Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I know that there are logical, scientific explanations for these 'weird coincidence' events that seem so significant when they happen but really have little significance. I know that, sure, I may be about to tell you about two events that have kind of freaked me out in that "ooooeeeeeooooo" way, but I don't often think about how many things happen to me on any given day that DON'T wind up in a strange coincidence, and I've probably been due for some kind of connection between events, because that's the way the world works.

I know all this, but I don't really want to think about it, because that would take all the fun out of weird random things happening. Not that either of these things is especially fun. They're just...random. [Hey, I'm trying here! Give me a break!]

The first one: About two weeks ago, my editor at Time emailed to ask me (and a bunch of other writers) for the names of important and influential scientists who might not be the obvious folks already on everyone's radar. Because I've been doing a lot of parenting stuff these days (have you seen the relaunched-but-still-being-redesigned ParentsConnect?) and very little science stuff, I ignored the email, figuring I didn't know of anyone that would fit the bill. But then, a couple of days later, when I couldn't sleep, I thought of a scientist I had written about a lot in my days in university PR. And so, for the first time in about two years, I googled his name, just to see where he was in his experiments on a pretty cool device that might one day make a big difference in a lot of peoples' lives. I didn't see much beyond what I'd written about two years ago, which was pretty preliminary, so I went back to bed.

The VERY NEXT DAY, I got a call from the PR office where I used to work--the first such call since I left there, mind you--asking me if I'd be interested in doing a piece for a new patient/alumni magazine they're launching on behalf of the medical school. A piece on the doctor whose name I'd been googling not twelve hours earlier. An update piece on the exciting work he's doing, because nobody has written about him since I left.

C'mon. That's a little spooky/weird/coincidental, right?

Then, yesterday, as a result of my continuing effort to habitually dispense medical advice without a license, I got an email from one of my colleagues at ParentsConnect, asking me my opinion on whether or not she should get tubes for her son, who has had recurrent ear infections. I sent her a long email, talking about how much the tubes had helped both my kids, and how it had virtually 'cured' them of getting ear infections, especially N, who had his put in at 18 months and hasn't had an infection in the five-and-a-half years since.

Which of course meant that, this morning, I woke up to hear N crying in his bed, and when I went to him to ask what was the matter--he's my relatively cheerful waker-uper, so crying in the morning is pretty unusual--he just pointed to his right ear. At which point, I immediately began wishing for a time machine, so I could go back one day and beat the crap out of myself before I could write those jinxing words about the five-and-a-half years.

Yeah, yeah, I know I didn't actually cause N to suddenly develop pus behind his tympanic membrane. Well, I mean, I know it, but I don't actually believe it. Science and logic be damned. I don't mind so much when something I google in the middle of the night earns me a nice chunk o' change in freelance fees, but when boasting about my kid's health makes them sick...then I get pissed.

[A funny little coda to all this: As I was proofreading the above, my sister called, and asked what I was up to. I told her that I had taken N to the doctor because I gave him an ear infection. "What?" she said. I explained the above, ending by saying, "I mean, I know I didn't give him an ear infection, but..." and she interrupted me. "No. You TOTALLY gave him an ear infection. Oh my god, I'm totally convinced that you did."

This, my friends, is why I love my sister so much. She understands.]


Erin MacPherson said...

Oh my gosh, now I feel bad that I kinda sorta caused N's ear infection.... poor thing!

Anonymous said...

I am not a doctor either, but ear tubes are one of my pet peeves. They are overused and in a majority of cases they are unnecessary. If a kid has fluid in the ear for like 6 months straight, okay but if the kid just has recurrent ear infections, no. Look at the Am. Acad of Pediatrics and see what they say.