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defective yeti: The Lost Weeks

Hi there! My name is Matthew Baldwin, though longtime readers may remember me as The Guy Who Used To Update This Website Semi-Reliably.

How was I able to blog five days a week, what with all my other pressing obligations such as taking vitamins and wishing I was an fireman? Well, see, I once used the hours between The Squirrelly's bedtime and my own to update the yeti, do a little freelance writing, maybe chip away at a book or two. It was a pretty good system, and one that served me well ... until the Lost: Season One DVDs started arriving from NetFlix about two weeks ago. Goodbye, free time!

We are between discs at the moment. Hence the post. "Hence," I say!

Let's see, what else is going on? Oh yeah, guess what I got? It's a sixth generation iPod Video, featuring two side-by-side screens that simultaneously display the same images but with key elements slightly offset, so when the viewer slightly crosses his eyes and focuses on an imaginary point 30 inches behind the screen, the two feeds merge into one, glorious, 3-D video!

No, I'm just kidding. What I actually have is a ganglion cyst. AWESOME!

(They are often just referred to as "ganglions," but I thought long and hard about what which word would be the most unpleasant to suddenly encounter while reading an otherwise inoffensive blog entry, and as "cyst" was at the top of the list I made an extra effort to include it.)

Fortunately, ganglions are not one of those bad cysts, the kind that are harbingers of Something Really Bad or that indicate that a critter that is Not You has taken up residence in something that Is You. Instead it's just a slightly tender lump on the back of my left hand where some joint lubrication fluids have accumulated. (Fun fact: This is my -- and possibly the -- first blog post ever including the phrase "joint lubrication fluids."). I'm going to see my doctor about it later this week, but all the literature on ganglions basically say "oh quit crying you big baby -- it's pretty much harmless and will probably go away on its own."

And if it doesn't go away, I can always exorcise it using The Word of God. I don't mean faith healing or anything -- I mean that, in Ye Olde Olden Dayes of Yore, the typical cure for a ganglion was to hit it with a Bible. America's healthcare costs would be a lot lower if more ailments could be cured in this manner:

Husband: Damnit, this runny nose just won't stop.

Wife: I'll get the Gideon

I don't know if we've got a bible around the Baldwin household, but if this thing gets any bigger I may just have to get all Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix on its ass.

The worst thing about this ganglion is that it's so small and innocuous that I'm having trouble getting people to sympathize. When I mentioned it to Torrez, for instance, his first reaction was to sing:

Because your cyst, your cyst, is on my wrist
Because your cyst, your cyst, I can't resist ...
Here some more things that have been occupying my otherwise-woulda-be-blogging moments:

  • You know what's a great blog? Poster Wire, a site completely dedicated to the deconstruction of movie posters. I love it because its focus seems like a topic that no one could expound upon for more than three minutes without becoming a crashing bore, and yet every post is fascinating. Likewise: Gluten-Free Girl.
  • I've never played the Magic: The Gathering card game, but I recently downloaded Duels Of The Planeswalkers from The Underdogs and, despite the title having a few too many plurals, the game has pretty effectively hoovered up any crumbs of free time that Lost left behind.
  • The Queen and I watched The Aristocrats, a documentary about the world's dirtiest joke. The movie, like the titular joke, goes on and on and on, but it's amazing that Penn Jillette was able to craft a 90 minute film about a single joke that mostly manages to keep the viewer laughing and interested. If you don't know the Aristocrats joke -- well, my first suggestion would be to rent this film. But if you've just got to know, you can hear one of the many tellings here. Warning: Only work safe if your office door is closed, the volume is turned all the way down, and no one in your place of business speaks English.

  • Links! Yes, exactly. I haven't even seen the movie and thought this was hilarious. Mesmerizing.

Posted on January 30, 2006 to dy


Ewww, the bump in that picture was gross!

(Good thing all five of mine are on my head, hidden by my hair. :)

Posted by: Jennifer on January 30, 2006 9:21 PM

We watched the first 25 episodes of lost in 6 days to get caught up for season 2. That was a bad week for work, blogging, and sleep.

Your olden days ganglion cure brings a whole new meaning to "Bible Thumping." ouch.

Posted by: Keith on January 30, 2006 9:36 PM

Acupuncture works as a treatment for cysts. My da's ganglion cyst kept coming back after multipule surgeries until he got acupuncture for back pain and it went away.
It's apparently one of those weird side-effects that actually good.

Posted by: cameron on January 30, 2006 9:43 PM

God help me but I actually found the whole ganglion cyst thing kind of fascinating. (I wanted to be a doctor. No, really!) I hope you feel better soon and please do update us about your cyst.

State of the Union, yeah, that about sums it up.

Posted by: ozma on January 30, 2006 9:44 PM

Are you kidding me? You listed my website under the great category? This is the best thing that ever happened to me. Okay, maybe not the best, but it's right up there. I've been bestowed with the Defective Yeti award.

Seriously, thanks.

Oh, and thanks for the warning about Lost. I've been frightened to put it on my list, assuming I'd just lose days of my life. If you see a long lapse of time without postings on my site, you'll know what happened.

Posted by: shauna on January 30, 2006 9:53 PM

my theory: "the aristocrats" is an elaborate hoax. you'd never heard of that joke before hearing about the movie, and penn is exactly the guy to pull off such a scam. think about it.

Posted by: bruceo on January 30, 2006 10:15 PM

Bible Warts are the new Carpal Tunnel. Welcome to the In crowd.

I heard about the joke The Aristocrats before the movie was out, but not much before. I thought it was a hoax then.

Posted by: art wells on January 30, 2006 10:22 PM

"They occur more often in the 20 - 40 age group and in females."-- Is there something you aren't telling us? :)

Posted by: Wende on January 30, 2006 10:46 PM

I had one of those ganglion cysts, the result of breaking my wrist several years earlier. I went to the doctor who said that when it got hard or bigger they would drain it. Surgery was also mentioned.

Fortunately (?), I got rid of it on a run. Yes, a run. Well, a run and trip on the sidewalk involving two skinned knees and a skineed shoulder as I tucked and rolled onto the cement. But I caught myself on the ganglion hand, and as I limped bloodily back to my car, I saw the cyst expand and then disappear forever.

Thus I recommend a nice trip to take care of that cyst. ;-)

Posted by: Anita on January 31, 2006 5:14 AM

I used to play Magic, even was in a few small, local tournaments and did fairly well. However, I always thought the fun was coming up with my own deck, playing it, and tweeking it. It got to the point were the winning-is-everything jackasses would get on the internet and find the decks that won the big national tournaments, and then just buy the cards to make them up and play them. After hitting a Stasis deck two times in a row, I hung it up in disgust. Which was a relief to my wallet, because Wizards started releasing new cardsets like every month, and it was tough to keep up.

Posted by: C. on January 31, 2006 5:15 AM

Dude - not only did you refer us to a wiki ref that says the ganglions occur mostly in FEMALES (and shows a distinctive 'limp wrist' photo) but it reminded me of your assessment of your wrists as "slender" and "girlish" in this post: http://www.defectiveyeti.com/archives/001449.html

Please. For the greater good of The Squirrely, please make sure he is exposed to a male role model as he grows.

Posted by: Jim Johnston on January 31, 2006 6:30 AM

"Hit it with a bible" is actually what my husband's doctor recommended for his, as an alternative to surgery. And that's exactly how he got rid of it, except he used a drilling rig (when he tripped running up the derrick while big seas were rolling the rig a lot). Still, I figure in the present US political climate, that's pretty much the same thing. That was over a decade ago and it hasn't come back, either.

Posted by: salt on January 31, 2006 7:01 AM

ach barf, my brother-in-law has one of those on his wrist. So whenever it pops up and we are all at a family get together he likes to torture all the "women-folk" by making us touch it or rubbing it on our arm in some sick way.


excuse me I think i just threw up in my mouth a little...

Posted by: Ceece on January 31, 2006 7:03 AM

I had one of those as a youngster. It was in my right wrist and it hurt real bad. I hated it. I tried hard to use a dictionary (we were not a religious family) to dispose of it but I guess I could never bring myself to hit hard enough.

Posted by: shirky on January 31, 2006 7:39 AM

I had one of those cysts - it just showed up on the wrist I had broken a year earlier. The orthopedist (who had set the wrist) said there were 3 things to try - hit it with a book, surgery, or just leave it alone. I went with option 3, and like 2 weeks later it just disappeared.

Posted by: Andy on January 31, 2006 8:50 AM

"Pheonix" should be spelled "Phoenix." Don't you remember that old mnemonic from your childhood? "E before O, except when referring to a mythological fiery Egyptian bird-creature."

Posted by: Jake Boone on January 31, 2006 10:27 AM

I now have the urge to giggle whenever I see the words 'ganglian cyst,' which is almost never, but still...

Posted by: Esther on January 31, 2006 1:12 PM

Wow, thanks for the diagnosis! I apparantly have a ganglion cyst at the base of my index finger. And here I thought it was time to update my will.

Posted by: Anonymous on January 31, 2006 2:02 PM

At first I thought Ganglion was a brand name, and the Cyst was part of their product line. Maybe since you were just talking about iPods. Yeah, sure I figured you out after a second, but I'm kind of sad that I did. The other thing was way less icky.
If I ever start a high-tech company we're going to be called Ganglian and our personal MP3 player will be called The Cyst. And... here's the cool part... it will be surgically implanted under your skin, recharge itself off of your stomach acid, upload music wirelessly, and feed audio signals directly to your brain. Unfortunately, it'll be the only product we release before changing our name to Pilonidal.

Posted by: johnbai on January 31, 2006 2:35 PM

Oh Good! Another Lostie! I watch 2 hours of TV a week. The 30 minutes before LOST, LOST, and the 30 minutes after. That non-LOST time is usually just the TV is on in the other room...either because I don't want to risk missing a single second, or because I headed straight into an IM convo with another obsessed fan!

I actually had to figure out how to use the RECORD feature of my VCR so I can keep copies of the eppy's. Which also means I had to set the dang clock too! Trouble, trouble, trouble...

When you figure it out let me know....I gave up trying to figure out whether someone is good/bad/alive/dead/whatever and just enjoy it. Found it was safer for my sanity than obsessing.

Posted by: April on January 31, 2006 4:03 PM

My mother has a gangleon cyst and her docter also parroted the bible advice, but with one caveat.
He says to have GRANDMA hit it with a bible. The bible cuz it's big and heavy, and grandma because she's not too strong and won't crush the other important bones of your hand.
If the squirrley's aim is up to the task, he might be "weak" enough to suffice.

Posted by: Micah on January 31, 2006 4:24 PM

So I have to find out about your ganglian cyst from the internet!!!!!

Posted by: Mom on January 31, 2006 7:30 PM

I had this same thing in college. I was a violin player with recurring tendonitis in my left wrist (occupational hazard), and the cyst showed up on the back of my hand and would NOT go away. It got to be rather large and quite painful. I tried a number of things to get rid of it, including the book method which only made my hand sore. The doctor gave me a shot of cortizone that swelled my whole hand up to really impressive proportions, but when the swelling went down, it was still there.

I even took Vioxx for it for a little, which actually did reduce the cyst and eliminate the pain. Problem was, if I stopped taking the medicine, not only did the cyst come back but I developed swelling in completely unrelated areas. Weird as hell, and no surprise to me that they eventually took that stuff off the market. I had to be carefully weaned off of it.

Surgery was mentioned, but fortunately I found something else that worked. I immobilized the wrist in a splint for about a month. Seems extreme, but less extreme than surgery in my mind. When the splint came off, the cyst was gone. Never came back, either.

Sorry to be so long-winded, I've just never thought to go looking for internet info and it's interesting to see someone I know of with the same problem.

Posted by: lizzybeth on February 2, 2006 10:38 AM

Alas, I can relate to hours of addictive LOST watching. My partner and I don't have cable, so we rent movies. We stumbled upon the LOST series and haven't been able to turn back.

Sorry to hear about your wrist cyst.

I love your space. I also stumbled upon it and will probably become addicted to checking up on you, on occasion. At least until Season 1 of your life has ended and I must figure out how to download Season 2 because, well, it's not available any other way.

Posted by: Connie on February 3, 2006 5:28 PM

Ganglion cyst? Me, too. Just coming off meds.

Might be exacerbated by blogging, so doc said to raise my mouse.

Posted by: No Blood for Hubris on February 4, 2006 1:23 PM

Hi, I've had a couple of those cysts and each time they went away when I played some volleyball. I don't know who can hit themselves hard enough with a book, but the quick bending-back action of volleyball seems to do the trick. Maybe it pops?

Posted by: wetinportland on February 4, 2006 1:47 PM

I get ganglions periodically on my right wrist. VERY ANNOYING and occasionally painful.

If it is sore or aching, Motrin is generally effective. As are HOT damp washclothes applied every few minutes. Ice works not at all.

They do, indeed, go away on their own. However, it takes a while and you kind of need to treat your hand and wrist gently for it to go away faster. Behaving as though you have Carpal Tunnel is good for that.

Posted by: Liz on February 4, 2006 6:32 PM

Ganglion cysts can be horrible. I was totally debilitated for months because of one on the top of my wrist. I had surgery to remove it. I also had great results with cortisone shots, but it only lasts a few months.
The best thing for me was surgery, then accupuncture to help with the soft tissue healing.
I reccomend Dr. Thomas Trumble at the UW.

Posted by: Gin on February 7, 2006 10:05 AM

My favourite version of the joke was told one of the female comics (sorry, bad with names). The act ended with the family having strawberries with cream, and was called the C***ing M**f**ers.

That was the best one.

Posted by: doggerelblogger on February 8, 2006 1:16 PM