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Wednesday, June 27, 2007  

Professional Pride

Trash had surgery a couple of weeks ago. There were some mysterious lumps on her thyroid gland that needed to come out, lest they turn out be harbingers of the Big Casino. The surgeon took out a little more than half of her thyroid. Trash spent the following night in the hospital, which was a night more than she wanted to spend. But the operation was a success, and any malignancy was confined strictly to her mood towards her weird roommate.

But the operation also left her wiped out, almost completely unable to regulate her own body temperature, and with a swollen, smile-shaped incision almost three inches wide across the base of her throat. She was kind of self-conscious about it at first. The incision was initially covered with five adhesive Steri-strips, arranged vertically across the width of the opening in a rather Frankensteinian manner. She wore a scarf to work the first day back.

But when it was time to take the Steri-strips off, she felt even more vulnerable, as though those little strips she'd been wearing for a week had been holding her noggin in place, and without them there it might just roll clear off her shoulders. "I feel like Nearly Headless Nick," she told me.

Fortunately, she had sent me to the drugstore the week before to pick up these sticky bandage pads that are supposed to be great for minimizing scars. You wear them for a few days at a time, taking them off and washing them every day, and there's enough in the box for twelve weeks' worth. Unfortunately, I'd lost them. So I went back, got another box, and helped her put them on.

The scar looked too wide to be covered by one of the pads, so I put on two, leaving a slight overlap. Unfortunately, the pads don't stick to the back of other pads; only humans. So then every time we changed or adjusted the bandages, it was a challenge to find the right balance between avoiding a dangerous overlap-peel and leaving a tiny gap in the center. The latter situation made Trash worry about all the dire warnings about how the worst thing that could happen to her scar was to get a sunburn on it. Presumably that also applies to a sixteenth-of-an-inch length of it as well, and leaving that tiny spot bare would have been enough for her to end up with a puckered little hole there that she could have smoked cigarettes through.

I had figured that with two boxes of special bandages in the house, the missing one would turn up soon enough due to M. Giant's Law, but it didn't, probably because we were still going to have to go through two boxes as a result of doubling up on them.

But then the other morning, Trash went in for her post-op appointment with her surgeon, who is very cool. But as soon as she saw her star patient, she was like, "Hey, how are you doing, great to see you, you look terrific. Why do you have two bandages on?"

Taken a bit aback, Trash explained that one bandage alone didn't seem to cover it.

"I don't do two-bandage incisions," the doctor insisted, peeling off Trash's bandages. She centered one of the bandages on the incision, covering it completely. The other bandage she threw away on the spot. "See?"

"Maybe it was just more swollen before," Trash speculated. The doctor harrumphed.

Trash finally asked, "So…how does it look?"

That seemed to break the tension, as the doctor realized how ridiculous she was being. She removed the one remaining bandage again, and seemed quite satisfied with how well Trash's incision is healing. All the stitches are on the inside, and should be dissolving soon, not that Trash currently experiences them in any meaningful way now. It's not like she was in any danger of having one of the cats snag an end and then run off in a panic, unraveling her entire torso in the process.

They ended up laughing about it, and the good news is that thirty-dollar box of bandages will now last twice as long, but Trash thinks she may have unwittingly bruised the surgeon's professional pride. So tell me about unknown, esoteric things about your calling that you take pride in -- high standards you hold yourself to that nobody outside your area of expertise would care about or even fully understand. The more embarrassing, the better. I'd start things off with one of my own, but since all of mine are perfectly understandable and not at all weird, I can't come up with a good example. Like, the fact that I insist on all my recaps having an even number of letters? I think everyone does that.

posted by M. Giant 7:06 PM 16 comments

16 Comments:

I had my (entire) thyroid out almost 3 years ago...tell Trash that if she can endure the scar for about 6 months, Mederma is THE BEST for making that thing disappear. My doctors all told me I had to wait until the incision wasn't red at all to put anything on it. But seriously, people don't even notice my 3-inch line anymore. Also, my surgeon kicked ass, so that may have helped.

By Blogger Jenny, at June 27, 2007 at 7:55 PM  

Trash might be able to appreciate this as a Librarian... watching people take books or movies off the shelf, decide they don't want it, and then shove it back in some random place. I want to stand at the desk and holler at them to put it back in the correct spot.

By Anonymous Rebecca, at June 27, 2007 at 8:03 PM  

Ha, Rebecca, I actually do tell people to "Put it back where you found it!" in the library....and I don't even work there! It just peeves me so much...

By Blogger Pixie, at June 27, 2007 at 8:09 PM  

I'm a NICU nurse (how I found this blog, actually...) and you'd be surprised at how neurotic we night shift girls are at making perfect beds for the isolettes and cribs. It's a whole origami thing with blankets and pillowcases, dependent on the size of the baby (preemie vs term, etc) and having NO folded corner edges showing. There's legit life-saving stuff we get even more tetchy about, obviously, but you asked for the silly ones, so there you go.

By Blogger Emily, at June 27, 2007 at 10:08 PM  

My mom had her thyroid removed and they told her to buy a bottle of those gel cap Vitamin E pills. Then, she would just cut one open each morning and smear the goop on the scar.

You can still sort of see it, but it's not so bad. She calls it her ghetto smile, anyway.

By Blogger Cap'n Ganch, at June 27, 2007 at 10:49 PM  

I work in publishing, and nothing bugs as much as the overuse of that. Drives me nuts - more than bad grammar, more than you're/your, more than just about anything.

By Anonymous Joan, at June 28, 2007 at 6:00 AM  

It's not my weirdness, but my brother-in-law will always carry a bean hook (you use this to cut weeds) with him whenever he drives by his soybean fields. If he sees a weed, he'll walk out into the field, no matter how far away it is to get rid of it. This has nothing to do with helping his yield- a few weeds don't hurt beans- he does it because he knows other farmers will be driving by his fields and he doesn't want them to look 'dirty'. I asked him how he can possibly keep all the vast amount of weeds in check (he and his Dad farm 1500 acres) and he looked sheepish and said he can't really, but if he can get the ones he sees, he feels better about it. Hee!

By Anonymous autiger23, at June 28, 2007 at 7:13 AM  

Wow, that is so creepy. I insist that my recaps have an ODD number of letters.

By Blogger Linda, at June 28, 2007 at 8:05 AM  

I own a bakery, and have been baking for a looooong time. We make a product called "streusel bars". It's pronounced "stroi-sel". When people call it "stroo-sel", it's cool. When people call it "strudel", it just drives me nuts. There's no "d" in it!!! Argh.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 28, 2007 at 8:19 AM  

I work in Marketing as a designer. I find myself binding my printed ad designs with matching colored paperclips, and placing them on my desk just at the edge of my peripheral vision in a carefully fanned-out manner, so that I can glance over at them occasionally and admire their matchingness, and then claim I'm not completely lost to OCD.

By Blogger Meldraw, at June 28, 2007 at 2:19 PM  

I'm a grad student in classics, and the misuse of the Greek alphabet sends me into fits. A capitalized sigma is not an E, no matter how much you want it to be. Nor is a theta a fancy-looking O.

Also, the tagline for this entry on DHAK made me choke on my soda.

By Blogger Naomi, at June 29, 2007 at 8:35 AM  

I don't have any quirks about my job in finance, but...

I was a Spanish major in college, and spent most of college waiting tables in a Mexican restaurant. I'm actually half Mexican (but I'm pale and blue-eyed, so no one believes me when I tell them)and if a customer would completely butcher a word, I'd correct them. Usually fairly quietly, but I couldn't help myself. I think the words I corrected most are tortilla and quesadilla. If they were genuinely trying to get it and not being giant cheeseballs, I'd usually let it slide, but it was the ones who would say, "I speak Spanish, too! Tor-til-lee-a, enchee-lay-da, cerveza! HAR HAR HAR!" that I'd give the hardest time to.

E

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 1, 2007 at 6:35 AM  

When I make travel plans for my (uber-picky) boss, I give him a packet of info with the car service, flight, car rental, hotel, return flight and return car service info in that order, with color-coded, rainbow-ordered post-it flags for each leg of the trip.
I think it's the rainbow-ordering that really puts it over the top.

By Blogger NYOne, at July 2, 2007 at 12:33 PM  

It's not even my job, but I am the person who rearranges the nailpolish in the drugstore when the colors aren't in the right slots.

By Blogger RandomRanter, at July 11, 2007 at 3:09 PM  

As an attorney, I'm going to go with any time a judge on "Law & Order" overrules a defense attorney's hearsay objection because of Jack McCoy's "brilliant legal reasoning". Which is always wrong. I just scream at the TV, "The declarant has to be unavailable you ass. Why don't you just say, 'It's not hearsay'? Because. It. Is. Not."

As a person, I'm going with any time someone uses the word "Ironic". It's not, "ironic", ok? I blame public education and Alanis Morisette, but we, as a people, need to take a little responsibility to learn the definitions of words before using them so liberally...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 14, 2007 at 12:53 PM  

I live in South Africa and have a post-graduate degree in Geography. When people refer to Africa as if it's a country, as in, "I went to Africa on safari", I always feel the overwhelming need to scream, "Where precisely in Africa? It's a freaking continent, not a country!" Sad, I know.

By Blogger Flet, at November 26, 2008 at 6:21 AM  

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