Friday, July 16, 2010

On call

By no means am I grossed out about body stuff. I have three kids for god's sake and a nurse for a mother. If anyone got over their icky feelings about talking about poop or pee or exactly where a boo-boo was, its me. I can explain the intricate workings of a tampon or catch an eruption of puke in my shirt or bare hands. I am not embarrassed by the words "penis" or "vagina" (though the word "stool" gives me the willies for some reason). I knew what would happen to my body during puberty long before any of my friends had ever thought the word "period." Okay- so maybe that was part my nurse-mom being responsible and maybe it was partly that I had my first period at age 11 and started shaving my legs in the fifth grade (I am a hairy beast, what can I say? Unfortunately, I fear my daughter will be following in my footsteps...) The point of all of this? The point is that even with all of this comfort level I was sadly unprepared for the phone call I received a few days ago.

My best friend, Chloe, just had a baby. Well- it was like three months ago but that is "just" enough. He is a wonderous little thing, all floppy limbs and beautiful in that wise-to-the-world-soul-on-fire kind of way. She already has two kids (the youngest of that set being four years old) and we laugh a lot about how much she feels like she has forgotten in the last four years. She will worry about how much he is eating, or not eating, or peeing, or crying... or whatever. Maybe that's just the way it is with newborns, no matter how experienced of a mama you are. I don't really remember- within three and a half years I had three kids.  Those beginning days and months are safely locked in the part of my brain that protects me from trauma, I think.

So she worries. About everything. Even with her own body/psyche.

And she calls me.

Chloe: "Hey. The kids were exposed to Hand Foot and Mouth Disease at daycare. Is there a rash or something that you get on your butt?"
Me: (quickly looking up said disease online so that I may speak "intelligently" about it) "Yes! There is! Which child are we talking about here?"
Chloe: "Well, ummm..... its me....and I need someone to look at this...."
Me: "Its like midnight."

Yes- the thing that jumped into my head first was not that I was being asked to go look at my friend's ass, but rather that the ass-looking was to take place at such a late hour.

Chloe: "I know, but I need someone to see this! Its not really a rash, but more like a zit. But not a zit. But like a bump. But kinda not. I need you to come check."

Here's the real kicker.... I started considering it. If my friend was really in need, how could I not? And yet, on the other hand I was not really looking forward to the viewing.

Me: "Can't Martin check it out?" (My thought here being, as her boyfriend and father of the new little wonder in her life, he may be more, ahem, familiar with the area.)
Chloe: (in desperation) "He won't! And its like IN there!"

After a few more minutes of convesation with words like "crack" and "taint" and instructions like "pop it" and "call the doctor" and questions like "can I have your cute black shoes with the super high heels when you die of a butt boil?" we came to the conclusion that it was a hemorrhoid. That's right. I diagnosed a hemorrhoid. Over the phone.

Ahhh....the little extras we sometimes get with the birth of a child.

Ahhh....the things we will do for our friends.

I am available for consultation by phone to anyone else with odd questions. But only between midnight and three a.m.

And I still super want those shoes.


  1. hilarious post, sharon! being that i'm having a cesarean, i'm hoping that i will remain hemorrhoid free. but i have plenty of other weird pregnancy things going on you could check out if you're interested. hope all is well!

  2. I have had 2 C-Sections. I am thinking you should be good. Anyone who says pregnancy is beautiful either has a short memory or a good flair for the art of the lie!

  3. You are truly a good friend (and physician hobbyist). I look forward to hearing amusing stories from the pharmacy world . . . if it's ethical for you to repeat them!