Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - September 20, 2019

Too much information!

OK, I need to warn you that this column may not be your cup of tea if you have a weak stomach ... like me!

Despite growing up on a farm, I'm pretty certain I never could have handled being a veterinarian, had it been an occupation that I was interested in. Our young friend Emma is just starting the 9th grade and it is an occupation that appeals to her ... except she is not fond of blood. But in the optimism that is youth, she commented, "I think I just need to get over it."

Well, Iím more than four times her age and I wish I could!

So what in the world would prompt me to mention something like this? Itís husband Art's fault! And in more ways than one!

The most recent situation, and the one that set me off here, occurred when we drove to Albuquerque to visit daughter Katie and son-in-law Matt. Whenever we stay somewhere away from home, Art insists on scanning through the TV channels to see what programs might be on he has never seen before. Such was the case when he stopped on the program ... are you ready for this? ... "Dr. Pimple Popper!"

OK, we all are teenagers at some time and go through that phase when our skin is not the best. Inevitably, all of us have made some intervention to reduce the unsightliness of one or more of those little red mountains with its very own snow-covered peak. But it is not something I yearn to repeat, much less take a trip down memory lane by way of a television show devoted to the subject.

The show's star is Dr. Sandra Lee, a dermatologist who practices in California. To be fair, no segment Art watched and I cringed over dealt with pimples. They were all about skin abnormalities patients presented that Dr. Lee treated.

According to Wikipedia, she comes by her profession naturally as her father was a dermatologist. She noticed how videos of some of the procedures she had performed were quite popular on the internet. So, in 2018, another reality-TV show was born.

At first, Art's curiosity was centered on the show. But soon it shifted to me and my repeated, "Turn it off," as I turned away while sneaking occasional glances.

My aversion seems to be activated when it is someone else ... someone other than me! In my 1997 multi-month journey through three hospitals, I had a feeding tube installed since I was incapable of eating, a tracheotomy as I could not breathe on my own and had many other procedures done, to say nothing of having uncountable injections. While none of these were pleasant, not one gave me that queasy sensation that arises when I see something being done to someone else.

In fact, just seeing someone in pain seems to bring on some sort of empathetic reaction. Several years ago, Art had a bout with kidney stones. After a day or two without passing them, the pain was great enough that he decided it was time to get treatment. As he approached the counter in our local hospital's emergency room, the woman on duty said in a very dispassionate voice, "Kidney stones?"

"How did you know?" Art asked.

"You get used to the look," she answered.

Not me. He's had a couple of additional episodes with them and I'm still not used to it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those who goes to pieces over some minor event. In fact, Art has frequently mentioned that one of the things he likes about me is that when something truly important happens, I seem to acquire some sort of calm that allows me to function quite effectively. So when daughter Mariya broke her finger in a sporting event, it was no biggie. Or when she awoke one night with a rapid heart rate and shallow breathing, I was calm while staying home with younger daughter Katie while Art transported Mariya to the emergency room for what turned out to be hyperventilation, probably brought on by some vivid dream.

But minor things can throw me for a loop. Some time back, Art had a blackhead on his back where he could not reach it. It eventually began to bother him and he tapped me to perform the removal procedure. He said that he had been hesitant to do so as I am so afraid of inflicting any pain that I am unwilling to apply enough pressure to get the desired result.

He was correct!

In fact, over the years when one of the kids would get a splinter, he was the one who would have to perform the operation to extract the offending item.

So watching Dr. Lee slice open someone's back to remove some sort of mass that had grown there was almost more than I could take.

Another patient awoke one morning to a bump on his head. Over the course of nine years, it had grown to the size of a couple of grapes. Being afraid of doctors, his method of treatment was to wear a hat. "Iíve got nine of them," he informed her.

She sliced it open, informing him that the contents were something like mashed potatoes. OK, that just about did it for me. Too much information!

Somehow I made it through the program just as I had successfully completed the procedure Art asked me to execute.

But unlike Emma, I don't know if I will ever get over it.

Dr. Sandra Lee from the SLMD website.

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