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8 May 2003

It's amazing that someone as clumsy as I am has not had more serious accidents. I tend to walk into furniture, trip over rugs, and you don't want to be with me in one of those cutesy stores filled with breakable tsatskes. There is some comment about bulls and china shops which might be appropriate here.

But somehow I've avoided any self-inflicted major damage to my body.

The first oddball thing that I can remember happening to me didn't happen until I was in high school. I'd grown up in the 1950s, in the days before Jonas Salk developed his polio vaccine. I had a wonderful streak of hypochondria and after seeing a movie based on the tear-jerker TV program, "Queen for a Day," where one of the "queens" was crowned and given assistance to help her care for her polio-stricken child, who was living life in an iron lung, I was convinced I would contract polio. I had night terrors about polio and would often wake screaming, convinced that I was moments away from an iron lung.

Needless to say, I did not contract polio and lived an incident-free life until one summer when I was visiting with my cousin, who lived in the outskirts of Sacramento, what is now a bustling metropolis, but what was then a town so small if you blinked you missed it. Over the fence in her back yard was a field where horses grazed. This was country.

One night I woke up and my hand was swollen to twice its normal size. Naturally I panicked and couldn't understand why anybody else wasn't concerned about my poor swollen hand. My aunt, a nurse, explained it was just a spider bite. I'd never heard of biting spiders before and I did not, after all, lose my hand--but I still remember the terror of that long night of the spider.

I managed to make it to adulthood without breaking a single bone. I suspect that was due more to inactivity than luck (and definitely not to graceful coordination!). But in the early years of our marriage, we used to buy our beef by the side from a marvelous, now defunct, butcher in San Francisco and bought a big upright freezer to store it in. David was a baby at the time and I went to the freezer to get meat for dinner, and in the process knocked a frozen roast off of the shelf and onto my toe. I literally saw stars.

We were babysitting for the son of an orthopedist at the time.  When Dad came to pick up son, I told him of my accident.  He glanced at the foot and said "yep--looks like you broke it," as he went down the stairs. So there I was --my first broken bone. Broken by a frozen roast beef.

It wasn't too many years later, by which time we could no longer afford beef and led a simpler life, when I dropped a container of frozen beans on another toe, breaking it.

I've pretty much stopped buying food in bulk or making things to be frozen for use at a later date, and my feet have been happy ever since.

I have a lower leg which is permanently discolored. Now there was a real incident worthy of the klutz that I am. We were in New York at the time, walking through Greenwich Village. I was deep in conversation with our guide and didn't see a huge concrete post and walked smack into it at full speed. I didn't break anything, but the leg was painful for weeks and became quite discolored. Normally, I would have gone to see a doctor as soon as we returned, but it was only a few hours after that accident when we received the call telling us that David had been in an accident and wasn't expected to live. Somehow in all the busy work involved with the funeral and the grief, it just never occurred to me to see a doctor. By the time I cared enough to think about it, the pain had long since passed and only the discoloration remained.

I've asked several doctors about it. The first was my PCP, for whom I also worked, who said, very wisely "Ouch--that looks painful." That was the professional diagnosis, I guess. A nurse told me it looked like cellulitis, but nobody ever suggested a treatment, so I just let it go and now it always looks like it's a burn in the process of recuperation.  (In some ways, it's a reminder of David.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad.)

I also developed a ganglion cyst on my hand, which I had for several years. Ugly thing. Big ol' lump on the back of your hand. To a person, everyone -- professional or non-professional -- told me that the cure for it was to smash a Bible on it. I've always wondered what was so special about a Bible. Nobody ever suggested "a thick book." It was always a Bible. I guess that "War and Peace" didn't quite have the heft of the Good Book.

I mention all this because when I was in Boise, I discovered a lump on my wrist. It was small, but hard and painful. Fortunately, I have gotten past my hypochondriac years and so didn't immediately begin pricing voice activation software in case my hand had to be amputated, but I did wonder how I'd managed to develop this lump.

The only thing I can figure is that one of them Boise critters must have bit me because in the last two days it has become quite colorful. Half my hand is a lovely shade of purple or red or a combination of both. I guess it's not serious. When I started to make some mention of it to Dr. G, he just brushed me off with a "yeah, I noticed," as he handed me the next batch of typing to be done.

I guess as long as it doesn't affect my typing speed it can't be all that serious.

FEEDBACK:  Incidentally, I've had wonderfully supportive, loving, and helpful comments in my guest book, on my notify list, and in personal e-mail cheering for me to conquer this overwork/stress thing and get back on track with healthy living.   I so very much appreciate all of you who have written!  Keep reading--It's got to get better!

Quote of the Day

I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn't itch.

~ Gilda Radner

Today's Photo

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One Year Ago
My Day in Numbers
(How do we cope without numbers?)

Two Years Ago
Oh to be in England
(...we entry)

Three Years Ago
Crawling Home
(End of the"Pinata People" weekend)

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Pounds Lost:  67.6
(this figure is approximate)

On the Odometer

Blue Angel Total 928.6
2003 YTD Cumulative:  430.2

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