I’ll See Your Appendectomy, and Raise One Tracheotomy


I love nurses. They’re so disgustingly clinical. ~from “Black Adder Goes Forth”

Miranda Richardson, Hugh Laurie, and some other bloke

At one point here at P&Q I was going to devote an entire post to everything I feared. It ended up morphing into the “boggart” post from about a week ago, about fear in general. I figured making a list of everything that frightened me was unwise, because then, some evil entity might kidnap me and devise a closed dark space filled with spiders, clowns, and the music of Barry Manilow. You know, not showing your hand and all can be a good thing. So I left it at that.

What I will disclose is my absolute fear of all things medical. It is such that I usually have to be sedated for the tiniest tap on the knee with the little rubber hammer. I’m not sure where this fear arises (was I experimented upon as a child? Abducted by those anal-probe fetish ETs?) but I know it’s real and it’s a huge impediment in my life sometimes. If I had to guess, I’d say it was the clown/doctor nightmare sequence in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure that did me in. Thankfully I’ve been quite healthy, as I’m still young, and only need to see the medicos about once a year. More than enough.

I'm suing these guys for malpractice

Enter the medical porn aficionados. Yes, I’ve known people who seem to light up whenever medical procedures are discussed. One of them happens to be a close family member. Most old ladies I’ve known are content to talk about their grandchildren, or the latest episode of The O’Reilly Factor, or recipes for oatmeal cookies. Not so with this grandma. She only ever gets animated when one of two things are discussed: Tiger Woods’ sexual peccadilloes (don’t ask) or her many medical problems.

“They had to drain my knee. It was the size of a cantaloupe,” she calmly explained one night at dinner. It always seems to be at mealtime when she brings these things up. Other times it might be her ongoing cataract battle, her achy back, the corns on her feet. The more disgusting and puerile, the more she seems to like it. If she were a 14-year-old boy I might understand this. But she’s an eighty-something woman. Not buying it, even if Dad seems to think her mind is going.

She’s not the only one. Rule 34 rears its ugly head again. If something exists, there is someone, somewhere, who will get a sexual thrill out of it. There seems to be an entire subset of people whom I call “medical porn junkies.” They get a weird high out of talking about not just their garden-variety bumps and bruises, but cysts, warts, pus-filled appendages, and squamous bodies. To me, anyone who can talk about pus with a gleam in their eye has to be considered strange.

(More weird still are the medical one-upsmanship people. You tell them you once had a hangnail, and they immediately launch into a story about how they once lost a toenail to Bolivian river fever. We all know one of these types.)

Remember, he was *Doctor* Lecter

Funny enough, Mom and Dad wanted me to become a doctor when I was younger. That idea went right out the window when I bolted right through the door at a routine screening and had to be forcibly restrained. There’s just something about the smell of medical facilities, not to mention the sterility of the decor and lighting. I know it’s to keep the germs out…but there’s a reason most animals, unlike humans, show outright fear in the doctor’s office.

I guess I’ve got to be tolerant of the medporn junkies…after all, I’m sure they’re tolerant enough with my crazy pop culture obsessions…and trudge in once a year for my checkups whether I want to or not. And just hope I don’t come down with anything more serious than the flu. Because, honestly, I’d much rather spend a length of time in the clown-and-spider-filled box than the hospital. At least the food might be better.

"We're just here to help, son"

Got any funny medical stories, or medical horror stories? As long as there’s no pus involved, send them to wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com and they might appear in a future post. Be sure to “Like” and subscribe to P&Q so you’ll never miss another issue…doctor’s orders.

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on October 13, 2011.

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