I've been telling people that the three raised, irritated spots on my neck are a vampire bite. At my last dermatologist visit, Dr. Lieu froze multiple spots, including these, that she said were actinic keratoses, potentially precancerous. These three did not go away. On Thursday when I bumped into Dr. Marty, my friend the infectious disease specialist, on my way to my checkup, I asked what he thought they were. "Vampire bites," he said. I guess I'll have to buy some garlic and wooden crosses.
Actually I will apply Efudex twice a day for four weeks. Dr. Lin, my primary dermatologist, said to do this after I emailed a skin selfie to her yesterday morning. So yes, I spent a relaxing early Sunday morning trying to get a good closeup of little bumps on my neck. She gave me her home email so I sent it there, with a copy to work. I'm a little hesitant to bother her, but the spots were hurting and a cause of concern. I have to admit they hurt because I pick and pull when the chemotherapy cream starts to irritate them to the point where they flake off. Reminder to self: Go get a bunch of little bandaids.
MEANWHILE, Last week's two-day Boston trip, with the light therapy on my skin one day and checkup the next, went well medically but ended up being a logistical nightmare that I imagine had medical consequences in terms of rising blood pressure.
I wrote some of this Wednesday when I was waiting for my 3:30 p.m. ride home:
While waiting for a ride that is already an hour and a half late, after a conversation with an idiotic dispatcher, I'm back on the ride complaint tangent. My checkup with Dr. Alyea was at 1:30. Knowing the wait, I had called MART, the ride provider to medical appointments, to schedule the ride home at 3:30. They said I could always call if I got out earlier. I got a text from a Mark, confirming the pickup. I asked if he could pick me up earlier if I was done sooner, and he texted back, earlier than what? I replied, earlier than the 3:30 pickup. He said no.
I was done earlier, so I went across the street to Starbucks, then went to the pickup location at the designated time and called to ask Mark when the driver would arrive. He said, not until way past 3:30. I said I had to get home. He said, they told me after 3:30, and since it's one-way, it's a discharge, and when it's a discharge, it's always later. I said it's not a discharge, I'm at a medical offices, not a hospital, and he said he didn't know where I was, he was just the dispatcher. Say what?
Well, I often have one-ways when I do a back-to-back. Yesterday I came for ECP, slept at Diane and David's, then got a ride to Dana-Farber for the checkup, and then scheduled the ride home for today. I said, I've been doing this for nine years and I know that it is not a hospital discharge. He said we could keep going back and forth or he could contact the driver to find out when he could get here.
I miraculously got through to MART's complaint line. The woman placed me on hold and said she would investigate. When she got back to me, she said it was a new contractor, they did not understand how it works, that sometimes patients want to go home from an appointment, not necessarily from the hospital. ALSO there was a bad accident, he was stuck in traffic, and patients waiting to be picked up were calling from all over the place.
I didn't think it was unreasonable to have a 1:30 appointment and get home by 6:30. My friend Ken Ross, who would be reviewing The Royal Danish Ballet at Jacob's Pillow, had asked me to go with him. He was going to pick me up for the approximately one-hour trip to bucolic Becket. It hadn't been a great day at ECP, and I was looking forward to it. The nurse had missed the vein, leading to pain and a geyser of blood. A different nurse got it into the right place on the second try, but once the arm has been disturbed, a remnant of pain lingers.
Ken and I texted back and forth. When it appeared I would not be home by 6:30, I suggested going home, jumping into my car, and meeting him for the second act. We agreed on that plan. When the driver finally arrived, he said the dispatcher had sent him too far away to possibly pick me up at 3:30. I did my Facebook Live version of his dialogue, typing onto as he complained that the boss knew he didn't like driving in Boston but sent him anyway, that he has anxiety and phobias and is on several high-potency drugs and is on disability, that the boss actually gave him no exact time for my pickup, that he might not get paid, but he has to pay his bills...
I felt worse for him than I did for me and gave him a nice tip.
I probably should have stayed home once I got there around 8, but I was determined. So I drove the hour to Becket and got in for the second part. It was beautiful but very short! Afterwards we sat outside and had a drink and talked. (Mine was only a wine spritzer.) We go way back and have a lot in common and a lot to talk about. That news "thing" clicked right in. I remarked that you couldn't sit down with any old person and have a lively discussion about SEO.
It was after midnight when I got home. By that point I was wired and couldn't go to bed. I made the mistake of going on line and catching up on the latest disastrous news from the border. Note to self: Next time read a book.
I was glad I ended up going, but the next day I could barely move, and it took a couple of days to recover.