Dreaded Skin Diseases, Birds and Bees

August 2, 2010

I’m a heretic and a liar. I said I’d finish the Second Book of Kings Friday and then post. Instead, I finished writing a love story about a dead sexual deviant. I’m still on track to finish the Bible by Christmas so I forgive myself.

I planned to write a political piece today — “all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” wealthy parents shouldn’t gift stupid offspring political office, etc. — but I’m entirely focused on is this giant red welt on my shoulder so it’s time to explore the dreaded skin disease.

The dreaded skin disease plaguing the Bible is leprosy (now known as the less threatening Hansen’s disease). It was used as a fear agent to prevent people from sinning. Many got it and those who didn’t feared it. In the Second Book of Kings, it appears that most kings feared dreaded skin disease above all else, including being burned alive.

Interestingly, leprosy isn’t a big deal. It isn’t very contagious and about 95 percent of humans are immune to it. I find this fascinating because even though we’ve released leprosy as a fear agent, we continue reacting to health-related fear agents delivered by governing bodies. Remember the West Nile panic? Only 1,263 U.S. deaths. Dengue fever?  53 total deaths, 0 in the U.S. Avian flu? 298 total deaths, 0 in the U.S. SARS?  774 total deaths, 0 in the U.S. Swine flu? 11,700 U.S. deaths.* Comparatively, swine flu looks like a big deal but according to this NYT article, “In a typical year, 36,000 people die of seasonal flu, the C.D.C. estimates.” Hm.

*These numbers are based on the most recent data I could find. They may have changed.

Until 1873, people feared leprosy because they thought it was caused by sin, not bacteria. They lacked medical resources regarding the dreaded skin disease. We have plenty of medical resources yet we freak out when things like SARS hit the news.

This takes me back to the red mass on my shoulder. When I woke up this morning I wasn’t thinking about the oil spill in Kalamazoo, the national deficit or the hobos I bike past every morning. I was thinking about my own dreaded skin diseases, ie., the bee sting on my shoulder.

The incident occurred last Friday. I was biking, the bee was flying and when we collided, I squealed, nearly fell of my bike, exercised one of my favorite curse words and scared the shit out of a cute little family.

Unfortunately, I do not have this on film. However, I found a fantastic fill-in that very aptly represents my experience. Youtube was moving a bit slowly this morning, but this video is so worth it. Promise.

“Bee Sting Bike Ride”

Thankfully, I am not suffering from the dreaded skin disease. I’m overreacting to a very painful bee sting that is now a softball sized mess. It’s itchy. It hurts and I’m pretty sure it’s the reason I feel nauseous. I used to just be a complainer, but thanks to WebMD and unlimited access to medical information, I’m now a hypochondriac.

I suppose this is no different than the leprosy fallacy. With or without access to information, humans spend a great deal of time focusing on and worrying about the wrong things. I’m more likely to get hit by a car on my way home than die by bee sting. But, I’m focused on the sting. I even took a photo of it. Actually, I took three.

According to WebMD and my sting timeline, there’s a slight chance this sucker could put me in the hospital by Friday and if that hypothetical visit were sours, I could die. If you’ll excuse me, I need to text my husband and let him know he could be a widower by Saturday.

Stopping Point: The First Book of Chronicles


3 Responses to “Dreaded Skin Diseases, Birds and Bees”

  1. […] Thumpme's Blog Just another WordPress.com site Skip to content HomeAbout ← Dreaded Skin Diseases, Birds and Bees […]

  2. Agus said

    That’s EXACTLY how it happened. With that video you have immortalized the moment of being stung by a bee.

    • thumpme said

      I cannot believe I found that video. So perfect. I love the bit about how the only thing that would hold a candle to the ride would be church. Sting.

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