Monday, October 04, 2010

misc #28

"See that?" she said. "You know what that is? You never noticed that before, did you?

"Well that's a hysterectomy scar," she said. "A hysterectomy is a uterectomy. A uterectomy is an operation in which they excise the uterus. But they call it a hysterectomy. You know what hysterectomy comes from, of course? From hysteria. Hysteria and womb and women are synonymous in the medical profession, you see. You know: stupid women who weep and are very nervous and go to pieces and maybe lose their minds as they approach the change of life, but whose husbands always dutifully sorrowfully protect them and lovingly take care of them at home so that they seldom go to institutions. Look in a medical dictionary some time, -- if you can ever get hold of one that is, they're very hush-hush and try to pretend they are restricted, so you'll probably have to buy one. I had to buy mine. But look up the prefix hystero- and see the words derived from it. A hysteroscope is an instrument for inspecting the uterus, did you know that? A hysterometer is an instrument for measuring the uterus, did you know that? A hysterograph is an apparatus for measuring the strength of the uterine contractions in labor, did you know that? Two, perhaps three, full pages of small type: hystero-this, hystero-that.

"You go in to them and they look you up and down, appraisingly, then they ask how old you are. You say I'm thirty-five. Oh, they say. They nod. They look knowing. Thirty-five, they say. Change of life coming on, you know. They soothe you. Musnt be upset. Be calm. Happens to the best of us. They examine you. They're gynecologists and its all professional of course. Then they wash their hands and nod profoundly. Just as I thought, they say, you need a hysterectomy, that's all, just a little old hysterectomy.

"God knows what the medical profession would do if it didn't have its hysterectomies and their hystero-derivatives. Probably go all broke and vote for socialized medicine after all, I guess.