It was a simple procedure. The dermatologist I’ve gone to for years suggested “now is the time” when I went for my annual check-up a couple of weeks ago. Actually, he probably wouldn’t have said anything, but my kids told me to ask him about it. Once I asked, he said, “Now is the time for it to be removed before it gets any bigger.”
Apparently, for a while now I’ve had a cyst on my back. Actually, it wasn’t bothersome. In fact, until the General pointed it out to me, I didn’t know it was there. Craig said it felt weird when he hugged me. Actually, it wasn’t the experience of hugging me that felt weird. It was the presence of the cyst that felt weird.
Whenever he’d hug me as we greeted each other or bid farewell, he noticed there was something that seemed out of place. Andrea chimed in that she had the same experience. It’s strange how your kids can become so parental when it comes to telling dad what to do. Who knows, maybe they developed the skill set from observing the General? However, the General would be the first to affirm that I don’t do anything I don’t want to do. How’s that for being perceptive? She is really smart!
Of course, when the subject of my back came up for discussion, the General was absolutely no help. She maintained to the kids that she’s been telling me for an inordinate period of time that I needed to ask the dermatologist about my back. Strange isn’t it? The General knows everything and yet she wants me to ask for a second opinion. Unbelievable!
For some reason, my doctor thought it prudent to refer me to another doctor who works in the same practice to do the surgical procedure. I didn’t ask any questions. The General will tell you that I’m like an ostrich with my head in the sand. I am simply willing to go with the flow without asking any questions. That’s not totally true. It just so happens that I have a lot of trust and confidence in my doctor. If he thought another doctor needed to handle the procedure, I was okay with that.
I say, “I was okay with that; however, Thursday night I began to have reservations”. Actually, most of my reservations were based on a flashback of having had a similar experience twenty years ago. The previous doctor doing the work also thought it would be a simple process. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the doctor couldn’t complete the procedure in his office. He sewed me back up, said he wasn’t going to charge my insurance for the day’s procedure, sent me for an MRI and subsequently did the procedure a couple of weeks later while I was under anesthesia in a hospital operating room. I remember the experience because it was the first time I’ve been asked “If I was an organ donor?” I responded, “Yes, but I really hadn’t planned on making a contribution today.”
What if yesterday had turned out like that? I dreaded the experience, but as it turned out, it wasn’t nearly as dreadful and uncomfortable as I had imagined. In addition it went as planned. I wasted what could have been a sense of calm worrying about nothing of value.
After the procedure was over, the doctor reported that she had done two levels of stitches. She then asked: “Do you have someone who can assist you in changing the bandages?” I truthfully answered, “Not always.” When I’m home the General provides great care. When I’m traveling, it is me, myself and I. Even with all three of us working together, there is no way I could negotiate changing a bandage on my back. What was I going to do? You would have thought I’d given that advance consideration. I’m scheduled to be out of town a lot over the next couple of weeks. That represents a problem.
The doctor was a great problem solver. She said to the medical assistant, “Let’s glue him together by using steri-stripes. That way, the bandage won’t have to be changed. The sound of the answer automatically lowered my stress level. Of course, isn’t there always a price for convenience? The doctor suggested the subsequent scar might be more noticeable.
I volunteered that I am very familiar with the application of glue to hold things together. Six weeks before when I went to the doctor with my nose after falling down the escalator at Union Station, the doctor opted to glue me back together.
The way I see it, I’m not planning on an autopsy anytime soon. Consequently, the scar or lack thereof won’t be a problem. No one is going to see it anyway. Me, myself and I don’t really care. I was almost out of the office when I noticed what I perceived to be a problem.
I was paying my co-pay charge when I glanced at the written aftercare instructions the nurse had provided. The directions had to do with procedures to follow. It was the reference to the need to apply Vaseline on the site of the incision daily that gave me pause for concern.
Despite what some of you may think, including the General, at times I do pay attention. When my nose was glued back together six weeks ago, the physician told me to avoid using Vaseline or anything similar on my nose. The Vaseline would dissolve the glue holding the steri-strips together. That would represent a problem. I sensed the same was true for my back.
I walked back around the corner to talk with the nurse. When I showed her the instructions, she said, “I’m sorry. I gave you the wrong instructions. This would have worked had we opted to require changing the bandage daily. Let me get you the other set of instructions.
Do you have any idea how close to coming unglued I came? Trust me, my hope at this point is simply that I’ll manage to hold it all together.
All My Best!