Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The ride not taken, the biopsies done

Since you might be tired of hearing me complain about my rides, I'll try this one in reverse for a change of pace.

This morning I call MART,  which arranges the in-state rides for patients, and get quickly to the complaint line. This is already a relief because it is hard to get through on the other line when booking rides.

Call Taker: When did the problem happen, on the way there or on the way back?

Me: Neither. I had to drive myself.

I explain, I waited so long for the driver that I had to leave.

My cell phone record comes in handy. He was supposed to pick me up at 9:30 for an 11:15 appointment at Brigham Dermatology Associates in Chestnut Hill, not all the way into Boston so that was enough time.

He calls at 9:25 a.m. to say he is in Springfield in traffic and is going to be late. I say you people need to leave earlier, that's five minutes from now, but I will wait.

9:44 a.m.: I call him and leave a message, where are you, but he doesn't call back.

9:53: a.m.: I call again.

9:54.  Call again. No answer. I get in car and head out to Boston.

10:10: He calls and I can't understand him but I am already on my way.

Call Taker: How did you get home?

Me: (Pause, full of meaning, as in a Harold Pinter play)

Me: Well I drove myself there so I had to drive myself back. I was bleeding and the three places that I had biopsied hurt, which is why I set it up to not drive myself.

Call Taker: Thank you. Your complaint has been filed. Have a nice day.


Ok, so I had been bleeding not at that moment, but not too long before. I would have considered spending the night but Jane and Jim are away and I had to get home to Maddie.

On my way home from 850 Boylston Street, where the Brigham and Women's dermatology office is located, I made my usual stop at the Waban Starbucks and got a cappuccino. Around Framingham I realized it wasn't enough so I got off and went west on Route 9 and got another shot in Southborough.

Yes I really did that. It was either spend the time making the detour or spend the time pulling over to take a nap.

It had gotten late, and the reason was:

I have been known to be spacey but not this time. I had immediately written the time and date on my calendar when I made the appointment a couple of months ago. It was not a convenient week because I did not have the light therapy, but I knew I needed at least two spots looked at.

But when I got there, it was not in the books. Luckily they were able to fit me in at 2:30. Luckily I had a newspaper and a book. I leaned my head against the wall, took a little nap, read a little and ate lunch and it was time for the appointment.

I called a friendly neighbor, Joan Vohl Hamilton, who was nice enough to go in and take care of Maddie at the time I would have been home.

The practice had a new doctor or else I might have had to wait even longer, with two out on maternity leave. She said I was going to hate her but she had to biopsy three spots. I expected the two on my face (nose and forehead) so I wasn't surprised, but I thought she would just zap off the spots on the top of my right hand. But she didn't like that it is raised and painful. So she dug a little hole and off it went.

Can I still play tennis? I asked.

I thought she would say no, but she said yes.

Usually they give me a packet of new vaseline and bandaids. But the nurse wasn't getting it so I asked.

"Don't you have bandaids at home?" she asked.

Something must have been in the air yesterday.

Blood started to pour out of the spot on my nose. She sat me back down and put pressure on it.

"I just need them so I don't have to go to the store right away."

She gave me some in a bag. And one vaseline.

I was supposed to keep the bandaids on for 24 hours, but when I got home I noticed that the one on my nose had fallen off, exposing the little puncture. The place where you get a pimple before the high school party.

I felt bad for Maddie so I took her for a walk.

When I got home I called some people. The spot on my head started to bleed. After about 15 minutes I paged the doctor. He said to put a big wad of gauze on it and if it didn't stop, go to the emergency room.

I was lucky it stopped because I had already taken a half an Ativan and a half of an oxycodone. (5 mgs. each.) Before you think something about the oxy, I will repeat that I don't take it too often but that I do take it sometimes because it is better for my system than Tylenol (liver) or Advil and the rest (kidney and some other reason.)

Today was my day to volunteer at The Literacy Project but when I woke up I knew it wasn't happening.

In a week or so I will get the biopsy report and assume I will have to go back for at least one Mohs.

This morning I made a strong cup of coffee. But I am not kidding, I lost it in my house somewhere and had to make another.

On the positive side: I didn't cry.

And now I will get new skin over a spot on my hand that a previous dermatologist had over-zapped, causing it to lose pigment.

I'm sure that when people shake my hand, they don't think, that woman has no pigment in a spot on her hand, but it is one of the spots that is particularly bothersome to me.

Also I have a beautiful mug.

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