My teenage daughter, The Amazing Grace, pursued the romantic ideal, for awhile, that she would be a nurse, stroking fevered brows and helping very sick, very handsome young men heal. I think her inspiration was a combination from a scene in Anne of Green Gables and from an interest in the medical field.
To help pursue this dream, Grace was reading a lot of nursing books, including holistic and herbal remedies.
Sometimes this knowledge has been useful. She is always the first to rally around the child who has a sliver, a headache or a tummy ache.
But, sometimes this knowledge has been dangerous, as well as hilarious. Each article becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as she thinks of all her aches, pains, rashes and fevers and assumes the worst.
If her medical books can't help her, she turns to the internet, the source of all things factual and useful.
Purple spots on her hands led to a freakish self-diagnosis of AIDS after reading sufferers get purple malignant spots because they can't fight off disease. She jumped around the dining room, waving her hands so much I couldn't even focus on the purple spots.
Leg cramps led to a self-diagnosis of polio, accompanied by animated discussions about FDR and his accomplishments from a wheelchair.
One night, a small white, painful spot on the inside of her bottom lip led her to this disastrous conclusion.
"Mom, I think I have lip cancer," she hyper-ventilated as she pulled the bottom lip out for inspection. We shooed her away from blocking the view of our new 50 inch plasma TV, where her father and I had plopped ourselves for the first time in months to watch a movie together, offered her some Anbesol and sent her to bed.
While sitting in a doctor's office, I diagnosed Grace's real disease from an article I naughtily tore out of a magazine. I never do that, honestly, even if I really, really, really want the recipe.
I just couldn't help myself. A cure can only come after a diagnosis, right?
Wonder if a cure for this disease has been found?
Maybe if she ever finishes nursing school, she can find one.