Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good News, and—of course—Bad News

I went to the doctor’s office yesterday to have the growing skin cancer on my thigh inspected. What started out about a month ago as what I thought was a zit, has steadily matured into a scaly, red, quarter-sized growth on my outer left thigh.

So, I did what any good hypochondriac would do; I called my doctor’s office and emphatically told his staff that I was dying of skin cancer. They reluctantly squeezed me in for yesterday afternoon.

I sat on the table, with pants off and shoes on, as the bald doctor hemmed and hawed over the growth on my leg. After about two minutes of inspecting my pasty extremities, he looked at me blankly and said, “I don’t know.” Which is when I was forced to take the lead.


Blank stare...



It was about there that he ended the guessing game—and hold the phone—asked me if I wanted a biopsy. I nearly fell off the table! A doctor offering me a biopsy? There is a god!

Of course I denied, but only after he explained that the said biopsy would leave a huge gouge in my leg for an infection that could probably be treated with a course of anti-fungal cream.

Then he turned the game on me:

“Do you have a cat?”

Odd question but, “Yes.”

“Have you noticed any bald spots in her fur?”

“As a matter of fact, I have.”

“I think you may have ringworm.”

And there it is, the bad news.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Taking Time Out of My Day to Give WebMD a Big Middle Finger

Not only does that wretched excuse of a site frequently impose itself on the state of my mental and physical health, but today it went a step further, and intruded on my love life.

There I was, minding my own business, searching WannaBeMD for a new and exciting disease, when I spotted the “Most Popular Stories” list on the right hand side of the page. It looked something like this:

1. 11 Secrets All Men Keep
2. Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Days?
3. The Flat Belly Diet
4. 5 Weight Gain Shockers
6. 12 Embarrassing Body Problems
7. Sex Myths vs. Facts
8. Benefits of Drinking Water Oversold?
9. 7 Pains You Shouldn’t Ignore
10. How to Survive Spring Allergy Season

Any guesses on which one I clicked?

Now, one might think that I’d beeline for number ten, considering I am a hard-core allergy suffer (who could use some survival tips, if not just for the sake of those around me). Or number two even, since ten is the exact number of pounds I need to lose—and who wouldn’t want to do it in three days? Ahhh, or number nine! Sweet number nine is right up my alley, not that I ignore any pains, (but I must admit, I’ve read that one before). So, I went for el numero uno: 11 Secrets All Men Keep.

I don’t know what I was expecting; maybe something along the lines, of “We actually do like it when you pluck our eyebrows, even though we squirm like babies.” But what I wasn’t expecting was this:

“Secret #1: Yes, we fall in lust 10 times a day...”

Okay, being the jealous girlfriend—as much as I hate to admit it—that I am, I should’ve stopped there, but instead, I continued on.

“If the oldest question in history is "What's for dinner?" the second oldest is "Were you looking at her?" The answer: Yes -- yes, we were.” (emphasis added)

Really? Why don’t you elaborate on that.

‘"When a woman walks by, even if I'm with my girlfriend, my vision picks it up,''’ says Doug LaFlamme, 28, of Laguna Hills, California. "'I fight the urge to look, but I just have to. I'm really in trouble if the woman walking by has a low-cut top on...It's not that I want to make a move on her,'" says LaFlamme. "'Looking at other women is like a radar that just won't turn off."'

Doug LaFlamme, I say this to you: I hope someday your “vision” will pick me up as I lovingly shove my fist down your throat.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Glutton for Punishment, (Among Other Things)

I knew I should’ve put down the mouse when I read, ‘“This somber series of portraits taken of people before and after they had died is a challenging and poignant study.”’

I knew I should have walked away from the computer when I saw, “These photos are simultaneously haunting and beautiful.”

But apparently what I know I should do, and what I actually do are two very different things.

I was drawn to that turquoise link like a moth drawn to light. And before I knew what was happening, the “before and after death” portraits were flashing across my screen.

I think I reached the fifth dead person before I noticed a large pool of sweat on my keyboard, and it wasn’t long after that that I slipped into a full blown panic attack. I spent most of that night crying hysterically and thinking of nothing but death.

It’s been several days since the “viewing” and I’m just now able to talk about it.

It wasn’t the photos, so much, that got to me. In hindsight, they weren’t that disturbing at all. In fact, (though it sounds insensitive), most of the people were fairly old, and they looked peaceful in death—not terribly different from the photos in which they were breathing.

What got to me was the fact that these people knew they were dying. And that sounds somewhat ridiculous, because seriously, we all know we’re dying. I certainly do. But these people really knew they were dying and knew what they were dying from. It just hit me. It hit me hard to imagine what it would feel like to look into the camera for your pre-death portrait. It still gives me the chills.

If anyone shares my morbid fascination, the before and after portraits can be found