A Tuna Fish Sandwich With a Side of Elephantiasis Please

Lunch started out normal enough.  On the menu: three tuna fish sandwiches (two with mustard), one peanut butter and honey sandwich, cottage cheese, and wheat thins.

At first the conversational hum was about passing the crackers or requests for a napkin.  Then, with a spoonful of cottage cheese raised half way to his mouth, Cody asked “what is diphtheria?”  Several weeks ago Cody came home from school with a new library book all about the Siberian Husky and there is a chapter dedicated to the great serum run of 1925.  What, you don’t know what that is?  Well neither did I so let me enlighten you.  Basically many people in Nome Alaska came down with diphtheria and required a life saving serum, the nearest supply of which was located over 1,000 miles away in Anchorage.  Several dogsled teams worked together to get the serum to the people as quickly as possible by working together.  At this part in the story I always stress how important teamwork is and isn’t is nice how they all worked together, blah, blah, blah, you know things moms should say.  As a side note, Cody has now been asking for a Siberian Husky as a pet much more often than his old standby, the peacock.


So back to lunch.  Husband, who was working out of the house and had the pleasure of dining with us, tells him that diphtheria is a disease.  In true inquisitive five year old form Cody wants to know what other diseases there are.  I start talking about such fascinating diseases as malaria, the bubonic plague, Ebola, and cholera.  I thought I showed great self restraint by not going into detail about cholera cots, an image that has forever been burned into my mind by my infectious disease college professor over ten years ago.  Husband brings up influenza and the common cold.  How, well, common.  So as not to end our lunchtime conversation of diseases on a dull note, I bust out with elephantiasis.

Elephantiasis is really quite interesting or rather filarial elephantiasis is.  In a complex interplay; microscopic pathogenic worms are injected into a human via an infected mosquito and move into the human’s lymphatic system where it breeds and grows.  Within the worms reside a bacteria that, when the worms die and decay, are released into the bloodstream.  So your lymphatic system not only gets all clogged up by the procreating worms but your immune system continues to freak out causing a chronic lymphatic inflammatory response.  The body increases the production of connective tissue resulting in thick and hardened skin and gross enlargement of  mainly the lower extremities.

So that is how during our lunchtime conversation we came to talk about massive scrotums, large enough to sit on that required the use of a wheelbarrow to aid in mobility.


Seriously, do other people have such interesting lunchtime conversations or is it just us?

About Shoes

I am an elementary school teacher, a former microbiologist, a mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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10 Responses to A Tuna Fish Sandwich With a Side of Elephantiasis Please

  1. Hetterbell says:

    I have to admit we’ve never quite had THAT conversation over lunch, but I find myself cringing all too often about some of the things we end up discussing over meals! 😀

  2. Wow — that picture woke me up this morning! I have many such conversations to look forward to, I am sure!

    • shoes says:

      Good morning! 🙂
      Conversations with children are pretty fun but one must be prepared to discuss the unusual and bizarre. It is a good think I enjoy such things.

  3. Jodi says:

    Holy Shit. Can I say Holy Shit on your blog?

    I am of course referring to the picture of the men with enlarged scrotums.

    The discussion topic at lunch does not surprise me at all, we are very open to most conversations in our house and have at one time or another rather bizarre topis of conversation.

    I had forgotten your background in microbiology but was reminded once you began explaining Elephantiasis. Then I got freaked out, how likely is it that I can be infected by a mosquito? Do I need to call the bug man and ask him to kill everything that flies in my yard?

    I also need to tell you I almost spit my coffee when I read about Cody’s choices of animals, naturally I was not surprised by the Husky, but the peacock caught me off guard. 🙂

  4. shoes says:

    Yes, Jodi feel free to swear away. Since I am around my kids 25 hours a day I have very little opportunity to swear so I tend not to swear on my blog because it seems almost forced. But before kids – totally different matter completely.

    I suppose I should have included in my brief explaination of elephantiasis that it is found mostly in tropical and subtropical locations so your backyard mosquito, while nasty and dirty in general, is not going to infect you with this. Infections diseases are in no way something I have lots of experience with, I just find them fascinating. I worked mostly with algae (as a possible source of biofuel), indoor air quality, and environmental testing of a nutraceutical company.

    Cody has been a huge peacock fan since he started talking. He used to tell me he saw them feeding under our birdfeeders! He will not getting a Husky or a peacock as a pet anytime soon.

  5. Cate says:

    I don’t have kids of my own, but I have conversations like this with the kids in my Sunday School class (they’re nine). “What’s a prostitute?” “What is circumcism?” (all from reading the lesson’s Bible verses … sigh…)

    My favorite was during prayer request time – “We need to pray for my uncle, cus he got in trouble for looking at porn on the internet (pause) what’s porn?” You never know what will come out of their mouths! I love it!!

    • shoes says:

      Hahahaha – had I been drinking anything at the time I read your comment, I am quite sure it would have been coming out my nose! I have to ask – how did you handle the question about “what is porn?” Kids – the things they say are so unpredictable and without filter – I love it too!

      • Cate says:

        I told the kids that porn is usually pictures of people who are naked and that his wife most likely didn’t want him looking at other ladies without their clothes. They’re nine and I felt that was sufficient for them and no one asked a follow up question. Then, we had a side lesson on appropriate prayer requests – ones that would not embarrass others – and how requests made in our room stayed in our room unless the person that the request was about said it was OK to share with everyone. I had visions of them all going home and telling their parens about the uncle (who most of them know) and that they learned what porn was in Sunday School. 🙂

        • shoes says:

          It sounds like you are an expert on handling such delicate topics. Glad there were no follow up questions. 🙂 That child’s uncle would be mortified if he knew.
          Thanks for the comments – hope you have a happy New Year!

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