Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Was gonna leave you hanging...

...but I'll be nice and give you some context for yesterday's post.

This is a continuation of "Breaking the Ice" for those who haven't read it. 

My mom was the one who caught the mole. I was home from junior year of college for the summer, and was wearing a tank top. She came over asking, "What's that? How long have you had it? Does it hurt? Has it gotten bigger?"

Golly mom, I don't know because it is in the middle of my back. I would need a system of mirrors to even see that spot, let alone know how long something had been growing there.

She called me almost every day until I made an appointment with a dermatology clinic.

So I'm sitting in the waiting room and the dermatologists office is packed. There was at least 30 people sitting and waiting. I finally got in, and a disinterested resident greeted me, "What seems to be the problem?"

I explained that my mother was a little paranoid, and there was this little mole on my back, but it was black and blue, pretty ugly looking, could you just take a look at it so she stops bugging me?

The resident lifted up my shirt and suddenly became very interested. She rushed from the room, mumbling something about getting more doctors. And get more doctors she did. I'm fairly certain the entire clinic staff packed into my tiny exam room. They had a Polaroid camera and were clicking pictures like there was no tomorrow while chattering excitedly amongst themselves.

Finally satisfied they had documented the crap out of my mole, she says, "Alright, that mole needs to be biopsied."

I sighed inwardly, thinking I would need to waste valuable study time coming back to the clinic, "When should we schedule it?"

She shook her head, "No, that mole needs to come out today. Wait five minutes, we'll prep the room for you."

So I waited, and in the promised five minutes, a resident was ready to take out the mole. The mole was fairly tiny, about 1 cm in diameter. The resident was going to carve out a football shape to try and see how deep the mole went.
Wow, you can tell that drawing took all of 30 seconds to make
So she injected the site with lidocaine. Ha! Good joke, I told her, lidocaine doesn't work on me. She scoffed at me and left the room.

No, but really, the -caine anesthestics don't work on me for some reason. Getting a cavity filled is torture. My body must do something to it, either metabolize it quickly or the -caines don't quite penetrate all the way down my nerve branches. Or maybe that is total BS; I'm not a doctor. But the end result is that doctors are always surprised when I turn out to be right about my own body.

She came back and started slicing into my back. Holy crap did it hurt. Yeah, I can feel that. Yeah, your scapel is right there. Now you are cutting deeper, owww, stop, no more. I'm done. I will give you money to stop cutting into my back. She was shocked that I accurately related her scapel movements to her.

She had to give me more anesthetic and seemed miffed that she couldn't cut into my back on schedule. I told you so. And even though my back hurt, I felt some small sense of accomplishment. It's rare I can get a doctor/dentist to believe me about the -caines.

So after a long time laying on my stomach, disappointed that I couldn't watch the surgery, the mole was finally out and put in a little jar. I got to look at it; it was neat.

And off to the labs it went.

My mom was less than thrilled about how that appointment went. Apparently it isn't good when doctors get all excited like that...


  1. K8, weird question: Are you a redhead?

    Due to a mutation in the melanocortin-1 receptor, the -caine anesthetics don't work in around 60% or so of redheads. (My boyfriend's dad is a redhead and has the same problem - he just brings a copy of the original Anesthesiology article to all of his dermatologists so they believe him and use something else.)

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15731586 (check the citations if you're interested, there are some other papers on this.)

    This is a fantastic series of posts, by the way!

  2. Unfortunately, I am not a redhead. But the solution seems clear. I will simply dye my head red every time I need anesthetic injected. Problem solved. You have made me a very happy person.