Wednesday, May 27, 2009


What's that? My ear. Water? It's a pain. Small. Unexplained, its a big pain.

I look it up in a medical book. It's a Merck Manual that I picked out at Barnes & Noble because it had a good index and wasn't over-loaded with medical terms and too many pictures.

I did have a pain. Not an ache. Whatever it was, it came and went. Everything I looked up in the Manual's index had a page to go to. I went to the various pages. I knew from the first few sentences of each reference that it didn't really apply to me.

But I felt better.

The other night I had a twinge. Was it a tooth or a gum? Upper or lower? I'd been eating the miniature chocolates that JC brings home -- a few each night. At the theater where he's working, the stage manager keeps a supply. Performers grab a couple when they sign in; Some of the actors grab one before their entrance cue. (A Hershey, a Twix, a Snicker -- like knocking on wood or some personal magic words you say to yourself, the ritual helps you focus.)

Skinny me ... mid afternoon I've been dropping into JC's office, opening the center drawer of his small desk. (I have two man-sized desks, and JC has a lady-size desk he found on the street, also a large board sitting on wooden horses scrounged from the street -- why he scrounges, why he has small desk and I have large ones is not going to be explained or delved into). I grab a candy or two and devastate the supply of goodies which he brings home each night. He loves sweets but he knows I'm filching them. What a guy!

What kind of humdrum tale am I unfolding here? Pain, candy, scrounged furniture ... Well, I guess I'm writing all this because the twinge reminded me of the cavity I got when I was hooked on gummy orange chews. At 1 A.M. my eyes pop open. I resolve, NO MORE tiny chocolates.

Pains, little and big: Here's what I've mentioned in my posts: Back hurts in the morning; left knee annoying and often painful. Also, I've had tennis elbows, bursars, Achilles tendon, big toe swellings -- calves cramp, old sprained ankle ligaments act up. Those pains come and go and I work around them. But ...

Peristaltic pains. I get them occasionally, (cabbage, apples, eating too fast, raw carrots, raw beans all of which I love). That pain can land me in the ER.

I know the problem and know a great deal about the symptoms. Possibilities, probabilities don't help, Pain pills don't help.

Staying calm, lying down, keeping warm, tucking in pillow there's not much else to do except time the pain (2.5 minutes between pains usually). Wait, sometimes quite a few hours. Got to live with it, to live with, and therefore ...
Merck Manual. Resolves.
Be Dr. Em for Emily/me -- separate big and little fears.
If you deal with the little fears, more often than not, you'll feel better.

1 comment:

Carola said...

I think the Merck Manual is a very dangerous book. First of all you can't understand half the words. You're reading along and suddenly the book says that your symptom might be a sign of ecopseudolathomytolemia and you have no idea what that is. Secondly, you inevitably end up reading about all the really bad stuff that COULD be involved (but probably isn't). Fortunately, my HMO has a very good health database that links out to other reputable health databases, and can provide me with a more reasonable approach to symptoms.