Thursday, July 24, 2008

PSA #3 - Clean Your Navel

You shower regularly. You don't smell. You're pretty clean. But have you looked in your belly button lately? You may be one of the millions of Americans who are walking around with years' worth of fuzz and debris in that little dimple. It doesn't get clean by accident. You have to probe the depths deliberately to get out the crud. It's just too good a hiding place otherwise.

I never gave it much thought before I took to operating on people's abdomens. At the start of every case, someone cleans the skin off with an antiseptic. Part of that process includes cleaning out the belly button. Sometimes a cotton swab is enough. Sometimes you have to get serious and break out the metal instruments to extract what's lurking there.

It can get pretty ugly.

I once saw a lady in my office who was afraid she had cancer. Her doctor had noticed a black mass growing out of her umbilicus and sent her for a surgical consult. She even got a CAT scan to see if this was something growing from the inside out. It wasn't. It was belly button crud. I grabbed it with a clamp, and--Viola! the "tumor" was gone. If only all cancer was that easy to fix.

I think the problem is gravity makes our parts sag a bit. The mid section is no exception. The top part likes to flap over and cover the belly button when we're upright, which is the position most of us clean ourselves in, after all. Unless you're intentionally trying, you may never see the inside of your navel.

So here's my advice:
At least occasionally, check it out. Lie down on your bed, pull up that top skin, and swab out the depths. You may be surprised at what's been living there.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Overheard recently

I'm able to pull up radiology studies on my computer at home. A while ago, I was reviewing someone's films. J came up and asked what I was looking at. I explained that it was a CAT scan and pointed out a few of the structures he was familiar with. A few months later, I was looking at another study at home. J walked up and said, "Mommy, are those the cat's kidneys?" I think of that every time I look at a CAT scan now and it makes me smile.

H says funny things all the time lately too. She needs a little work on humility, however. I tell her all the time that I love her and how cute and sweet she is, and, well, she believes it.

The other day I said, "I love you, honey." To which she answered, "I love me too!"

Last week when I went to get her out of bed in the morning her first words to me were, "Mommy, I have pretty hair. I have pretty hair." Well, yes you do, dear, but people aren't going to like you much if you go around telling them that.

And on that note: Sunday, Pastor Rowe told H her hair looked cute and she replied, "Yes."