Friday, June 24, 2005

My Doctor Gave Me a Black Eye

I'm really not that bad of a patient. I may ask too many questions in the 30 seconds allotted, or sit cross-legged on the exam bed, but I am careful not to tell them that their hair looks silly that way, or that I hope that's not somebody else's bodily fluids on their smock.

Nevertheless, I came out of my doctor's office on Wednesday with a beaut of a shiner developing under my left eye. Now, two days later, the swelling is subsiding, but the colors are just beginning to get interesting. It travels from the outside of my left upper cheek, tiptoes around the two stitches there, and spreads itself liberally over my lower eye-bag area using a palette of yellow, indigo and red, and ends in a purple exclamation point in the corner of my eye.

It started as all my visits to the dermatologist start - with the doctor zeroing in on some bitty mole or another and pronouncing it too suspicious to allow any further leisure time on my body, and calling for the mole removal tools to be brought from the dungeon designed just for such purposes.

It's been like this since, in a surprise case of beauty mark-turns-evil, my family doctor removed a mole on my arm (what - you don't have beauty marks on your arms?) that turned out to be deadly melanoma disguised as a friendly mole. This was when I was eighteen, and ever since, it's been, "Oh, no, doctor, I haven't been out in the sun without sunscreen. Why, with my history, that would be foolish. What, these freckles? I had these already. Yeah." And every time I go to the dermatologist for a melanoma safari, they find something to remove. I've had so many moles removed, I've lost count. Some have left scars, some haven't. I just assume that dermatologists are like zombies, only they prefer to dine on skin rather than brains. I go in every year and donate skin, like some people give blood. I guess it's for a good cause. I'd hate all the dermatologists to perish from hunger.

But I digress.

The tiny, yet suspiciously self-satisfied-looking mole on my face right where a beauty mark should be - right under the left eye, Marilyn-style - attracted her attention from the start. Yes, it was tiny, and if, in somebody's cruel mind, they may be correlating the tiny-ness of the beauty mark with the tiny-ness of the beauty in the face in question, then they would be breaking the rules of fear-the-telephone land and would be banished, and then we can continue our conversation in peace.

The tiny, yet suspiciously self-blah, blah, blah, anyway, she put that Worried Dermatologist look on her face and told me that I had two choices, either she could take it out now and get it biopsied while it was small and would leave a teeny-weeny scar, or we could wait and watch it grow, and then whack it off later when she would need a ladder, a chain saw and some staples for after.

Since she put it that way, I chose option one. Now the punchline: turns out that it wasn't an evil mole after all, but a blood vessel posing as a mole! Ha, ha! Those crazy blood vessels! As soon as she drilled into my face, it was like she hit a gusher, and then it was like, "you don't have any bleeding disorders or clotting difficulties, do you?" Well, I thought, isn't it a little late to be asking? And how clod-brained would I be if, I knew I had a bleeding problem, not to say something up front when you started talking about mole-drilling?

Yep, turns out no bleeding problem, just a broken main problem. It takes longer to clot when you hit the mother lode. I get my stitches out on Tuesday. Although it's felt a little, oh, uncomfortably conspicuous, walking around with a huge, galloping black eye, I kind of hope it's still rainbow-colored on Tuesday, just so she feels a little twinge of guilt. I'm assuming dermatologists have guilt. I don't know for sure.

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