27 January, 2011

return of the black death

if you are sitting there all snug and warm, thinking quietly to yourself how glad you are that my tales of health woes are over, i shall have to smack that cup of bourbon tea right out of your hand and tell you you are wrong. yes, wrong! after all that, there was more! and yea, verily i say unto you, it was entertaining!

over christmas i received not one, not two, but three phone calls from my doctor's receptionist, the last of which was a polite request for one more blood test. ok. no problem. what's one more blood test to me? nothing! HAH! i scoff at blood tests! i do blood tests for fun! why, some mornings i drain as much as 0.73 deciliters of blood before breakfast! just for the sheer joy of it!

as the nice lab tech started to tourniquet my arm, i thought, hey! let's ask what this one is about. boy, do i wish i hadn't.

lab tech (looking sheepish? nervous? suspicious? disgusted? underneath her professional veneer): um... it's for syphilis.

moi: ...

lab tech (awkwardly avoiding my eyes while trying to look both non-judgmental and supportive while syphoning blood from my diseased arm, which can't have been easy): ...

moi: WHY?!

lab tech (clearly grasping at straws): we... sometimes see dr. cheung order these... because... for different reasons (implied: you skanky whore*)

i left the lab and tried very hard not to panic, knowing i'd see my doctor in the next couple of days. what i did do, because i am a rational, calm human being, is give mr. monkey shit, just in case it was his little gift to me. being a loving, analytical, rational (i know, i know, i keep saying it) person, i lovingly told him that if i did indeed have syphilis, i would make sure he would pay for the rest of his natural life, which would not be long, if i had anything to say about it. he took it well (he actually is rational).

several days later, my doctor explained that it was one of the standard tests required by the infectious diseases specialist, but he'd forgotten to put it on the lab requisition. this was the guy who told me i was 100% ok, tb free,** officially off the medically most wanted lists, free to go forth and breathe on the world at large.

i haven't heard back from them, but it's been weeks, so i assume that not only am i tuberculosis free, i am also syphilis free, which, admit it, would look GREAT on a t-shirt! i think congratulations are in order.

i do not, nor have i ever had either tuberculosis or syphilis. that's the funny bit. i am not "better" because i was never ill; the whole adventure was ridiculous in the extreme for that very reason. 

*i never once got that from her, honest. she was perfectly nice about it which is pretty impressive, because, come ON! syphilis? does it get skankier than that? i think not.

** kinda ironic, no? here's a clean bill of health, you do not have tuberculosis, oh, but let's get you tested for syphilis, just for the pure unadulterated fun of it, ok?


Anonymous said...

And to think I actually touched you the other day. Good thing you're clean because I was starting to dream up reasons why I can't meet you for lunch on Monday. Like I have a meeting in Victoria ;-)

PS Worry not, I actually do have that meeting. Just pulling your leg. Cuz it's fun.

Mother Theresa said...

I think you should get that t-shirt made...and wear it to your next checkup. :D

the polish chick said...

i agree. too bad i'm not single, or it'd be a kick-ass first date t-shirt.

Barrett Bonden said...

This may start out sounding censorious, but have no fear.

All of us are massively tempted to blog about our illbeing because it's such a big deal. The castle we call our body is besieged and we can't wait to mobilise the cleft stick and get off a despatch "from the front". But is there a ready audience for this material? Brits, of whom I am one, rate illness as the Number Two no-no in conversation, Number One being the size of their pay-packet.

But everything should be grist to the blogging mill, it's just a question of picking or adapting. Exotic ailments grab the lapels (eg, liver flukes caught from swimming in the Nile) and quickly establish a inside track since the reader nods and simply tells himself "Stay out of Egypt." Minor ailments are OK but must be funny. No varicose vein, however nobbly, no verucca, however crippling, must ever be taken seriously.

But there's no mileage from going upmarket and catching tuberculosis because nervous blog-readers are convinced that the persistent bacilli can go walkies along the phone line and even leap the wi-fi link. Much better to caparison your suffering (and reinforce your literary credentials) by talking about an attack of the vapours. And, if you write bad verse, don't try gilding yourself via indirect allusions to Keats. You won't fool anyone. Everyone knows about Keats' handkerchiefs.

As someone on his 450th post and fast running out of legitimate topics I have done all this sort of stuff. But I tip my hat to a totally new ploy. I had never reckoned on the power generated by a single word. Even as I key in that word I detect a nervousness in my finger-tips: Is the concept itself infectious? Might Google exercise some worldwide filter and leave me with just eight asterisks? OK, here's the Sputnik Moment. Syphilis. There, I did it.

The context in your post didn't matter. Neither did the explanation. Just the word itself. You had my attention, which is what we're all trying for. But what will you do for an encore? The one beginning with g is much harder to spell.

the polish chick said...

hi barrett, welcome, welcome. and, just to clarify, i actually have had none of these ailments. therein lies the humour: to fill you in, what i have had is toxoplasmosis and nothing but toxoplasmosis, a relatively minor and boring infection that takes care of itself. it is what i have been tested for in the last several months that is fodder for my blog. i have never had tb, and i have never, to the best of my knowledge, have had syphilis. nor the one beginning with g.

as for the follow up? i hadn't thought that far. i don't tend to... except on sleepless nights.

Lucy said...

Ooh how wonderful. Syphilis is such a picturesque kind of malady, redolent as it is of pustules (gumma, I think they're called) and insanity and Henry VIII and his suppurating leg murdering his wives for the non-appearance of a male heir. Diseases aren't what they used to be. If you had it you could set up a syphilis blog and on-line support group.

Mind you, I went into a very posh chocolate shop, patisserie and salon de the in town the other day and on the counter was a collecting box 'for the lepers'. My brother, who is the chaplain of the Mission to Seafarers (we don't call it the Seamen's Mission any more because that sounds unfortunate and more like something to do with penetrating ova) had a leper come onshore a year or two back. I don't think it was as dramatic as it sounds though.

Alison Cross said...

It's all great fodder for the blog m'sweetie and yes, will look EXCELLENT on a t-shirt 'certified syphilis-free', perhaps with a little asterisk that relates to a tiny line on the back of hte t-shirt that says *this is a very old t-shirt.

Was actually a wee bit worried when I read your blog title because I thought you might be unwell. Glad to see you are full of rude health!!!

Ali x guisubtl

PS - Tertarus once, very thoughtfully, gave me chlamydia. That took SOME explaining on his part, let me tell you :-)

the polish chick said...

lucy, i have always liked to think of myself as "redolent of pustules and insanity" so that fits very well.

ali, did you kick his ass?

Alison Cross said...

Kick his ass? I divorced him :-)

the polish chick said...

ali, what? divorced him? wait...i thought you were still married to him. or is this a different tertarus?