Last week, I went to see my dermatologist and ended up needing to get a biopsy (it’s a “just to be 100% sure scenario – my doctor is very confident it’s nothing serious). I had never gotten a biopsy before, but the doctor assured me it would be quick and easy. An extra 10 minutes of my time and a couple stitches.
I was a little nervous, but he put me at ease.
Now, I’ve only seen my dermatologist once before, so we haven’t spent much time in the same room, but I really like him. He’s very thorough, doesn’t seem like he’s rushing, and he’s always open to questions. He’s really soft spoken and kind. And he’s always got a smile to offer, which is very refreshing.
So he left his nurse to do the prep work, which in this case just meant a shot of local anaesthetic to the top of my foot. That was another first for me. The nurse warned me it would sting before going numb, and she was right.
“Wow!” I said, laughing nervously, “You weren’t kidding!”
“Yeah, it’s got a bite to it, for sure. It’s an acidic base – well, basically, it’s like injecting an acid into your skin, so…”
She left me to my own devices for a few minutes to allow the anaesthetic to do its thing. I mostly just wished I had brought my Kobo with me to the examining table, because it was kind of a boring wait and hopping to the other side of the room at that point didn’t seem like a great decision. I noticed the top of my foot was turning really white all around where the nurse had injected the anaesthetic. “Weird,” I thought to myself, “But probably normal.”
A few minutes later, my doctor returned.
“Just lay back and relax,” he said, “Look at that – your foot turned nice and white! Ha!”
“Yeah, I noticed that – it’s so strange!”
“Yep, it does that – totally normal!”
The doctor chuckled to himself.
“Can you imagine if I had come back in here and looked at that and gone, ‘OH MY GOD!’ and run out the door for backup?”
(Inner monologue: “Hey, my doctor’s joking with me! That’s funny!”)
“Ha Ha Ha! Yeah, that would be hilarious! And alarming! But funny!”
“That would be so funny! Oh my god. Can you imagine? Just ‘OH NO!’ and out the door. TOO FUNNY!”
“Yeah.” I laughed again.
(Inner monologue: “This guy’s kind of kooky. I like it! Especially after the last three months of asshole doctors and no-show doctors I’ve dealt with in trying to figure out my knee injury. This is great!”)
“OH MY GOD! Ha Ha Ha Ha!”
(Inner monologue: “Oooookay. Let’s do this thing. Procedure time. Business time.”)
As my doctor started getting more seriously prepared to do the biopsy, he continued to joke around.
“I should do that! I should totally do that!”
(Inner monologue: “Are you cutting into my foot yet?”)
“Just, ‘OH MY GOD! It’s not supposed to look like that!’ Ha Ha Ha!”
“Do it to someone you know, definitely.”
(Inner monologue: “I wish I could see what’s going on down there. Scratch that – no I don’t. I’m sure everything’s fine.”)
“Yeah, totally to someone I know. Otherwise I’d get in trouble with the board!”
“No doubt, ha ha…”
(Inner monologue: “Business time! Right?”)
At this point, I couldn’t help but wonder if my doctor focusing on the task at hand. A different nurse came in and he repeated the whole story to her, laughing away.
“Seriously, though! I have to do it! Can you imagine the board, too? I’d be standing in front of them like, ‘It was a joke!’ and no one would be laughing! Ha!”
(Inner monologue: “ARE YOU DONE CUTTING A PIECE OF MY FOOT OFF?”)
“Toooooooooo funny. I have to do it.”
I smiled at him, and then at the nurse who was laughing along even though she spoke almost no English. We had officially moved into awkward territory.
I have to say, while it confused the hell out of me, it was a great distraction from what was going on, which was maybe my doctor’s tactic the entire time. It kind of made me like him even more. But also, it definitely caught me off guard. Maybe I needed to lighten up? Maybe the world of medicine could benefit from more laughs in the examination room?
Whatever the answer to those questions, I walked out of there with two new life lessons:
(A) In my mind, that is exactly what going to see Ken Jeong as a doctor would be like.
(B) While I love a little humour and light-heartedness at my doctor’s appointments, I guess I’m a little more uptight than I thought. I’ve got a definite limit before I start to wonder if your framed license and degree came from the Internet.*
*I’m kidding, of course. My dermatologist rocks.
P.S. Having stitches is weird. I’ve never had stitches before, and they’re driving me crazy. They don’t hurt anymore or anything. It’s just the fact that they’re there. There are KNOTS. Like, in my SKIN. THERE ARE KNOTS IN MY SKIN. And I can see them! And I’m paranoid they’re gonna catch on everything even though I cover them with a bandage. And I want to CUT THEM OFF.
So that’s been my last four or five days. Just thinking about stitches and how fucking weird they are.
Here’s a bonus life lesson: I’m far too neurotic for stitches.
(I didn’t cut them off. Yet. I have to wait until the 26th to do that.)
P.P.S. Today makes it official: I’m two-thirds of the way through this 365-day project. Insane.