Over the past two weeks, I’ve learned A LOT about a rare medical condition that’s changed my life in so many ways. And I want to share that knowledge with you.
For those of you who know me personally, you know that I have no secrets. In fact, most of you would prefer that I keep at least some personal information to myself. But that “filter” in your brain that tells you when something is inappropriate to talk about in public? Yeah, mine is broken. It always has been. It’s a genetic condition that I’ve inherited from my mother called “Footinmouth-itis”. And the only “cure” is to marry somebody who can tactfully tell you to shut up when you’re saying something inappropriate! The “good” news is, I’m not so honest as to be incapable of stretching the truth at times. “Do I like your (hideous) haircut? Oh my gosh, it’s great!” “Does that dress (and by “dress”, I mean that ‘5 lb. potato sack that’s overflowing with 10 lbs of potatoes’) make you look fat? Um, yeah, phat with a PH!” In fact, I’m quite good at “stretching the truth” at times. Several years ago, on one particular excursion into Boston with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and their friends, I ran into a doctor that I had worked for as a medical secretary for over a period of a year or so. AND I HATED HER. She was a HORRIBLE doctor. Unreliable, self-absorbed, never on time, condescending. She was a Dermatologist, but she acted more like a surgeon. (If you work in the medical field, you know EXACTLY what I mean!) Hey, technically she was a surgeon! I mean, she could surgically remove oddly-shaped moles and pre-cancerous lesions . . . But a brain surgeon, she was not. However, she WAS at one time crowned Miss Vermont (I’m guessing at some point in the ’80’s). So she MUST be important, right? Anyway, while in Boston we run into her and I act all shades of excited to see her. Oh my gosh, “Dr. Smith”, great to see you! How are things at the new hospital you’re working at (after you gave your letter of resignation to the Chief of Dermatology at our hospital VIA EMAIL)?!” We had a brief conversation and when she walked away I turned to the group I was with and said: “I . . hate . . . her.” They were shocked! And in a way, I felt proud. I was all ‘Where’s my Oscar for that performance?’ (Not really) But the fact of the matter is, I was convincing. Very convincing. If I had kept my mouth shut, they would’ve assumed that “Dr. Smith” and I were old friends, not that she was someone I had been forced to tolerate day-in-and-day-out for over a year. Because that was my job. And I was very good at my job.
I remember when Jack was a newborn I developed mastitis, which is an infection that develops when your breast milk supply remains stagnant in you for a period of time, causing an infection. Gross? Yep! But listen up–I’ve suffered from chronic sinus infections. I’m actually suffering from bronchitis or pneumonia at this very moment! But I have NEVER–let me repeat–NEVER–experienced an infection as painful as mastitis. I had a newborn baby with special needs to take care of and I remember describing the pain to Dave, telling him that it literally hurt to even open my eyelids. Come on, I KNOW you’re thinking “Yeah, okay, let’s stop with the exaggerations.” I’m not exaggerating. It truly was one of the most painful things I’ve ever endured. And this is coming from the girl who was in labor over a period of four days, so TRUST ME–I know a thing or two about pain!!! So I was given an antibiotic for mastitis and instructed about ways to prevent it from happening again.
I assumed that MANY women had suffered from mastitis (which is true), so I certainly didn’t feel like my condition was rare. So (in my mind) why would I censor myself while talking about it? To anybody? Even people who didn’t need–nor want–to hear about how I had an infection due to my breast milk becoming stagnant, causing an infection? I remember when I was diagnosed with mastitis, the doctor advised me to massage the area to prevent the infection from happening again. But I had an even better idea! I would use one of my newborn son’s vibrating toys (since my son had a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, I registered for a number of vibrating toys that would provide him with the sensory input he needed to treat the “low tone” he would inevitably have, due to his diagnosis) to prevent myself from suffering from mastitis again! Brilliant plan! And since I thought it was such a brilliant plan, it was only natural that I would share said brilliant plan with one of my husband’s MALE friends. Because this male friend would, no doubt, want to know that vibrating toys are an effective way to potentially prevent mastitis, right?! (Sorry, Gerard!!!)
I wish I was joking. But at the time, it made perfect sense! I could blame it on “post-pregnancy brain”, but I’d be kidding myself. That’s just who I am. Those are the things I feel comfortable talking about. Doesn’t mean that I SHOULD feel comfortable talking about such things (that should SO CLEARLY be a private, personal matter), which is why I’m so fortunate to have a husband that can immediately change the subject on my behalf, if the need arises!
Bottom line–I have no shame, no topic is off-limits, and if you ask me an inappropriate question I will answer you–not realizing that what you’ve just asked is entirely inappropriate.
This naïveté on my part should by no means be mistaken for stupidity. Yeah, I’m ditsy and flakey and a dumb blonde at times, but I am far from stupid. So if I’m seeking help or looking for answers about ANYTHING and somebody in a position of authority shoots me down . . . that just makes me a hundred times more determined to get answers. I don’t care what it takes.
Thus begins the real reason for this series of posts . . .