Pituitary Peas
The pituitary gland is a pea-sized structure…attached to the hypothalamus by a stalklike structure. It is part of the endocrine system of the body… the pituitary plays an important role in the regulation of virtually all aspects of growth, development, metabolism and homeostasis.
Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, Seventh Edition 1993, Tortora, Grabowski

The Princess and the Pea

Like the princess and the pea, twenty mattresses could not protect me,
from the bruising of a pituitary pea.
The Princess and the Pea,
was one of my favorite fairy tales when I was small.

I used to dream I was the princess and I could see
the mattresses piled high and lopsided to the ceiling of the pink stuccoed room
I shared with my older sister.
She in my mind, played the mean lady in waiting,
building up the layered tower, determined to disprove my royal standing.

I dreamed I struggled to climb to the top of the wobbling, swaying pile.
Bound by tangling veils, I tried in vain to rest, tossed and turned all night,
greeted morning with welts, ratted hair, yawns and dark eyes.

Sometimes, I dreamed only of the pea, sure it was poking me from beneath my own single mattress. I would wake to hang over the edge of the bed,
studying the green painted coiled springs and wires beneath by the night light,
sure that I would see the bright green tiny globe wedged there.
I never could find the pea.
I didn't realize it was inside of me.

- Holly W. Graves, 2002

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