Monday, June 18, 2012

Body Parts

I was reminded the other day of one of those things that we think about from time to time and that is the importance of body parts.  While we all have been contemplating such things since we first noticed that the thing waving back and forth in our line of vision was actually a part of the whole, the hand, and that we could make it do pretty much whatever we pleased, people have noticed their body parts.  After getting acquainted with our own, most of us begin to compare ours with those of other folks in our acquaintance; and we notice some people's parts more than some others simply because they are well worth noticing.

I once had an allergic reaction to a pill I took.  The reaction came in the form of a hypoglycemic attack and didn't occur until I was sitting at my desk early one morning.  One of my co-workers noticed that I was looking decidedly ill and called 911.  The paramedics showed up promptly and got to work.  The one kneeling in front of me was listening to my racing heart and asking me questions.  All I could think of was that this was the most gorgeous face I had seen in my entire life with a perfectly shaped nose, black fringed baby blue eyes and a mouth like a ripe peach waiting to be tasted.  While I was sixty plus and he was probably half my age, I was thinking that if I weren't so busy dying at that moment, I would kiss the daylights out of the poor guy.  I think it is safe to say that we all notice the very good and maybe the very bad.  It is also a wonder that we are such diverse persons with such individualized tastes that there seems to be someone out there that is going to look mighty good to each other someone.

The other thing I wonder about is that each person seems to have a strong preference for some particular part to admire.  My dad was a leg man.  He once told me that a well-shaped ankle curving into a neatly rounded calf was a sight to stir the heart of any man.  Now days, lots of men seem to enjoy the going away view of women to the point that admiring the "junk in the trunk" has almost become a national past time.

My writers group got into this type of discussion on Saturday after critiquing a piece one of our members had written on all the changes that had been made to her original equipment, some of her own choosing and some chosen for her by circumstances.  She is a breast cancer survivor and has had a double mastectomy and reconstruction.  She doesn't recommend cancer, but she did have high praise for the boob job stating that it was much better than what God had given her as far as looks were concerned.  She was too old to care about function.  Several of the other women present also decried the idea that anyone could find boobs attractive since they were generally a burden to women requiring support that is awkward to put on and uncomfortable to wear. And the older one gets, the more grotesque the shape becomes unless a boob job has made them permanently perky.

My friend, Dennis, was sitting quietly beside me during the discussion; but I know Dennis well enough to know that his mental gears were whirling like crazy.  And crazy is exactly the word to use for most of Dennis' thoughts.  So, I leaned over and told him my own little boob story.  No, my boobs aren't little.   The story is.

Several years ago, I found a lump in my right breast.  Given my mother's early death due to cancer, I had always thought if the possibility ever came up, I would probably be found in the back of my closet, curled up in a fetal position and sucking my thumb.  Not so.  I was on the phone immediately getting the earliest appointment I could and got in to see my doctor in two days.  With the usual "It's probably nothing to worry about," he sent me off for a mammogram.  It was inconclusive.  On to the next step, a lumpectomy and biopsy.  For this, my doctor called in a young surgical specialist who was and is considered something of a genius.  Upon meeting him, I also realized that he was all business.  As Elizabeth Bennett said to Mr. Darcy, "That is a pity for I dearly love to laugh."  Over the next few days, I met with him several times.  No humor at all.

On the day of the surgery, I was draped and prepped for a local so that I would be awake when the report on the biopsy came back and would be able to discuss options at that point.  In came the surgeon dressed in his OR greens and with his usual serious scowl, looked down at the area he would soon be cutting on.  In an effort to lighten the mood while the nurses unrolled the instruments from their sterile casings, I asked the doctor, "So, who's the taxidermist on staff at this hospital?"

I was met with a startled and quizzical look as he came back with, "Taxidermist?!?"

I noticed that everyone else in the room was looking at me as if I had been given too much Demerol.  "Look," I said. "I need to know because while I a very certain that I can live without my boobs, I'm not sure my husband can."

While the nurses were practically rolling in the floor, Dr. Seriously Medical almost cracked a smile.  "It's OK to laugh," I told him.  "It's how we survive."  And the report came back cancer free.

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