Friday, March 30, 2007

My herpetic knee

I find my biannual physical exams amusing. Yes, I go twice a year, because 11 years ago I had an adventure with malignant melanoma, and my GP likes to measure my moles regularly.

I find the mole-measuring very amusing. There's a mole on my stomach that he was measuring today, and he said "It might be a bit wider than last year, but I can actually stretch it out if I want to, so I'm not sure", and he started pulling at my skin with his fingertips pushed into my stomach above and below the mole. He was laughing and claiming the mole looked like a bird, or a shark, or a lemon, depending on how he stretched or scrunched it. I suggested the mole might look wider because I'd put on 6 pounds over the winter. We agreed that it was actually the same size as before.

I've been going to the same GP since I was 13. He did my first high school athletics physical before I joined the track team. Now he's doing my physical a year after foot injuries ended my running career. He's great, but some of his assistants are morons. Today I groaned when he let an assitant take my blood sample. I'd had her before, and she'd stuck me five times before finally finding a vein. My veins stand out like ropes, just like the veins on all southern PA backwater rednecks. This time she hit the vein first try, but didn't push in far enough, so the needle was in the outside of my vein. She couldn't figure out what was wrong and was manipulating this fat needle stuck in my arm when the glass collection vial fell off onto the floor. She reacted trying to catch it and in doing so pushed the needle far enough in to draw blood. A nice crimson jet resulted, and a huge mess. I've never in my entire life laughed at my own spurting blood, but today I couldn't help it. Then, after cleaning up and collecting three vials she started sticking adhesive things all over my chest and arms for an EKG. "Uh, you might want to shave me before putting those on," I suggested. I'm harrier than a '70s porn star. "It's ok," she said. "These things won't pull out hair." She clipped the machine to my adhesive things, did the reading, and promptly yanked the adhesives off, removing huge patches of hair and causing me to yelp. The tentacles on the EKG reader looked like wilted Chia pets, and I looked like I'd been attacked by a Humboldt squid. I think she was angry I laughed at her.

My BP was 106 over 65 at the beginning of the appointment--I wonder what it was when I left?

Doc looked me over and found a tiny clear bump on my knee. He asked me about it, and I told him I get them occasionally on my knee and they go away. "I think you've got herpes," he said. "On my knee?" I asked. "Sure," he replied. "You can get herpes anywhere. I'd advise you keep your knee away from your wife." "You're not serious," I said, but he was, and he was vigorously washing his hands. "These bumps don't ever burst and scab over," I told him. "I doubt they are herpetic." "You're probably right," he said, "but keep your knee away from your wife's private areas."

How the fuck could I have gotten a herpetic knee? I simply can't imagine--and I have a pretty perverse imagination. Who, I wonder, gave me herpetic knee? Perhaps I'll phone up old flames and demand to know if they gave me herpetic knee. Will there be a new drug for herpetic knee along the lines of yellow toenail drugs and restless leg medications? "Ow, Doc, my restless herpetic knee!"

My wife will be horribly disappointed that I can no longer knee her in the groin without protection.


Anonymous said...

Now you can use your digital camera and your computer to keep check of your moles and be more certain about which ones are changing.

It is important to keep checking for new or changing moles, particularly if you are at risk. Those that have had a melanoma removed may be cured but they are at high risk for recurrence of new melanomas. If you have a lot of moles it is very hard (impossible really) to be able to tell if new or changing ones are present though.

DermAlert is an image comparison software program developed through funding from the National Cancer Institute that is inexpensive and lets you use your digital camera in the privacy of your own home to find changing moles over time. Then you can point out the changes to your dermatologist. You can see details and demo at

geoff said...

That is the Sistine Chapel of spam emails. The post might suck, but at least I got to read this.

Heather said...

It's too early for April Fools Day... so you really have herpes on your knee? Chris said that there is a Ween song called "pink eye on my leg."

geoff said...

That's what he said, but shouldn't there be more testing? Scraping and analysis at least?

Pink eye on my leg sounds worse somehow.