Will you please find my Ovary?

by Trudi York Gardner

I'm lying on the padded table with my feet up in the fuzzy pink sock-covered stirrups when my gynecologist, who's been using what resembles a giant microphone to investigate, declares,"Well, everything looks fine on the ultrasound, except I can't find your right ovary." She chuckles.

She proceeds to explain that as one ages, those little devils, the ovaries, shrink to the size of raisins or similar dried fruit.

I know better.

"Will you please find my ovary?" I ask plaintively. Or plaintiff-ly, depending on whether I decide this is worthy of a medical malpractice suit.

She can't.

She dons her miner's hat and explores, using a solar-heated speculum on a day the sun wasn't shining. On my urging she presses on various body parts to see if the ovary is hiding in my abdomen, along my spine, in my buttocks, down my throat. Nada.

I know the ovary wasn't very happy with me, since I pumped ten years' of hormone replacement therapy into it. And many times I would've traded it in for a testicle, considering the advantages. But an ovary shouldn't just disappear, especially since I wasn't making any more demands on it for baby-making. Why couldn't it just retire gracefully, appreciate its surroundings, join AARP?

A chill came over me. The disappearance of my ovary is one more proof that human extinction is occurring.

Researchers at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) recently reported that vulnerability to extinction runs in certain species and that some human activities threaten "some...lineages of living vertebrates more than others." Now I've known for years that my body is evolving faster than the average person's. For example, my teeth are the size of baby white corn. A dentist told me that the evolutionary change in teeth is toward smaller teeth so even though my gums appear to be sucking up my teeth, I'm actually ahead of the evolutionary curve. My eyelashes have almost disappeared as well. I stopped using an eyelash curler after I was routinely curling my eyelids. It's depressing buying Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara and realizing it only works for you as a shoe polish.

Other evidence of my body's fast-track evolution: my right big toe extends way farther out than the others; my right breast droops lower than the left; and my right arm is an inch and a half longer than my left. This is when I'm grateful not to be a guy, endowed with a sagging right ball requiring a sling.

The Joy of Extinction

There is hopeful news about this evolution-leading-to-extinction theory. Within a few generations, if scientists such as at Walnut Creek's local Joint Genome Institute speed up their investigations and finish sequencing genes (i.e., putting them in order in a giant Rolodex), they might determine which of our unpopular relatives' descendents will soon be extinct! I think about my Uncle Howard who walked out on my wedding reception because he thought his table seating was too close to the restroom; my aunt Betsy whose hand-me-downs to my sister and me included stained underpants; an uncle who used to grind out his cigarettes on our carpets; a well-heeled lawyer-cousin who gifted us with a used Huckleberry Hound chip-and-dip bowl; my mother's niece who told my mother to never darken her door again, especially in Sherwin-Williams' high gloss black.

The descendents of these relatives do not deserve to continue the inherited policies of their ancestors. I am not certain what Creationists are doing to cull or glean the cadres of relatives who show up to family dinners or drop by to stay at length on summer visits. Praying for an obnoxious or abrasive relative to be a"no-show" rarely works, and it's only a short-term solution. I'll take my chances that science will uncover how long these lines of relatives will continue to inflict their special torture, like bringing to dinner the same fruitcake that requires a chainsaw to slice, or demanding personal information ("Your Timmy is such a sweet two-year old. Do you suppose he's got a good disposition or that he's gay?").

When I consider that, without warning, my favorite lipstick stops being manufactured; my favorite flavor of ice cream (Marshmallow Tuna Swirl) is discontinued; and the one-and-only bra that fits - the popular #78261525552a - is no longer available, I look forward to the time all screwball relatives will have been phased out by evolution. Quietly disappeared.

Like my ovary.

About the Author: An accomplished writer, Trudi's work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, The Sacramento Bee and The Oregonian. She is a past nominee for a Pushcart Prize and blogs regularly at Tygerpen.

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