I donít think Iíve ever written a column about pain, pus and blood before. Do I have your attention?

I donít think Iíve ever written a column about pain, pus and blood before. Do I have your attention?

Iíve lived a charmed life regarding health issues. For some odd reason for which Iím forever grateful, I virtually never catch the standard array of maladies sneezing and handshaking their way through society.

Iíve been blessed with absence of aches and pains that seem to stroll hand in hand with most folks through advancing age. Iíve thought much about why I seem to successfully dodge so many bad things.

Rightly or wrongly I give a lot of credit to my childhood history. Like most of my contemporaries, there was seldom a day that I didnít get cut, scratched, bruised or skinned.

Back then, something was always healing from games and sports and horsing around. Also during those halcyon growing-up years, I was none too careful about diet.

Iíve eaten dirt ó on a dare ó and no telling how many bugs on camping trips. Oh yeah, Iíve shared countless Pepsis with friends, pulling swigs from the bottle and passing it around.

Good sense tells me I mustíve been attacked by armies of bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites and other bad things. Naturally I wasnít aware of internal battles my body constantly fought on my behalf.

Looking back I believe those battles created a serious stockpile of defensive resistances from which Iíve benefited all of my life. My parents didnít raise me in a bubble, and I have a bunch of tiny scars and sweet memories as evidence.

Back to the present: A couple of weeks ago a large knot appeared under my left arm. It alarmed me because stuff like this just doesnít happen in my life.

It got bigger and it got sore. It also had ďbabiesĒ as other knots rose around it. I asked my family doctor about it and he suggested I see a surgeon.

I didnít like the sound of that, but itís stupid to ask your trusted physician for guidance and then ignore what he says. My wife Ann called around and finally got me an appointment for the first week in September.

Meanwhile ďThe ThingĒ was getting worse and September began looking like a bridge too far. Ann called them asking they get me in whenever they might have a cancellation. They agreed and true to their word, I went in the other day.

The doctor warned me that because of swelling, infection and pus his pain juice probably wouldnít numb it very well. In the words of Steve Irwin, ďCrikey, he knew what he was talking about!Ē

He worked on it for two days, although my watch said it was just an hour. From the get-go this thing was reminiscent of those ďAlienĒ movies with space creatures erupting from humans.

Weíll know when results of samples the doctor sent for analyses come back. If these are from another world, I want to know why they came here under Otis Gardnerís left arm and didnít use our southern borders like everybody else.

Mulder and Scully would know.

Otis Gardnerís column appears here weekly. He can be reached at ogardner@embarqmail.com.