04 January 2008

Cut & Cauterized

I went in a lot more nervous than needed. Had I known what the five-minute procedure would have felt like, I'd have been as cool as a cucumber. But I didn't, and my uneasy nerves were a constant reminder. Originally, I had asked my mom to go with me. She made the appointment, but when she came home for lunch I told her I could go alone. I'm a grown woman, and this way she wouldn't have to take off work.

"Alyssa," the nurse called my name just in time. I had seen seven or eight patients go before me and the white lined walls above the stiff chairs with worn wooden armrests were starting to get to me. The beginning was routine. Weight...yikes. (I know I had a big lunch and I had shoes and clothes on, but maybe I ought to hit the Rec this afternoon.) Temp.: 99.1. A little higher than normal, but I felt fine. We turned down the hall to the exam rooms. But then it got different. We kept on walking.

Just past the corner we turned right and into the first door on the left. I guess they have special rooms for procedures. The sign outside the door said "Procedure Room 1." It looked a lot like the exam rooms except for the big light above the table like in a dentist's office (or I suppose an operating room, but I can't speak from experience) and the room was slightly larger, with a counter full of instruments and a little cart with a metal top for sterile instruments.

Dr. Shell came in and asked how I was doing. I told him I wanted my mole taken off. I'd had this thing on my left shoulder since I was little, and it was starting to get in the way. I hit it playing basketball and it bled. I'd bump it when I was drying off after a shower. Besides, if it wasn't there, I wouldn't have to worry and watch it for the ABCDEs of moles: asymmetry, border change and color change, diameter, and elevation. Mine was elevated, but it had always been that way. I've heard bleeding is a warning sign of worse things, but like any skin I'm not surprised it bled when bumped. So, Dr. Shell said they'd do a simple cut and cauterize.

He brought in a nurse to prep the instrument and a medical student to help/observe. He introduced me to the med. student (I think his name was Josh) as a triplet; a former Burlington stud now in college. Stud, he clarified, in basketball. I got nervous as he started explaining to the student how to deaden the area. They took a needle and I looked away, laying flat on my back with my sleeve pulled up. He said I'd feel a sharpness. Psh. It was nothing. Giving blood hurts ten times worse, and I've done that like seven times. Dr. Shell got out a razor and did the rest. I couldn't feel a thing. I didn't look at it either, which probably helped. Then they got this thing that looked like the suction tube when you go to the dentist and cauterized it which is basically like burning it to get it to stop bleeding. No pain, but it smelled. Like burning hair or skin, which was probably exactly what was burning. No stitches, either. Just a band-aid to be worn for a day unless it starts bleeding a little more. It'll look like someone burned me with a cigarette for a few days (nice, huh?) and then it'll be a light-colored scar.

Easy. Because it had been irritated, Dr. Shell said he'd go ahead and have it looked at under a microscope just to be safe. Then he said he'd call me in a week to let me know that it's nothing. Relief. Look at me; I feel brave. :-)
Aach. Around 5:30pm the numbness around the shoulder wore off and it hurt! Kind of like it would if you burned yourself. Like a really bad sunburn in one spot. Constant stinging. Ouchy. I'm taking some ibuprofen and going to bed, hoping I don't forget and roll over on it!


menard said...

ouch! i would be severely scared. i'm a whimp like that!

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