Yesterday three men shaved my groin. Just the right side, so it wasn’t like a spa treatment or anything. One was sort of attractive. The other two weren’t not-attractive, just both kind of short. All of them were wearing funny hats. And this was not a dream.
I was being prepped for an angiogram. An angiogram is a test that basically maps the vascular system of specific regions of the body. A radiologist enters your veins through your groin, hence the funny-hat-wearing aestheticians, I don’t know why I agreed to go through with the test and in fact, if the history of my health and wellness had served as any indicator I would have known going in that the outcome would be the medical equivalent of a shrugged mm-hmm-mm, which is a sing-song rendition of the phrase I-Don’t-Know.
The result of my angiogram featured such gems as “The pressures in your abdominal vena cava don’t make sense,” and “I found the portal vein in your liver, but I’m not sure I can get to it.”
“Not sure,” “doesn’t make sense,” “mm-hmm-mm.” These are the kind of test results I get a lot.
But things have started to become frightening in that way that they did for my father when he slowly started to die in the early years of the 1990’s. Hopefully, not quite as frightening, but there are certain systems that are indicating in my body that they need seeing to. But no one is quite sure how or why or where…
I know it is cliche to go here, but the truth is, I have thought a lot about our human lives.
I have considered where we exist in the universe. Not always high. Sometimes sober.
I have wondered if there is some other planet to which our bodies would be better suited (totally seriously):
- Where the food we eat could sustain us for months rather than hours.
- Where every breath lasts an hour instead of a few seconds.
- Where our body temperature might fluctuate more than the mere 10 degrees that separate us from the grave.
I do not yet feel sick. I may never become sick (knock on wood, spit and spin around). I am experiencing my own body’s incorrect thinking that my DNA is sound. It is not. I have a gene – a single protein error among billions of proteins – and this error is making my body think it should do things that it shouldn’t. It did the same to my father. It did the same to my great-grandmother, my uncle, my great-uncle and his sister, my great-aunt. Unfortunately, it does not let you walk through walls (I’ve tried) or dance really well (again, I’ve tried).
We are such a vulnerable little animal. Even now, at a time when we can see the meteor headed our way or know when and where the bomb will hit, or map the gene to the exact protein error, we ultimately have so little control or power.
We should be clairvoyant. We should have more answers. Fewer questions. We should be able to pacify our warriors and teach people like me the running man, but we can’t.
Maybe we live on the wrong planet. Somewhere else we might be more efficient. We might be better prepared. But we live here instead, in these bodies, on this planet, with each other and all our limitations and unknowing. In place of efficiency and understanding we have faith. I like faith. I am decidedly a fan. I think it gives us poetry and beauty and even love.
Of course it poses great dangers as well when it is bogged down by hate, fear and mistrust – I’m looking at you, James Spader in Pretty in Pink. But the loving kind, the trusting kind, the kind that hears, “mm-hmm-mm” and doesn’t fear but stands up bravely and trusts that in the end there will be more knowledge, better understanding and even a few answers because I bothered to ask the questions – bothered to have my groin shaved by a hot doctor fully awake – that is what I’m counting on now.
And maybe I’ll hope a little bit for the discovery of that alien planet where my specific genetic mutation helps me to digest ice cream like brussel sprouts, makes watching Sex and the City reruns accomplish the same thing as jogging and maybe provides a super power or two. It’s got to be out there. After all, the Universe, like the human body is vast and completely out of our realm of understanding.
So why not keep hoping?