Cure for the Bible Bump
All that ganglion cyst needs is to put the fear of God on it.
Is it wrong to want to smash a coffee mug into some woman's wrist if it's for her own good? Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself here. I should provide you with the back story first and then ask you the question.
It all started a long time back when I went out and bought a pair of rollerblades. I didn't know a damn thing about rollerblading other then it looked somewhat entertaining and seemed a socially acceptable way of getting an adrenaline fix. Besides, I already did the Halloween, ten story, rappel off of A-dorm with a pumpkin on my head. I scaled the walls of the lab building to use the science department's telescope to look at the stars. I stole the school blueprints in order to navigate the underground tunnels of the campus. I even broke into the basement of the clock tower in order to have all the time in the world to Jumar up a rope, from the inside, in order to get to the top of it.
No, I needed something more mainstream and more importantly, acceptable to campus security, in order to get my kicks. So I went to the local sporting goods store and bought myself a pair of rollerblades.
The salesman either took one look at my long hair and figured I knew everything there was to know about rollerblades, or he just didn't give a shit—either way he failed to mention that I should also buy wrist guards. I took my new purchase home and immediately found my way to the campus tennis courts. Yeah, yeah, Court, I know, skateboards and roller blades ruin the surface of a tennis court and....just shut the hell up. I needed a flat surface to figure those things out without killing myself.
After a while, I got what I "thought" was fairly proficient in stopping, turning etc. I was ready for the open road. I put on my rollerblades and made my way down a street that had very little traffic on it. It wasn't so hard, and it was kind of cool but I could definitely see that until I learned all those crazy tricks, I likely would be having more run-ins with Bob (oh, he's the head of security—we're on a first name basis).
I passed a sign that said, "road ends around bend 500 feet," thinking I would just turn around when the road ended I kept going around the bend. What the sign failed to mention was that not only did the road end there, but apparently the entire world ended there too, and that 500 feet they casually mentioned was actually a 60 degree down slope. Picking up speed faster than a tweeker left alone inside a meth lab, I applied the oh so handy but completely useless plastic rollerblade brake, leaning back slightly on one foot.
Yeah, that thing worked fine on a tennis court, but it wasn't doing shit for me on a 60 degree decline.
Fortunately for me, the side of the road was a nice grassy embankment and instead of quite literally rolling off the face of the earth I decided to aim my body toward the embankment. I mean what was the worst that could happen? I would likely just slam into it and leave a Wiley Coyote/Andrei-shaped impression in the grass. It seemed like a good plan at the time and everything was going fine except, "OH SHIT, GRAVEL...WAIT WHO THE FUCK WOULD PUT GRAVEL ON THE SIDE OF A ROAD?!"
Oh right, everyone.
It was believed that the Bible drove out the demons, but what was really medically fascinating was that it actually worked.When my rollerblades hit the gravel, my feet went flying up in the air and my right hand went back to break my impact with the ground. Wrist guards. Fucking lazy ass salesman!
The sound I heard was not unlike the crack of a whip, which is never good, unless you're into that kind of thing. I picked myself (and my pride) up off the ground and checked things out. Everything seemed fine...maybe it was just a slight sprain. I walked the mile back to my off campus apartment and by the time I got back it was clear from the amount of swelling that a trip to the emergency room was in order.
Broken, in three places. The ulna, the radius, and the scaphoid bone. For all those non-premed people out there, that is both bones of your arm and a bone in your hand. Fuck!
It was the start of the summer. Gone were all the rock climbing trips, gone was my primary mode of transportation around campus (bike), SHIT, gone was my life guarding job and all my money! I got casted and proceeded with the "summer of shame" as it has now come to be known. I healed really quickly and gained full mobility back, but there was always this nagging twinge in my wrist from that day forward.
Over time the twinges in my wrist got worse. And what's more, I developed this little bump on the back of my hand. At first it was imperceptible, but after many arguments with myself over whether or not it was growing, it became clear I needed a return trip to the doctor.
He x-rayed my wrist and told me that it healed perfectly, almost too perfectly given the severity of the injury. I kind of blanked out what he said after that because I was day dreaming about being a superhero with regenerative properties. Then I was pulled back into reality by the words "Ganglion Cyst."
Ganglion Cyst?! What the fuck is that?
Apparently, after an injury, your joint can leak fluid through a one-way valve, thus filling a little balloon with thick, viscous joint fluid that applies pressure to nerves and causes discomfort in the way of twinges. He informed me that there were only two things he could do: drain it or operate on it. Or I could just leave it alone and live with it. Well I wasn't about to leave it alone because it was starting to look like someone had grafted a small marble under my skin and not only did it hurt, it was fucking gross. So I opted for draining it. But apparently "draining it" meant sticking a large bore needle into it and sucking out the fluid without any real anesthetic.
Now "large" bore needle and "fluid" doesn't quite accurately describe what happened next. That doctor took what I can only describe as a straw with a point on it and jabbed it into the bump on the back of my wrist. I believe my exact words were, "AAGGHHHHH YOU MOTHER FUCKER, THAT ISN'T A NEEDLE, THAT'S A JAVELIN WITH A HOLE THROUGH IT!!!" He then proceeded to draw the..."fluid" out of it.
Fluid, my ass! I'm a scientist and I know the definition of a fluid. This stuff had the consistency and look of rubber cement, AFTER it hardens. He then informed me that it would likely return over time due to stress to the joint, and that there are only two real good ways to get rid of them when draining doesn't work.
I looked at him sideways and said, "Wait, two ways? You failed to mention something other than operating on it."
He replied that he had told me there were only two things HE could do. I, on the other hand, had the option of hitting it with a Bible.
WAIT, WHAT THE FUCK?! I JUST LET A BIBLE THUMPING WACK JOB STICK A NEEDLE THE SIZE OF A PENCIL IN MY WRIST?!?
But he was no wack job, dear readers, the man was a genius. He went on to explain that in the old days this was called a Bible Bump and was believed to be caused by demons (bear with me here). Apparently, the predominant way to cure it was to WHACK it with the only softbound book in the house that EVERYONE, even the poor, owned: a Bible.
It was believed that the Bible drove out the demons, but what was really medically fascinating was that it actually worked. Hitting the cyst ruptures the bubble and allows your body to simply reabsorb the fluid, and any other new fluid now has nowhere to collect, causing the cyst to never form again. Operating does the same thing because they rip up the bubble, but draining it just creates a tiny hole that eventually reseals.
He told me that if it was him, he would hit it. It wasn't something the medical world allows doctors to actually do for their patients (for obvious reasons), but the cysts did eventually come to be known as "Gideon's Disease" because of the most effective cure known.
I left his office wondering if he was a medical genius and quite the historian, or an all-out Bible-thumping quack (literally). After some online research I found many testimonies of people having their cysts drained only to have them return, and some who had them operated on only to return in other spots on their hand. I only found a few references to "whacking it" but no one who actually could bring themselves to do it, so it was often cited as an urban legend.
Time passed and because of the stress I put on my wrists while rock climbing, the cyst reformed bigger than before it was drained. The idea of operating on it and trading a bump for a scar wasn't very appealing, and there was no way I was going to drain it again because that shit hurt like hell and wasn't a permanent fix.
So I set my mind to whacking it. For about a week I had this internal argument with myself.
Andrei for: Just hit it, and be done with it.
Andrei against: Dude, that's an urban legend and I'm not going to hit myself with a fucking bible.
Andrei for: What if it works and goes away?
Andrei against: If this was something that actually worked, it would be well known and not complete hear say.
Andrei for: That's just because no one is hardcore enough to do it.
Andrei against: I don't even own a bible, idiot.
Andrei for: It doesn't matter what book it is, it is the medical science of rupturing it. Use The Joy of Cooking, you fucking pansy!
Andrei against: FINE! I'll hit it!
Andrei for: Good, just do it!
Andrei against: Wait, this is the wrist I broke in three places, and you want me to hit it?!
Andrei for: YES, as hard as you can, without breaking it again.
Andrei against: No wait, let me think about this some more.
Andrei for: You're such a pussy!
Back and forth we/I went until, one day, I was passing by my bookcase and saw The Joy of Cooking. (What? Don't judge, a man has to eat doesn't he?) An all-too-familiar voice came into my head: "Just do it before you lose the nerve, you big weenie."
I snatched that book off the shelf, put my hand on the table and brought that heavy tome down on my wrist like I was playing that hammer game at a circus.
To say that the pain was excruciating would be the understatement of the year, but to tell you the truth I didn't even care because I was more focused on the sound. What I heard could only be described as a POP followed by a slight warming sensation. My mind quickly raced as to whether or not I had just re-broken my wrist or popped the cyst. I felt my wrist and everything seemed to be fine, and then I felt the bump and it was definitely more squishy than before.
Had I done it? I mean, it was still there but it was definitely different. Over the next two weeks that bump got smaller and smaller and eventually disappeared altogether as the "fluid" slowly drained back into the surrounding tissue. I haven't ever gotten another one since, and I don't have the same twinges in my wrist anymore. So apparently the best and least invasive cure for "Gideon's Disease," "Bible Bumps," or "Ganglion Cysts" is to WHACK THAT THING AS HARD AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN, without breaking your wrist of course. Urban legend dispelled!
Now on to my real conundrum. The Starbucks I used to go to every morning was also frequented by this attractive woman that I would see regularly. I saw her so much that she became one of those people who you see and are eventually obligated to say hello to or smile at, just because you have a place in common with each other. I noticed that she always drank her coffee out of an actual mug instead of the paper cups supplied by the place. I also noticed one day that she had this enormous bump on her wrist and she was obviously self-conscious about it because she went to great lengths to cover it up.
What if, my dear readers?
What if I jumped up on to a chair, pinned her arm down on the table and brought her coffee mug down on that fucking thing so hard that the sound would make pigeons scatter in Central Park? I would then whisper in her ear as she screamed in pain, "You'll thank me later," and leave the place before any of the other customers could finish dialing 911.
So I ask you, dear readers, is it wrong to want to smash a coffee mug into some woman's wrist if it's for her own good?