Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Bod

Tuesday, I had two appointments for the bod, the annual GYN exam and the dentist. I have a question: Why does everyone else talk about placque-gone-hard as "tartar," but the dental folk call it "calculus"? (I'm not complaining: I like the idea that every six months my teeth have been been working out complex equations all over my enamel while I've been watching Charm School with Mo'Nique and mastering online Tetris.)

Goodness. Already, I digress. I also got a tetanus shot, and believe you me, I've been milking the sore arm for all it's worth, which turns out to be: beer delivery from Brandon, an excuse not to tickle Caleb, and a general license to moan.

"Why does your arm hurt?" Caleb asked.

"Because I got a tetanus shot," I said.

"What's that for?"

"Well, if I step on a rusty nail, then the shot makes it so I won't get a blood infection," I told him.

Caleb raised his eyebrows. Clearly, he was trying to imagine a situation in which his mother would encounter a rusty nail.

"It could happen!" I said. It could happen if a band of dip-tet enthusiasts broke into my house and left a bed of rusty nails right next to where I was sleeping.

I go to the doctor because I'm convinced that something terrible--something statistically unlikely--will happen to me. Did you know that there is such a thing as cancer of the sinuses? Do you know all the warning signs for meningitus? Have you gotten the email about the breast cancer that shows itself simply by making your nipple look crusty and wilted?

Have you noticed that your mate has moved the Merck Medical Manual to the back of the pantry?

Weirdly, though, I have a blind spot with the normal aging process. This is such an excellent article in the New Yorker, but I have to say, the beginning freaked the shit out of me. I talk an enthusiastic game with the neuroscience, but really? I want my mind and my body to be just passing acquaintances. I left my heart with Des Cartes.


BarbaraCA said...

OH MY GOD! Sinus cancer? I spent between 2 and 2:24 a.m. this morning having a mild heart attack. I had no idea I needed to make more room in my schedule. Dammit.

Heather Annastasia said...

I have migraines, which are bad enough by themselves, but having them puts me at something like a 40% higher risk of stroke and aneurysm.

I've taught my husband and my boys how to administer a stroke test.

Lauren said...

I glanced at that article and then hastily moved on. TMI.

Jennifer, I used to be a medical editor, and boy did I become a hypochondriac. And after editing a dermatology textbook, I will never get a tattoo. I can still picture the green fuzzy stuff growing out of one tattoo . . . .

Jennifer said...

Oh, my. Green, fuzzy stuff. Look, Mom--I got a tattoo of . . . mold! Did you ever write an essay about that job? (On the other hand, maybe I shouldn't ask, because then I'll read it and immediately come down with 300 new symptoms.)

You would think since sinuses are CAVITIES, it would be impossible, but according to my trusty MMM, it's rare but it happens. (Welcome to my 2002, The Year of the Recurring Sinus Infection!)

Yikes, Heather--I had no idea that migraines were linked to that. As if the pain isn't hell enough, right?

Heather Annastasia said...

Ooh, I worked with a nurse who had lots of tattoos. Then she got a big red rose on her forearm which caused her to develop an allergy to the red dye, and even her previous tattoos broke out in a terrible rash wherever there was red in them. At the time when she showed me, she had been breaking out for three years and there didn't seem to be much she could do about it.

As for the migraines, I wouldn't wish them on the person I disliked most in the world (unless doing so would get rid of mine).

Have you seen those stone-age skulls with the holes in them? I read that it might have been an attempt to relieve migraines. You know, if someone convinced me that getting a hole drilled in my head by some prehistoric doctor named Ug-Ug, I would totally do it.