by J. R. Practix
Ablation: n. 1. the surgical removal of body tissue 2. the removal of snow and ice by melting or evaporation, typically from a glacier or iceberg.
I guess I’m familiar with both types of ablations.
When I was a kid, our house sat on a small hill, completely covered by trees. So in the winter, when snow fell in our back yard, there were patches of turf which were untouched by sunlight due to the covering of the branches and therefore, the accumulated ice would not melt, even when May Day came around.
My mother would ask me to go into the back yard and dislodge the frozen precipitation from our yard so little kids wouldn’t slip on it on their way to play ballgames on our property. I seriously doubt if any kid would ever have slipped on the ice. The patch was only about five feet long and a foot and a half wide. But you don’t argue with your mother. She always has a second and third more boring reason for doing things which she will be more than happy to reiterate to you, and also controls the purse strings and access to kitchen treats.
I will tell you–this ice was determined. It had survived some very warm April days and had seen all of its friends dissipate into a watery grave as they drizzled down the hillside.
So I chipped at it with a shovel, dislodging some pieces, and actually had to dig up some of the ice, which had developed a deep and lasting relationship with the underlying grass and dirt. Not certain of where to take these leftover pieces of winter, I walked them over to our trash barrel, placed them in there and set some pieces of paper on fire in an attempt to melt them.
It was amazing how long it took for the ablation to have its complete effect.
Ice and fire.
You would think that fire would have the advantage, but ice really does hang in there, melding itself into a harder and harder nugget of determined cold.
I also had a tumor removed from my body at one time, which was a rather strange sensation. It hurt very badly, but no one believed I actually had an internal problem, so the doctors attempted to treat it externally. One day it just popped. Turns out there were two in there–one which exploded and drained (have I lost you yet?) and another which had to be surgically removed.
That second was quite similar to my back yard ice.
I was always curious about how long that ice would have lasted in my backyard had my mother not insisted on relegating it to the trash can. I guess I am also curious about whether my second tumor would have taken care of itself like the first one did.
But I also see a time and place for ablation. And now I have a much better word for it, which I can show off in those embarrassing times when ice and soft tissue need to be dramatically removed.