Well, since it’s been exactly twelve seconds since I mentioned my skin cancer, I thought I would update you.
I’m having the surgery to remove it this week, and to add insult to injury when the doctor’s office called, they said “we’re calling to confirm your procedure.”
“You mean my surgery?” I asked. Because surgery is more milkable than procedure. A pedicure is a procedure. How dare they.
“Yes, on Wednesday.”
“I will be there for my surgery on Wednesday,” I repeated in an off-stage whisper, making sure everyone without military grade ear plugs heard me.
“Great, see you then!” the surgical receptionist said.
This was our second conversation.
The first was when I called to make an appointment a few weeks ago. I was a bit shaken up, because I received referrals to several doctors, I mean, surgeons.
The first one I called had me on hold for a good five minutes listening to a recording of all the services that the dermatologist had to offer, including a hair removal system, called, alarmingly “The Soprano”.
“So what are you coming in for?” the Soprano procurer asked when she finally took me off hold.
“I’m getting the Mohs surgery,” I announced. And may have sighed for emphasis.
“Mohs, ok,” she said. “Have you already had a biopsy?”
“I certainly have had the biopsy,” I reassured her . “Unfortunately I have skin cancer on my nose.”
Were there a lot of people out there who chose elective Mohs surgery without the benefit of a cancer diagnosis? And was it possible that this person didn’t read my blog? I’m not sure how comfortable I felt entering an environment like that.
But what she said after this convinced me that I wasn’t comfortable.
“Let me explain to you how we do this here,” she began, and I prepared to take notes.
“You’re going to come in with six other people,” she said.
I became alarmed. I knew that some surgical procedures required the patient to come in with a friend, preferably bearing a medium-size gift, who would them escort the patient home, but six! Wow! That was a whole team of assistants that I would need!
Could this surgery be more involved than I thought?
Is it possible that in my bravery, I’d actually downplayed the risk and danger that I was facing?!
“The seven of you will all go in together and the doctor will remove the first layer of skin from each of you and send it to the lab for processing,” the monotone continued.
Hmm. This could be a problem. I have very considerate and wonderful friends, but I wasn’t sure that I could convenience six of them to undergo the surgery with me. Obviously this was needed in case of an emergency skin graft or nose transplant. In other words, my life was at stake, and these so-called “friends” would be waffling.
Yes, I know I hadn’t asked them yet at this point, but I knew if they asked me to go to surgery with them, I’d be reluctant, so I assume that they wouldn’t be eager either. In my defense, though, I have a very low pain threshold. And a very full TV-viewing schedule.
But enough about me. These “friends” have some nerve. In my mind, but still.
Don’t think that I won’t remember this at Christmas.
“And those people who have a “clear” layer will be discharged and the rest of you will stay for a second layer, and so on,” the receptionist was still babbling.
Suddenly I realized that the six other people wouldn’t be friends (yet!) but rather other patients undergoing the same Mohs surgery as I would be facing.
“So we’d all be in some kind of a reverse-assembly line?” I asked. Not that there’s anything wrong with mass surgery, or mass weddings, for that matter, but my personal preference is a lower patient to surgeon ratio.
I decided not to schedule an appointment there.
The next doctor’s office I called did not place me on hold and scheduled an appointment promptly.
I was reassured that I wouldn’t be part of a surgical magical chairs ensemble. Everything seemed to be going well.
So I’m sure you can understand how this downgrading from surgery to procedure has been a slap in the face.
The same face that will be surgically operated on, to boot.
One year ago ...
- From Your Future Doctor - 2013