why would i chose to discuss this on a public forum?  who would care?  well, i'm guessing the answer to that last question would be, "no one."  i'm cool with that.  however, i felt that the above exposition was necessary to fully explain how peeved i am about a certain new development: namely, the inflammation of my gums that's going on three days now.  WHY GUMS?  can't we just get along?  why can't i have normal gums like all my friends?  are you really going to stick around just long enough for me to worry an infection is eating my canine tooth out of my skull, forcing me to the dentist just so my grandpa (the dentist) can tell me i'm disgusting and just need to floss more regularly?  is that what this is about?  is this YOU, grandpa?

see.  every time effing time one of these seemingly minor, inconsequential issues arises, i am driven insane with panic, until i start every conversation with luke with, "so, you're sure you've had this before and it was normal?  you're positive?" and then he never wants to speak to me again.  so i call my mom (which is a major no-no), who then calls my grandpa (who as the dentist is the go-to medical expert for any problem) and pretty soon i have my entire family up in arms about how i'm about to die a miserable, agonizing death due to mutant fatal ringworm.  or, in this case, gum inflammation.

*my mother, who i adore, is one of the most intense hypochondriacs i think has ever walked the earth.  as an infant, i don't think my precious skin ever once came in contact with dirt (you think i kid, but seriously, no one was allowed to put me on the ground).  also, i was forced to wear water booties into the ocean (lest i cut my feets open on unseen glass or needles in the sand) until i was 14 and decided enough was enough.  also also, it was my mother who pointed out my clavicle cyst and calf hernia, which means she was (is) more obsessive about my nasty afflictions than i was (am).

ten points if you can find the clavicle cyst!

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