Here's to your health!

I'm currently studying Health Behaviors in one of my classes so instead of actually doing my homework, I'll talk about my own health on here instead!

So, besides that whole Appendix Bursting and Nearly Killing Me thing when I was 10, I’ve been very blessed thus far in terms of health, for which I’m grateful. I HAVE, however, had random health-related experiences through the years.

Of course the first being the possible Anthrax exposure during my Semester in DC, for which I never did get on Cipro (don’t tell my parents) because I really didn’t think I’d been exposed and figured I’d just wait and see if I felt any symptoms.

Of course the “symptoms” for anthrax exposure are very similar to those of a flu, so not really a rock-solid indicator, but whatever. Surely I’d know by now if I’d been harmed by a biological weapon, right? I’m sure it’s fine...

Then I’ve had COUNTLESS shots and meds for the weird countries I like to visit. And between that and all the IVs and shots I had with my appendectomy, I’ve become very desensitized to needles. (my sister, on the other hand, saw my IV when I was 10 and had to put her head between her legs and lean against a wall to keep from passing out. Oh SURE, makes sure SHE'S ok! Not like my ORGANS ARE SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTING OVER HERE OR ANYTHING...but I digress.)

Turns out, my comfort with needles worked out well when I got sent to help with response efforts for Hurricane Katrina.

Since the water pouring through the streets of New Orleans carried WHO KNOWS WHAT diseases, we were advised to make sure we were up on one of the Hepatitis shots. I coudn’t remember if I was, so after I got down to Louisiana, I asked the doctors helping us out if it was a big deal to have it twice. They said no, that it was better to be safe and get it. So I did.

Right there.

On my hip.

In the opened-back of a transfer trailer truck we were using for medical supplies and other things.

So nearly dropping trou in the back of a Semi, getting a shot, then jumping down and continuing with my job, I have to say, was a new experience.

Another time, I went to the dermatologist for my annual “Mole Patrol” – aka, I ask the doctor to make sure I haven’t given myself skin cancer through my foolish non-SPF-covered endeavors all summer.

And she DOES find a mole that apparently is slightly troubling to her. And ironically:

It’s in a place that the SUN NEVER TOUCHES.

Figures! So they remove it, which requires stitches IN A PLACE YOU DON’T WANT TO BE ITCHING when the scar heals. Ahem.

And I’m working at the time for an office of "Health Affairs" somewhere in the government and I really want to casually say “be back after lunch, going to get something removed from my body!” just to see their faces.

But I don’t.

That time. But ANOTHER time, probably my favorite random health incident, I was volunteering at Walter Reed, the big Army hospital here in D.C. And because you are around wounded soldiers all the time, they kinda like to make sure you aren’t carrying any diseases yourself. So they test for things –

Like Tuberculosis.

And you’re probably thinking – does that even still exist? Wasn’t that one of the things that would kill off people in your wagon on Oregon Trail? Is that like Scurvy??

And I had similar thoughts, so of course I was VERY surprised when the nurse looks up and says: “ Well, you are reacting to this, so we’re gunna need to send you to get a chest X-ray TO MAKE SURE YOU DON’T HAVE TUBERCULOSIS.

Ok sure. I'll go schedule that exam then and try not to freak out! You have a nice day too!

And it turns out, LOTS of people in the U.S. have likely been exposed to TB and don't realize it. And it typically doesn't manifest into the disease, it just means you've been exposed to the virus at some point. Which is thankfully all it was in my case and I likely was exposed to it on a trip to Africa a few years before. My chest exam was fine though.

But I DID get the joy of cheerily packing up my stuff one day at work and casually telling my boss over the Cube Wall:

"Sorry, leaving early today! Gotta go make sure I don't have Tuberculosis!"

Although, I will say, that's a great way to be offered "all the time you need off" to make sure that's taken care of :)