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Posts Tagged ‘bugs’

  1. There’s Nothing Up My Sleeve

    March 17, 2014 by Diane

    hand extended

    Whose big idea was it to consider handshaking an acceptable practice?

    According to Wikipedia (that trusted resource written by anybody with the ability to login and type), the handshake has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks. The custom was meant to show that the bearer of the hand had no weapon. “See? Nothing up my toga.”

    What compelled the other Greek to grasp the hand and shake it? Was it to see if anything fell out of the toga, if there was a weapon stuffed up the sleeve?

    What those toga-wearing philosophizers hadn’t considered was the lowly bacteria; the secret weapon invisible to the naked eye. That outstretched hand…who knows where it’s been? It could be lined with the plague. Or a skin-eating organism. Or fish from last night’s dinner.

    Usually I try to have my hands occupied so I don’t have to engage in mutual shaking. But there I was, sitting on the examination table in the orthopedic department at the hospital wearing paper shorts, when Dr. Bloomberg walked in, his hand thrust out for a good hearty shake.  

    The fact that Dr. Bloomberg hadn’t washed his hands first led me to believe that he wasn’t a real doctor. I came to this conclusion because the nurse, after ushering me into the exam room, told me there was a doctor in the department who used to be an air conditioning repairman in the hospital. This was in answer to my question, “What’s the difference between a physiatrist and a physiologist?” There was more to the nurse’s answer, but that was the only part I heard.

    The gloveless Dr. Bloomberg, I feared, was the repairman.

    “So, what’s going on with your hip?” the fake doctor asked.

    I explained that my hip hurt when I walked, it hurt when I slept, it hurt when I sit and it hurt when I got up from sitting. I told him I’d tried physical therapy and chiropractic and yoga, I’d tried ignoring it and babying it and icing it and heating it, and the pain had been going on for years now and I had a pretty good idea that what I had was bursitis, and I wanted a shot. I wanted a shot of cortisone, providing I wouldn’t suffer any horrible side effects, like sudden death. “And by the way, what’s the difference between a physiatrist and a physiologist?” I asked.

    He felt my hip, and then sat on his little rolling stool. “A physiatrist,” he explained, “works in rehabilitation departments. Physiology is the science of rehabilitation.” He said more than that, but that’s all I needed to hear; he sounded legit. Or well-read. When he had run out of story about his medical background, he gave his quads a light tap with his palms and stood.

    “I’m going to go fill up,” he said, “and then I’ll give you your shot.”

    And off he went.

    To fill up.

    Five minutes later he returned. Full.

    “Ready?” he asked. This time he didn’t offer a hand to shake, but they both looked empty. What had he filled? Was it stuffed up his sleeve? Those Greeks might have been onto something.

    I turned onto my side and faced the wall. He snapped on some gloves, slid the waistband of my shorts down, and felt around for the tenderest spot on my hip. Nothing. He asked me to find the tenderest spot. Nothing. “Well, I’ll just pick a spot,” he said, and did, and it must have been the rightest, most tenderest spot, because when he inserted the needle the pain lifted me off the exam table. I think I levitated for five minutes before he withdrew the needle.

    “There,” he said. “That’s it. You should feel better immediately.” Anything would feel better than having a needle jabbed in your bursa. He pulled off the gloves. “Let me know how you’re doing in a couple of weeks,” he said.

    And thrust out his hand to shake.


  2. Superbugs: The Game is On!

    December 23, 2013 by Diane

    Pills, 10eps

    Superbugs appear to have super powers when it comes to antibiotic resistance. But there is a power more resistant to antibiotics than the lowly superbug.

    Human beings.

    Allow me to present Exhibit Number 1:

    A coworker showed up for work one morning in a grumpy mood. I asked, “How are you today?” and she shouted, “TERRIBLE!” She had a toothache so intense the pain radiated into her left eyeball.

    I suggested that she book an appointment with a dentist.

    “It’s the holidays,” she griped. “The dentists are all golfing.”

    So she marched across the street to see an acupuncturist.

    The acupuncturist looked at my coworker’s tongue and announced, “You’re stagnant. Stagnant!” She stuck needles in my coworker’s left ear; adhered tiny magnets to her ear lobe. “Press these when you feel pain,” the acupuncturist advised.

    So my coworker pressed them. And pressed them. She returned to work carrying a bag of Chinese herbs in one hand, and pressing her earlobe with the other. She spent twenty minutes pressing her earlobe, and then drove home to cook up the herbs.

    She needed antibiotics.

    Maybe a root canal.

    Instead, she chose to boil up and drink down a brew of herbs so foul, the odor alone would drive the infection from her tooth.

    Would a superbug survive such an experiment? Doubtful.

    Exhibit Number 2:

    Many years ago I was working a temp job, setting up a file system for a woman who had an infected growth on her neck. She had a fever. The growth, day by day, was getting progressively worse. This woman, a capable healer in her own right, telephoned a super-duper healer who told her to write certain phrases on a yellow legal pad and then beat herself on the back with it. Five feet away, filing documents, I pretended to be unaware that this woman was battering herself with a legal pad.

    She needed antibiotics.

    Perhaps a good lancing.

    Instead, she used the power of the legal pad to drive the poisons from her bloodstream.

    Antibiotics? Bah!

    The human mind has the capacity for resistance far superior to any bug. What do bugs have? A hocus-pocus evolutionary trick that transforms them into something super.

    From now on, if I ever develop a suspicious growth on my neck, I’m calling the exterminator to have it removed. If I acquire an abscessed tooth, I’m heading to the hardware store to get it fixed. I can resist antibiotics as well as any superbug.

    Game on!


  3. Bugged

    October 14, 2013 by Diane

    Vintage background with spider web

    If bugs were anything but bugs we wouldn’t be having this one-sided conversation. But bugs, being the bugs that they are, can drive a person buggy. And nothing drives this particular person buggier than bugs that bite.

    I endured three bites to the topmost, tender part of my right foot. Three in a row. A bug’s calling card.

    But the biting did not stop there. No, it had just begun.

    I acquired two more bites on the ankle of my right leg. My right leg is not remarkably different than my left, but apparently, in bugdom, it’s tastier.

    When the twosome had faded, and my leg was once again unblemished, I had an encounter with a yellow jacket…or rather the yellow jacket had an encounter with my right thigh. If I had not been wearing a particular pair of wide-legged pants, said yellow jacket would not have had clear and roomy access to my thigh. But it was summer, and it was warm, and the pants were of the circus tent variety, and the yellow jacket felt fit to fly up and buzz around and then bite me eight times on the outer side of my thigh.

    This was most painful.

    With great haste I beat it home, which is to say that I drove quickly, slapping at my thigh as if it was on fire. Upon reaching my destination I tore off those pants, and there, in no particular order, were eight bright welts.

    But the most humiliating bite of all, the one that caused the most pain and embarrassment, was the bite I endured on my bun.

    I was strolling down a busy sidewalk when I felt a sharp pinch in my pants. If you have ever endured a bite to your bun while strolling down a busy sidewalk, and the offending bug is still on the premises so to speak, well, the most natural response is to insert one’s hand into one’s panties and feel around for the little bugger, perhaps hopping up and down to dislodge it, and squealing for good measure. This is sure to attract a fair amount of attention.

    It it only fair to say that before all the biting began, I befriended the lowly bug. I slept beneath their webs. I barely blinked when they buzzed about my head. But when I see a bug now, it had better be dead…or it soon will be.

    It is a most interesting fact that when a living bug—a spider to be precise—is tossed into the toilet, it will engage in the doggy paddle for a good long while.

    There are some poor souls who find themselves in the unfortunate position of acting as a bug hotel. Yes my friend, we are discussing belly bugs. Parasites, as they are scientifically called. I refuse to ponder the possibility of harboring parasites. Bugs bug me, but parasites piss me off.

    And let us not forget the lowly bacteria. There is nothing buggier than bacteria.

    Yet each of these creatures—the bug, the parasite, the lowly bacteria—are merely trying to survive. They have a purpose in God’s infinite wisdom, if one believes in wisdom greater than one’s own, and said purpose is not to piss me off.

    My right leg is not the center of a bug’s world.

    But it sure as shootin’ bugs them.