Tag Archives: health

What’s This: Round Two

I had an OB/GYN appointment the week after I posted that blog about my weird undercarriage. I wasn’t planning on asking my doctor what’s the deal with my pachink, but curiosity got the better of me. After my doctor smeared my pap—aka stuck a double-sided shoehorn in my cervix and scraped it with a chimney brush—I gently broached the subject.

Me: Hey, um, so… I’ve got a weird question.

Doctor, stepping out of her HAZMAT suit: Cool, I like weird stuff. ‘Tis why I spend all day checking in on strangers’ downstairs. What’s up?

Me: When I finished pushing my baby human out last year, the doctors said something about my… flaps? They was like, “What’s that? IDK but I was gonna snip it off lol.” Any idea what they were talking about?

Doctor: Hmm.

Me: Yes, hmm! That’s effed, right?

Doctor: Pretty effed. Maybe it was *some medical term I don’t remember.* If I’d been there, I probably would’ve pulled that out with a pair of forceps.

Me: OK thank you for that information SEE YA LATER BYE.

That’s actually what my doctor said: that she didn’t know either, but it was probably some indecipherable medical term, and then that she would have “pulled it out with forceps.”

This seemed absurd to me. That a doctor might nonchalantly pluck an extra bodily appendage off a ho with a set of forceps. I asked my mom if it seemed absurd to her too. She hemmed and hawed for a minute, then told me that her doctor once found an extra pachinkal part on her too.

“Oh yeah,” says my mom. “After I gave birth to one o’ y’all, my doctor mentioned some dangling hangle or another. She said I could ‘tease it out’ later on. So that’s what I ended up doing. Not that hard.”


I’m so sorry for the overabundance of passion and punctuation but holy shit, why did I not learn about this in health class? I know all about gonorrhea and, like, wet dreams (gross) but ain’t no one ever told me that at some point during my life I’ll probably grow a couple extra haginas.

Who knew!

A tragic tale of self-employment

I started working for myself this past March. Despite the abysmal pay and lack of traditional employer benefits, it’s the flyest gig ever. I may not get health insurance or paid vacation days, but my boss sure is understanding. She’s like Ja Rule’s dream girl, a certified down ass bitch. Because she’s myself, and I treat me like my number one.

I am at once the best employer and best employee that ever existed. The synergy between me and myself is outrageous. We are so, so synergetic. That means we’ve synchronized our energies. (We’ve also synchronized our cycles—a convenient side effect of being the same lady.)

For instance, let’s say I want to take a long lunch break. Maybe I want to go on a half-hour bike ride to the rock gym, climb a while, go to Wendy’s for a baked potato and a frosty, and bike the half hour back to the office. My boss is 100% cool with it, because she also wants me to spend the majority of the workday playing and eating.

Or perhaps I want to take a little rest on the office couch and cruise Craigslist for kayaks and kittens—two things I have no intention of actually buying.* My boss encourages it! She too enjoys perusing the catalog of kayaks and kittens available along the Eastern seaboard.

Our company is the best employer in the country. Dogs are allowed, pajama casual dress is worn, and snack breaks are mandated every seven minutes.


All right, that’s enough. You get it. I LIKE WORKING FOR MESELF.

I gots a little office in the downstairs of the Weight Watchers center where my mom works. It’s huge and cement and empty, but my space is cordoned off with a bunch of hanged-up sheer curtains. It’s kind of like being inside of a shower all the time. I have a couch and a mini-fridge and a desk Curtis bought me for Christmas where I do freelance work.

I don’t have any coworkers—a sad reality of working for yourself, since coworkers are good—but I at least have my mom upstairs. She’s even better than a coworker because she grew me and gave birth to me and is thus required to love me unconditionally and sometimes buy me lunch and drive me to work.

If I walk outside through my downstairs exit, my mom’s office windows are right above mine. Now that the weather’s nice, I’ll sometimes go outside to peel oranges. If I feel like having a chat, all I have to do is chuck a couple of orange peels at my mom’s window and wait for her to open up. She gets pissed but only because she thinks it’s a bird flying into the glass. And boy, nothing gets my mom madder than a bird’s death. That’s one of my most vivid memories as a child—my mom losing it whenever a bird flew into her car’s windshield.


She likes birds.

Anyway, two weeks ago I went outside and felt like having a chat. I didn’t have any orange peels but I needed something to throw at my mom’s window. They always use pebbles in the movies but that seems dangerous. The only thing my mom hates worse than an innocent bird’s death is the prospect of getting showered with shards of broken glass because a rock smashed through her office window. So in lieu of rocks, I decided to throw pieces of mulch.

This may be news to you, as it was to me, but individual pieces of mulch are hella hard to throw. It’s almost impossible. They’re not at all aerodynamic and they don’t have enough heft for heaving purposes. They suck. It’s like trying to throw, I don’t know, a single corn husk. A wadded piece of dry toilet paper. The top to a tube of chapstick. Anything light and stupid, you name it.

So I threw pieces of mulch at her window and none of them would reach. They’d get really close but they’d never quite make it. I could have given up—could have walked 100 feet and just gone to her office, or I could have called or texted or emailed her—but I didn’t want to. I wanted to throw a piece of goddamn mulch at her window and have a chat.


I tried a million different ways. Overhand, underhand, super forceful, less forceful (in case the force was too much and was actually slowing down the mulch’s velocity—logic that makes no sense to anyone except me). I tried curving it left, curving it right. It’d come within inches of her window but would never reach. (Know that this was all done in sight of many, many motorists—the Weight Watchers building is on the corner of a busy intersection.)

After four minutes of trying every mulch-throwing technique I could think of, I still wasn’t ready to give up. I picked up a new piece of mulch and gave it my most powerful hurl yet. So powerful I probably would have thrown out my shoulder had I not instead violently twisted my ankle and crashed to the ground in a cloud of dirt and mulch.

I sprained my ankle and, worst of all, the mulch didn’t even make it to the window.

There are two lessons to be learned from this:

  1. If you want to get a person’s attention by throwing something at their window, DO NOT USE MULCH. It simply don’t work. Go for orange peels or, if you’re brave, a pebble. An apple core or banana would likely work too.
  2. If I ever offer you a job, do not take it. I am a stupid boss.

P.S. My mom did hear pieces of mulch hitting below the window, I’ve just desensitized her to it. I consider this my most shameful accomplishment.

P.P.S. I went outside to get a picture of the mulch for this post and couldn’t resist throwing a piece at the window again. I got it on the first try.

*I did buy a kayak. I couldn’t help myself, and I don’t even like kayaking that much.



The Russian Bathhouse

It’s been almost two years.

It’s been almost two years, and I think I’m finally ready to talk about it. About the time I went to a Russian bathhouse.

A Russian bathhouse—or banya—according to Wikipedia, can refer to a number of types of steam baths popular in Eastern Europe. A Russian bathhouse, according to me, is an underground swamp hell, built of germs and hair and sweat where overweight Russian men glisten and beat patrons with branches.

In 2014, I went to one for my cousin’s birthday.

This cousin’s name is Caitlin. If there ever existed an objective list of the world’s most fun, pleasant people, Caitlin would be at the top. So, two years ago, when I found out she’d be celebrating her birfday in New York City (she lived in Puerto Rico at the time), I traveled down to meet up with her and join in on the festivities.

The festivities were fly. Caitlin, her friends, and I ate hamburgers on English muffins and drank drinks with alcohol and I think even danced dances, maybe. The next morning we ate bagels and peanuts and more hamburgers. By Sunday afternoon, we were engorged with meat and booze—and while the process to get there had been fun, we felt and smelt like beefy alcoholics.

Caitlin decided a trip to the Russian Turkish baths in Manhattan would reverse our feelings of beefish alcoholism. She told me that when she still lived in New York, she and her friend Nikki would go there all the time. It was really hot and intense, Caitlin said, but wonderful and rejuvenating.

“Well, I despise heat and intensity,” I said. “But don’t I love wonder and rejuvenation. Plus, I trust your judgment. I’m horrified by the sounds of this, but I will join you.”

“Word!” said Caitlin. “We’ll just have to buy some bathing suits first. I think today’s a non-naked day.”

If you’re ever invited somewhere, and you’re told it’s a “non-naked day,” I suggest you shout NAH THANKS PLAYA and turn the eff around. If a place a business has naked days and non-naked days, I promise it’s not the type of establishment you want to mess with. That’s important advice I did not learn until after I went to the Russian bathhouse.

We bought bathing suits at a department store in Brooklyn called Bobby’s. No disrespect to Bobby’s, but their bathing suit selection is … straight covered in pudding. For real—the day we went, every bathing suit available at Bobby’s had been manhandled by grimy pudding fingers. I bet you’re thinking, Pudding? Why do Bobby’s customers got such pudding hands?

Here’s a secret just between you and me, homie: Bobby’s customers probably don’t have pudding hands—they probably have poop or blood hands. But we told ourselves it was pudding because Caitlin’s friend Nikki was already waiting for us at the bathhouse, and the train was coming, and we needed bathing suits—poop, blood, and pudding be damned. I chose a shiny blue bathing suit and Caitlin chose a pretty teal one, neither of which we tried on, for $3.99 each. Then we went to the bathhouse.

When we got there, several men with round, gleaming stomachs greeted us. They were all half naked, sitting at tables, eating pork and mashed potatoes.

“Hey,” I whispered to Caitlin. “What’s going on with all this pork? Where are the garments for these men? THIS ALL SEEMS VERY STRANGE TO ME.”

“Come on, there’s Nikki. Let’s get our locker keys,” said Caitlin.

We got our keys and then went into the locker room, which was located directly off the pork café and had only the flimsiest of saloon-style doors.

“I like how these doors swing so freely,” I thought. “A very nice quality for locker room doors.” (My thoughts were hella sarcastic that day.)

We changed. Since it was towards the end of winter, I hadn’t seen myself in a bikini in a while—and I’d never seen myself in a bikini quite as sleazy as the one I got from Bobby’s. There was an alarming amount of pale flesh and dark hair (and I’m on the blonde spectrum, fam!). It was as if someone had dropped an industrial-sized batch of white bread dough on a dog groomer’s floor, picked it up, and then stuffed it into a glimmering string bikini.

“Yo, peep this,” I said to Caitlin, turning toward her. “I look like someone dropped an industrial-sized batch of—WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?!”

“I …” said Caitlin. “Something’s gone astray.”

Nothing had gone astray with Caitlin—something had gone astray with her bathing suit. It was tiny. So crazy tiny. Child’s size small tiny. Which makes sense, because that’s the size bikini she’d purchased, child’s size small. It covered about 1/50th of her body, but that didn’t matter. She still had to wear it. And wear it she did! Right down into the depths of the bathhouse.

Imagine, right now, that you are sitting in a room. That room is made of stone blocks and is 130 degrees and has at least an inch of water on the floor. You’re wearing a dirty, undersized bathing suit, likely with someone else’s poop or blood or pudding on it. There are 25 other people in the room with you, some of them touching you, most of them grunting or moaning, all of them sweating like old men eating plates of pork and mashed potatoes. Scummy soap bubbles build up around your feet, and a couple branches float by. You find a long strand of hair between your fingers, from a different color spectrum than your own, fam. Two men start shouting at you in Russian.

That’s a bathhouse.

If you want to make it extra terrible, like Caitlin did, you can purchase a platza treatment. Doing so will get you 20 minutes of being violently attacked with branches and contorted in unnatural positions by a burly Russian man. She loved it; I did not. I did not even like watching it. I felt like the worst Samaritan of all time, standing there not doing anything while my cousin got the shit beaten out of her on her birthday.

After an hour and a half—an hour and a half of simmering in the sweat of strangers in a literal cesspool—we left. On the way out, the man who had whipped Caitlin with branches gave her a hug and promised the next visit would be on the house. I told you, she is objectively the world’s most fun, enjoyable person.

On the drive home back to Maine, I had the driver’s side window cracked. It was precipitating a wintry mix that day, and a plow truck in the southbound lane sprayed some slush across the median and it hit me right in the face. It was amazing actually, how fully it got me. A straight up white wash.

For scale: The experience of having a pound of gritty slush smack me in the face while driving on the highway was at least 16 times better than going to a Russian bathhouse.

All right, did it. I told my story, and now I will never speak of it again. (Unless you want to go, in which case I’m in.)


WebCG: Sprained Nickelboob

Welcome to WebCG, the classygallie.com version of WebMD. WebCG provides valuable health information. Note: Just kidding. Nothing you’ll find here is at all valuable. I’m not a doctor and I don’t know your business, so do not believe anything you read here and certainly do not take it as legitimate medical advice.

Sprained nickelboob
Sprained nickelboob is a slightly uncomfortable condition of the human nickelboob. The nickelboob is that triangle-shaped, nickel-like indentation centered smack dab between the boobs. Also known as the xiphoid or xiphoid process, it’s where your ribs connect to your sternum. If you twist or reach the wrong way, it can get tore up. If it does, it hurts a little bit. Not enough to totally wreck your day, but enough to make you want to complain about it.

In some circles, sprained nickelboob is also known as costochondritis. Those circles are typically hella nerdy, the kind doctors run in.


I call this “human nickelboob.” Others call it “Xiphoid process frontal” by Anatomography – Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.1 jp

Moving in a funny way that your body doesn’t like. It could be just one funny movement or a lifetime of funny movements. I guess you could get it if you have a cold and you’re coughing like crazy. Or you could get it if you’re way too hard on your nickelboob in general. There are probably lots of causes. I don’t know like I said I’m not a doctor.

Painful nickelboob, especially when you move funny or someone pushes down on it really hard (a doctor, for instance). I recently sprained my own nickelboob and goddamn did a doctor push the crap out of it.

When to seek medical care
Here’s the deal: If it’s really just a sprained nickelboob/costochondritis, a doctor’s visit is probably overkill. You’ll be told to apply ice and heat to it and to take over-the-counter pain medication to reduce discomfort. It’ll probably heal pretty quick and you’ll be back to pain-free nickelboobing.

That said, a hurty chest is a symptom of a lot of scary health conditions and it’s best to know whether or not you’ve got any of them. A doctor will check all your vitals to make sure business is in good working order. They’ll want to make sure that you’re breathing fine and that your legs aren’t swollen, numb, or otherwise acting kookily. They’ll also want to make sure you’re not feeling nauseated or feverish. They’ll take care of you. It’s never a bad idea to have a doctor check a hurty chest.

Time. Time heals all nickelboobs.

Becoming the office weirdo

When I started my new job, I made a real concerted effort to not be the office weirdo. Truly, I consciously decided to not do things that normal, polite people also do not do. I didn’t want to beg for food, or drop down and do push-ups whenever I got a free minute, or tell people when I go poop. I wanted to keep my head down, do my work, and get my paycheck.

I’ve been doing well. During the day I eat only my own lunch and my own snacks and my own $900 worth of hardboiled eggs and Raisinettes from the cafeteria. I’ve only ever tried doing one push-up—but it was on my standup desk and when it almost toppled over, it reinforced my vow to not do that type o shit. I poop four times a day and—while everyone must suspect something’s up, especially when I leave immediately after stinking up our 10-foot shared workspace with, u kno, a cloud of diarrhea air—I’ve yet to tell a single person about my bathroom schedule.

I’m normal now. I’m courteous and hygienic from the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. From 4 p.m. to 8 a.m., though, I remain a goddamned monster. And unfortunately, sometimes there’s overlap between hours.

I don’t clean my water bottle that much. It only ever has water in it—and since water is what I’d use to clean it—I figure it’s pretty much a wash. I do notice that it sometimes/always has a rusty film on the inside. To counter that, I bought a darker colored Nalgene. Problem solved, son. It’s still hella scummy, but peoples can’t tell. Bugs can, though. Bugs can tell very well.

This past Monday, I got to my job around 8:15 in the morning. I sat down at my desk, pulled my water bottle out of my backpack, and took a pull of sweet, scummy H2O. I set down the bottle, leaving the cap unscrewed, and logged onto my computer. Then I picked up the bottle to take another sip, and that’s when I saw it. A little ringworm-looking-ass-bug* coiled on the inside of my water bottle cap.

Kind of looks like I'm balancing a severed finger tip

Kind of looks like I’m balancing a severed fingertip on my thumb, doesn’t it?

I gagged. Bugs don’t normally gross me out, but this bug was way up in my personal space. Plus, DUDE WAS A WORM!!!! WORMS THE TYPE OF MOFOS THAT KILL BITCHES!!!! WHAT IF I’D ALREADY SWALLOWED ALL OF HIS BRETHREN?!?! I plucked him off the bottle to get a better look. He looked dead as hell, so I left him on my pointer finger while I quickly Googled:

water worms
those worms that eat your stomach
those worms that kill bitches

I thought I was onto something with that last search when I looked at my finger and the homeboy Wormy was fully unfurled. I muffled a scream in the middle of my silent, open office. I didn’t know what this worm was capable of. He could have burrowed into a hangnail crevice and eaten my bones before I even had time to flick him off.

I couldn’t flick him off, though, because what if he was a real bad bug and I did eat some of his family members? I’d need to know what type of evil I was fuxxin wit. Or what if he was a perfectly decent bug, minding his own business, and I was going to flick him into oblivion, effectively murdering a nice ass worm in cold blood? My solution was to run to kitchen and grab a paper towel. That way we could both chill safely while I Googled whether or not my stomach was going to get eaten from the inside out.

On my way to the kitchen, I walked past my boss on her way in. She asked me how I was, I said a shaky “I’m aiight,” and then ran to the sink. I got Wormy into a paper towel and brought him back to my desk. My boss was looking at me real confused like and said, “You look like you bout to cry.”

“Yeah gurl, look at this. YOU SEEN THIS? I had a worm in my water bottle, peep it.”

“Oh, shit.” (She didn’t really swear, but she might as well have.) “I would die. You got to take that to the doctor. First let’s take some video real quick.”

The doctor! I’ve only been at my job for a few months and had forgotten that we have a free walk-in clinic onsite. My boss and I took a few videos and then I folded up the paper towel and brought it down to the clinic. I walked through the doors, saw two receptionists sitting behind a counter, and slapped the paper towel in front of them.

“Hi, nice to meet y’all. Um, I found a worm in my water bottle. Here it is.” One of the receptionists gasped. A third lady, who I think was a nurse, appeared. “I don’t really clean my water bottle that much… but, you know, sometimes I do. I’m afraid I swallowed this worm’s people. I’m tryna find out if that’s a problem or … just a bit of extra protein in my system.”

The receptionist who didn’t gasp unfolded the paper towel to examine it.

“This isn’t a worm,” she said. “See, this bug’s got antenna plus all types of little legs. It’s a centipede, I think. A centipede-like bug.”

I exhaled. “Word? I saw those antenna, totally forgot worms don’t have those things. Same goes for the legs. I dumb. You think I’m OK then?”

The nurse answered. “Well, let’s put him in a specimen jar so we can show David, then we can tell you for sure.” I don’t know who David is, but I assume he’s an entomologist they’re cool with. The receptionist grabbed a specimen cup.

“Come here, little buddy.” She struggled a few seconds to get him in the cup, then said, “Uh-oh. I lost him.” She dropped him on the desk or the floor or down her sleeve, we never found out. He was gone.

“Well,” the nurse said. “You’re probably fine, but let us know if you have any abdominal issues. Cramping, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, anything like that.”

I said I would, thanked her, and returned to my desk.

Once again, I am the office weirdo. I’ve now been ordered, by a medical professional, to tell people about my poop.

*I know ringworm isn’t actually a worm.**

**At least I know that now.

I thought I had Alzheimer’s Disease

My friend Dori got married a couple weeks ago. I’m not one to use phrases like “beautiful ceremony,” but it was a beautiful ceremony. Dori looked like a beaming beach dream, and so did her groom, and so did everyone there. The sun set and the blue moon rose, and we drank and danced and celebrated yung luv. It was wonderful.

You never would have known, not even an hour before that beautiful ceremony, I was crying. It happened while I was applying makeup, in front of my mom and Curtis.

See if you can guess what made me cry.

A. The wonder of yung luv.
B. The looks of pride/joy on Dori’s parents’ faces.
C. My mom disowned me and Curtis dumped me, simultaneously.
D. I thought I had Alzheimer’s.
E. I picked the wart on my nose and it hurt a lot.

If you chose D, congratulations! You’re clearly very bright/good at picking up on context clues (like the title of this post). If you chose B or E, you get partial credit. Parental pride/joy on wedding days and nose warts also make me cry.

Why did I think I had Alzheimer’s?

As I got ready for Dori’s beautiful ceremony, my mom, Curtis, and I started talking about the time my dog pooped in front of the trainer at obedience school. Excuse me—the two times he pooped in front of the trainer at obedience school. We talk about this more often than we should, and as a result, I have a fairly good grasp of how it went down. Also I was present for both occasions so, again, I grasp it fairly good.

The first time, Dizzy sneakily pooped next to a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy. I blamed it on the puppy. The second time, Dizzy pooped in the middle of the floor, in front of everyone, even though I’d stayed outside in the cold for 20 minutes before class trying to get him to go. For both poopcidents, I remember feeling ashamed and lonely. Ashamed because my dog’s a goddamn poop bandit sociopath, lonely because I was in dog school by myself and had no friends nor family to commiserate with.

Except, while putting on makeup for Dori’s wedding, I learned I wasn’t alone. My mom claimed she was also there when Dizzy pooped in class. 

Jackée, courtesy of essence.com.


“No way, Jackée. You never came to dog class with me.”

“Yes I did,” said my mom.

“I remember that. That she went,” said Curtis.

“Y’ALL TRIFLIN. If you was there, tell me about it. Where’d it happen?”

“In that room!” my mom said. “That big room, with walls. See. I remember it exactly.”

“HA! You just described every big room in America, YOU FOOL! Are you having another Janet Jackson moment?” 

My mom chuckled and shook her head. The chuckle and head-shake of someone who knows she’s right. “No, Allie. I really went with you. I saw my old horse friends, remember?”

“I don’t remember. You lying, you wrong. Momma, I love you, but you losing it. Go ahead, name a dog that was there.”

“That Bernese Mountain Dog! The puppy!”

That’s when I welled up. Your girl started crying real instantaneous-like. My mom proved it—she did go to class with me, and I didn’t remember. I decided then that I had Alzheimer’s.

I know, that’s terrible and kind of self-indulgent, and also annoying and ridiculous. I’m 26 and I forgot one thing—that doesn’t mean I have Alzheimer’s. But it wasn’t the only thing I’d forgotten. A couple weeks before the wedding, I’d also found a T-shirt in my bed and I didn’t know how it got there.

It was far more mysterious than it sounds, I promise. I had slept in the bed all night and the T-shirt wasn’t there, and it wasn’t there when I woke up, but it was there after I showered and went back to my room to change. And, beyond its mysterious appearance, I had a very clear memory of seeing it—and leaving it—in my dresser the day before.

So, there was dog training class and the T-shirt—two checks for Alzheimer’s. Plus, my paternal grandmother had Alzheimer’s and my maternal grandmother had dementia. I’m not entirely sure how genetics work, but I know it has something to do with getting what your momma (and poppa, and their mommas and poppas) give you.

My grandmothers were in their 80s when they were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia, but young people can get it, too. Anne Hathaway had early on-set Alzheimers in Love and Other Drugs, remember? You probably do remember, because you don’t have Alzheimer’s.*

Fortunately, it turns out I don’t have Alzheimer’s either. One of Dori’s other bridesmaids is a physician’s assistant—I asked her if I had Alzheimer’s, and she said no, so now I don’t have it. Also, my mom admitted that, while she did come to dog class with me once (and I can kind of remember it), she wasn’t present for Dizzy’s poopcidents. I’m also happy to report that nothing mysterious has shown up in my bed lately—just some some dog doo on my sheets yesterday morning, but that was from the poop stuck on the fur around Dizzy’s B-hole. MOM I KNOW YOU WASN’T THERE FOR THAT. I HAD TO DEAL WITH THAT SHIT ON MY OWN.

*I really hope you don’t have Alzheimer’s, and I hope one day soon that no one has Alzheimer’s. If you hope that too, and you feel like donating to the Alzheimer’s Association, you can do that here.

How Janet Jackson made me cry

My mom and I look alike. Though I have a moonier face, we’re basically twins born 35 years apart. We have nibbly knobs for chins, flapping lobes for ears, and huge gums for teeth.

Save for a dog-food-induced popped lung or two, we have identical health records, too. We both suffer from cold sores, occasional bouts of granuloma annulare, and an inability to be ashamed of our poop. As a self-diagnosed hypochondriac, it’s helpful to have my mom as a personal blueprint for my own health. Always looking for what disease I’ll inherit next, I have made a practice of surveying my trick mother. In 2009, whilst surveying my trick mother, I found a suspicious red welt on her forehead.

My dad had had a similar growth on his shoulder a few years prior, and it had turned out to be basal cell carcinoma — a benign type of skin cancer. Benign or benot, cancers is scary. As soon as I noticed the welt on my mom, I asked her to go to the skin doctor to get it checked out. After three years of my nagging, she finally did this past May.

It was basal cell carcinoma. Lady had to go and get her head all chopped up.

Battered mother

Battered chicken

As upsetting as it was to learn my mom had skin cancer, it wasn’t the most upset I’ve ever been by her health. When I was 12 and my sister Beanie was 14, my mom’s health upsat us so badly it changed our lives.

Me: Mom, you’re my favorite mommy. Want to do fun mother-daughter bull, like read gossip magazines?

Beanie: Me too! Me too!

Mom: Of course, sweet children. I love reading celebrity tabloids. Pass me one!

Me: Here! I know how much you love the VH1 movie about her family. You even named our cats after her brothers. Take this one!

Mom: Huh? Wha? Hibbidy jibbidy, who dat be?

(My sister and I break out into immediate, violent sobs. Our mom doesn’t recognize Janet Jackson.)

Me: Ooohhhh laaaaaaaaawwwwddd.

Beanie: What… does… this… mean?


Mom: C’mon! Everyone knows who that is. It’s that… guy. Who’s dating the… umm… the girl. Ya’ll know.

(Beanie and I cry even harder. She doesn’t know who Justin Timberlake is and can’t remember Britney Spears.)

About 30 minutes later, while my sister and I were still mourning the abrupt loss of our mother’s sanity, my mammy got knocked out by a massive migraine. Apparently her vision/mind had been funked up from the impending headache. That’s why, in addition to begging my mom to visit the dermatologist, Beanie and I quiz her on Janet’s face at least once a month.

…The health I have to look forward to!

Name that Jackson

Let’s hope this is the last one

For the second time in less than 30 days, I went to the walk-in clinic to get my funked up skin checked out. Doctor impostor Lloyd wasn’t there, so I met with Dr. Jerry instead. The visit wasn’t great.

Three things you should know. 1) That face grease is Shea butter 2) That rash is gross 3) That bottom lip is MY TONGUE! GOTCHA!

To begin with, there was a really long wait. When I first saw the packed waiting room, though, I wasn’t upset. I’d brought Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — my favorite of the series — and I was eager to finish the 100 pages or so I had left. I found a chair in the corner, pulled the book out of my way-too-small purse, and got to reading.

Well, I don’t want to ruin it if you haven’t read/watched the 4th Harry Potter, so I’ll just say that the ending’s sad. Really sad.

Sad enough that, even though it’s probably my 5th time reading it, I started bawling like a baby. (Amos running to his son’s body gets me every time. You a monster if you can’t say the same!)

Silently crying in a crowded waiting room while reading a children’s book is kind of uncomfortable, but at least Dr. Jerry called me into his office right when the tears were streaming hardest!

Dr. Jerry: What we have here?

Me: Bumps and tha bidnass. I think the elbows and big toes have granuloma annulare. And my hands — maybe dyshidrotic eczema? I’m a bit of a WebMD whiz, nah mean?

DJ: No.

Me: Yeah, yeah didn’t think so. Celiac disease?

DJ: Have any stomach pain? Diarrhea? Weight loss?

Me: I fart a lot. Shart, occasionally.

DJ: Happens.

Me: Mmm. Leprosy?

DJ: Oh my. Please shut your mouth. Use steroid cream, see a dermatologist if it doesn’t get better. But never come back here because I HATE YOU. LOL though.

Me: Right you are.

Dr. Jerry was right, kind of. But so was I!

The steroid cream helped a little bit, but not enough that I didn’t still need to see a dermatologist. I went to see Dr. Dermatologist a few days later; she took one look at my funk, told me I did in fact have granuloma annulare and dyshidrotic eczema, and suggested I keep using the steroid cream. Then she told me my elbows and toes looked really muscular. And then she told me my teary eyes made me look like an asshole.

The beginning of the 5th Harry Potter book is also really sad, okay?

Funged up

A couple of weeks ago I claimed that clams ruined my life.

I lied! They didn’t ruin my life, they just funked it up real good. Funged it up, actually.

Ever since my weekend of clamming, my skin’s been acting a fool. It started with chigger bites and its accompanying lady lymph infection, and now it’s spreading all over my body. I’m currently nursing 30-40 clear warts on my hands, a couple of itchtastic welts on my big toes, and some seriously fungusy-looking rings on my elbows. They’re itchy, they’re fungly, they’re scary, and even though they’re beautifully symmetric, they’re the dirtiest bastards I’ve ever met. They make cold sores look like cankers, for goodness’ sake!

I hate you, rash

I have no idea what’s wrong with me, so I’ve been asking everyone I know what they think it could be. I’ve consulted my family, my friends, Dr. Lloyd (who turned out to be an assistant to a ultrasound technician or something), Google, a pharmacist with neat ears, and a lady in scrubs in the card aisle at Target.

Now it’s your turn. What you think this ish be? Ringworm? Celiac disease? (I was going to write leprosy, but the thought scares me too much).