Just had my third nipple cut off and didn’t knock the doctor’s teeth out, so I call that a W. After birthing four pups, you’d think I’d be a champ in the med bed. Not so. Let me set the scene… I walk in the dermatologist’s office and accidentally bang my metal water bottle on the counter, alerting the waiting room full of Game Show Network fans — all over age 60 — of my presence.
About this Mole…
(Awkward smile) “Hi, Jessica to see… uh… I don’t know who I’m seeing but I’m super anxious and all these people are looking at me because I just basically rang a cowbell in here and I have to have this huge nasty thing removed from my neck and…”
(She interrupts) “Can I see your insurance card and ID?”
I hand it over.
“Oh Divine Holy Father Jesus in Heaven,” I say in what I think is a private conversation in my head, but honestly still can’t confirm, “She knows my last name.”
She hands my card and ID back along with an iPad, so I can fill out 14 pages of forms along with the skin health history of all the limbs on both sides of my family tree. I sit and begin typing.
“Uh, Tammy,” I ask, “do I need to fill out the insurance info since you already scanned my card?”
I dig the insurance card back out and leave my wallet open in my lap as I type the bakers-dozen-digit-long policy and group numbers. (Shout out, Cigna, for having more customers than humans living on earth.)
Going Under the Knife
Just as I finish with the last number, Audrey, the must-be-16-year-old scalpel tech reveals herself and CALLS ME BY FIRST AND LAST NAME in front of the Game Show Network fans. I’m so surprised to hear my name that I stand, my wallet drops from my lap, and a hundred dollars in coins baptize the floor. Suddenly, the Game Show Network fans think we’re in a casino and go diving for my jackpot. Just kidding. They don’t even look up from their Readers Digests.
I scramble to pick up my change, and follow Audrey to a torture chamber.
“Go ahead and get comfy and relax,” she says as if I can do that while she gives me a ride on hydraulic chair.
“I bet she put my quarters from the other floor in this chair,” I think to myself while she types on her laptop. “And now she’s billing my insurance for it.”
Once Audrey has me elevated to an altitude which prevents me from escaping, the doctor breezes in and asks how I’m doing today.
“I mean, I could think of a thousand things I’d rather be doing today like, I don’t know… climbing Mount Everest with no oxygen or having a stomach virus or being in prison. I would say on a scale of 1 to 10 I’m zero excited to be here.”
Less than a millisecond later she says, “Little stick, big burn” as she shoves a 16-inch pipe (or maybe it was a small needle) into what must be my carotid artery. She then twists her scalpel and says, “I’m finished, but you’re bleeding pretty badly. Is this normal for you?”
“You know, I’m not sure. No one’s ever taken a switchblade to my neck before.”
Then, the Worst of It…
She starts spraying something up in the spot where my mole used to be and I’m hearing it and feeling it and smelling it and jerking my legs while she says, “Don’t move.” I can’t help but move because I’m in sensory hell and my feet still can’t touch the floor.
After three hours (or maybe three minutes) of this, it ends.
The doctor asks for a pressure bandage so she can make me look as sexy as I looked dropping my change walking in here. My goosebumps finally deflate and the doctor says I’m good to go. Then Audrey comes at me with this business: “Tylenol only tonight, and no wine or other alcohol for at least 48 hours.”
So I say, “MIND YOUR DANG BUSINESS AND RESPECT YOUR ELDERS, AUDREY” (or “OK” or something like that). Surely she meant “whine?”
She finally lets the air out of my chair so I can stand, hands me some ointment, and we say our hope-to-see-you-never-agains. I pay my tab and peace out—never to return. Until my checkup. On April 9. Of this year.
I lived through this half day (or 20 minute) nightmare. But y’all… for next time I’ve plotted a life hack. You know those tiny Tupperware containers made for a single serving of salad dressing? I’ll be filling one with a shot of Canadian whiskey and packing that business in my purse. When she comes at me with her blade, I’ll be ready.