Sunday, December 05, 2004

Genetic Mishap

This story goes out to Miss Mishap herself, who asked the question: What happened in 2001 to bring on the onslaught of nosebleeds? and she barely even flinched. I think Miss Mishap deserves an answer, don't you?
Let me start at the beginning.

I was born prematurely, upside down, and with jaundice.
Well, okay, I wasn't actually born upside down, but I tried to be. I was coming out feet-first, and apparently that's a faux-pas (obviously left out of my baby birthing handbook...if those handbooks are anything like the ones you get on airplanes, then no wonder it went right over my head). But anyway, the doctors had to give my poor mother a cesarean section to get me out. So I came out in a medical quandary and have somehow managed to stay there for 23 years now.

I'm not usually seriously sick, just annoyingly sick.
When I was a kid, I had every ear and throat infection known to humankind. Many of my childhood memories involve me lying on my mother's bed on my side, letting the drops slide down my ear hole. Fun, eh? But the fun doesn't stop there. The first time I went to Brownie camp, I looked at the beach the wrong way, and it gave me an infection. Being in another province at the time it was a huge hassle to get the meds that I needed. And it sucked up Brownie camp for me (why are infections embarrassing to 6 year olds?). After the age of 6, it was pretty much established that going to the beach was completely ruled out for me. And then followed the measures to be taken in my very own backyard pool. One birthday, probably my 8th or 9th, I was having a pool party, and while all my friends swam, I cried in my bedroom. I had to wear putty in my ears, and a bathing cap over top, and I was too embarrassed to leave my room.

Even more often than infections were the many bumps and bruises I sustained from being a kid. My husband was an only child; he has no scars. I had 3 sisters; I am covered with scars. Scars from biking on gravel roads, from being dragged downhill by my overzealous dog while rollerblading, from the time I believed I could skateboard, from being pushed while double-dutch skipping...Well, apparently after the first 10 litres worth of bloodshed, my mother was no longer impressed by the sight of my blood. When I cut my foot on the jagged metal edge of the pool my mother yelled "Don't bleed on the carpet!". When I came home with a good chunk of my knee missing, my mother yelled "You ruined your new green jeans!" (yes, I now feel ashamed for having owned coloured denim).

When I was 9 and couldn't breathe, my mother said the equivalent of "Buck up you pussy", and then felt badly when I was diagnosed with pneumonia and hospitalized for a week.
I don't even think she batted an eye when I missed 2 months of high school due to mono.
That's just me: I catch everything (except balls; god I hate balls). And usually I also throw in some funny illnesses just for good measure.
Like the nosebleed, for instance.

I originally blamed the government, and at least partly still do. That summer, I was working in the Center Block of the Parliament buildings, right under the Peace Tower. I worked in a smallish room that had an air conditioner that sucked the air dry but didn't do a damn thing to cool it off. Suffering from heat stroke as usual, I spent a good deal of my time throwing up in Parliament, but also a significant amount of time bleeding from the nose because of how dry the air was. But for whatever reason, my nose continued to bleed when not at work. And when it wasn't even bad air conditioning season anymore. It just kept going. And then one day I had the mother of all nosebleeds, where I ended up being rushed to the hospital. Turns out, I had a vitamin deficiency. So a series of painful shots later, my night blindness had improved, and my nosebleeds decreased in frequency but never really went away.

But the nosebleeds took a back seat a short while later, when I got shingles in my eye. You heard me right. Shingles in my eye. The whole right side of my face was swollen and sore. My eye was swollen shut, red, angry, sore, puffy, and disgusting. And this, of course, was just days before my wedding.

My mother made me a wedding eye patch, complete with googly eye, fake eyelashes, and lace trim. I grieved for the wedding pictures that would haunt me for the rest of my life. But the day before the wedding, it magically cleared up (and the reappeared the day after). A very, very high dose of medication finally got rid of it.

And now I'm in the middle of what I can only hope is the last chapter in the stupid-diseases-that-Jamie-gets book. It started a year ago now with what I called a sore tailbone. And then one day a sore opened up and I couldn't really ignore that. In the ER, the doctor immediately cut me open (not even pausing to put me to sleep, thank you very much) to alleviate me of the infection that had pooled in a tumor at the base of my spine. Another surgery soon followed ( a surgery called marsupialization...basically I can now carry my young in a pouch on my back. Okay, that's not true. Did you know that marsupials have 2 vaginas? So do hamsters and spiny anteaters and sharks {I do not}. I bet that was more information than you really needed to know). Then I went through months of at-home nurses (who are sadists, by the way), recuperation, and physical therapy. And now, at the one year anniversary, what do I have? Pain. Almost literally a pain in the ass (just a tad higher). And the doctor tells me another surgery will be in store. I'm hoping for something even cooler this time around, like maybe dolphinization. Dolphins are pretty cool. And I always dreamed of performing at Marine Land.
Anyhoo, that little synopsis didn't even include the blood clot/pimp syndrome that I entertain people with now. But I'm just about all typed out, so you can just call me Gimpy and we'll call it even.
Good night!


Wyrfu said...

I was the same, often ill as a child (although I don't know in which direction I was born - my mind gets hazy over details before the age of about 4). When the teenage years arrived, however, I decided that being sick was a waste of good anguish time and I have been (generally) healthy ever since. I admire the way you turn your infirmities to best advantage. Thanks again for a great read. Now go read your new comment to Hmmmm...

{illyria} said...

hi, jay. thanks for driving by my site. just have to say, i love the way you write. you'll make me die laughing.

well, not really. but maybe something close to that. =)

Jay said...

Well thank god transience. I took a first aid course, but I just flipped through the manual and just as I suspected: no info on what to do in case of dying of laughter. All I can really do is hook you up with a sling and tell you not to move your neck.
Don't move your neck!

arash said...

I'm glad to see that all of your illnesses have not hurt your talent of writing funny shit. Perhaps the meds you take actually contribute to it. Well either way, you are a strong person. And being the pimp you are, you will not give in. Use that strong pimp hand and bitch slap these illnesses.

peace out

gg said...

Thanks for the explanation. You know, they say that which does not kill you makes you stronger. Using that logic, you probably have superhuman powers by now ;).

Karass said...

Well, Nietzsche did say that what does not kill you makes you stronger, but he also went crazy and finally died of syphillis...

Anyway, your post is hilarious, (which I guess isn't much consolation that after going through 20 odd years of them, you get a random stranger like me to laugh. and laugh I did.)


Jay said...

Hey, I can think of worse things than syphillis! As long as it's not syphillis in the eye. Eye stuff sucks.

{illyria} said...

i agree. nothing as shitty as eye stuff.