Friday, 21 November 2014

The Art of Being Polite II

In which Hannah seriously considers never cutting or tying up her hair ever again.
I mentioned in my last post that I was having some problems with a swollen lymph node in my neck. Annoyingly, it’s still here. Blood tests showed no sign of current infection and as there is no history of recent infection or virus that I’m aware of, I’m off to see an Ear Nose and Throat consultant in the near future to sort out a biopsy.
Bang went my hopes of it just being something you could stick something sharp in, drain and have done with!
The point of this post however is to discuss other people’s reactions to it thus far, which today in particular became quite interesting. Usually I wear my hair down and so you can’t see the lump at all, but today I needed the mane out of the way and decided to stop being silly about it. It’s a lump at the end of my bottom jaw which is about two inches long by an inch in length. It’s not as if there’s a football growing out of my face.
Or, so I thought…

“What’s that on your face?"
My ear , given where you’re vaguely pointing. Oh, you mean that fairly small unobtrusive lump that really isn’t the major event you’re pretending it is? That? It’s a baby monster that if you don’t stop pointing at it will jump out and eat you, Alien style.
“You’ve got a lump on your face. Why?”
Well spotted. If I knew why, I doubt I’d be a legal secretary.
“I can’t stop looking at it!”
You have a approximately 160 degrees within which you can turn your head. I humbly suggest you pick a degree my face isn’t currently occupying. Also, it’s really not that alarming. Face on you can’t see it at all.
“Aren’t you worried about what it might be?”
No, not at the moment. As a society we’ve learnt to run around panicking at the first sign of an unexpected lump of any kind (and I agree you should always get a lump checked out by a doctor to be on the safe side) but the chances of a swollen lymph node (even without the obvious presence of infection) being something sinister are actually really, really slim.  The most likely scenario at this point is that the biopsy will reveal a benign growth or cyst of some kind, or that there is in fact some sort of underlying virus I’m unaware of that said lymph node is arguing with. Either way, I don’t really think there’s any point working myself up about it at this stage.
“Would it hurt if I poked it?”
No, but *you’ll* hurt if you poke it.
“Shouldn’t you be covering it up?”
Oh for goodness sake.  It’s completely unobtrusive. It’s not lit up like a Christmas tree or declaiming in Dova. Are people really that freaked out by anything that’s just ever so slightly off-kilter?
“You know, you look a bit peaky as well…"
Say it with me: “pale complexion”. Yes? Good. I realise that’s tetchy of me, but I do get tired of being told I look ill when it is in fact just my normal skin tone. When I’m actually ill, I look like a one of the Drowned Dead  from Dungeons and Dragons. Believe me, you’ll know the difference if you see it.
And so we learn “normal” sick is actually no different from invisible illness in terms of the propensity for silly questions. And no, I didn’t actually say any of this, merely thought it all pointedly.
Also, in the midst of all this, I feel slightly mean for not congratulating my body for circumventing Petunia and actually managing to be sick all by itself. It’s not actually managed this since she made herself at home until now. I feel like a bizarrely proud parent.
Gold star, body. Now pack it in.
Wishing you all many spoons xxx

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