Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Subconscious or not. . .

Allie and I went for a long walk after dinner. Instead of the usual exploration of our neighborhood we made our way toward Main St. The street was blocked by squad cars. As pedestrians, we were allowed through to watch the fire department take care of a fairly nasty car fire. No ambulances (thank goodness). Just a smoldering black hunk of late-model something or other.

As soon as the car fire was behind us we talked about a book on medical mysteries that Allie is reading. She would tell me about one of the diseases in the book and I would come back with whatever gross medical problem I knew something about. The more we talked, the more Allie wanted to hear. This meant each disease had to be more gruesome than the last. After Ebola I wasn't sure where to go so I wound up describing syphilis to my ten year-old.

She asked how syphilis is spread after I began describing how the disease could lead to lesions that would sometimes cause peoples' noses to rot off. The timing of the question was coincidental in that, as of today, Allie is learning about human sexuality in health class. So when I told her that syphilis is sexually transmitted she had all the information she needed.

As I type this I'm really not sure if my subconscious response to Allie's health class was to plant the notion that the consequences of sex can sometimes lead to your nose falling off.

Subconscious or not - I'm pretty sure it was the right thing to do.