So a couple of weeks ago, hubby says, “Either you make an appointment with a psychologist or…”
I pick up my phone and call the hospital. “Can I please have the number to Dr. P’s office. Yes. The dermatologist.”
You see, the situation with the tiny mole behind me has come to a head. My fingers have spent so many minutes acting like a heat-seeking missile that my arms actually ache from loss of blood flow. Okay, not really, but it’s been bad. So bad that my five-year old says to me: “Mom, I give up. I don’t want the job anymore.”
“What job?” I ask, two fingers ceaselessly caressing the back of my head.
“Your mole!” She exclaims. “I’m tired of telling you to stop touching your head. I quit.”
And just like that, she turns and leaves the kitchen. Hmm? I think this moment calls for a two second scratching of my head. Staring at my hands like I have Desdemona’s blood on them, I can deny it no longer: this is out of control.
So Friday morning (a week ago) I walk into the dermatology office determined not to leave until it’s gone.
“Most likely this will just be a consultation,” the receptionist told me on the phone. “You’ll probably have to come back for a second appointment if the doctor deems it necessary to remove.”
Oh, we’ll see about that. He obviously hasn’t had a patient like me before. I have my cuffs in my back pocket. Planning to hold the guy hostage if he refuses to cut it off. Today. Not really, because the only thing worse than having a mole on the back of your head has got to be having a mole at the back of your head in prison. So yeah, I left the cuffs at home.
But, as I filled out the medical forms (and you already know how rebellious I am about those darn forms,) I see the question that screams, “Tell me the truth!” It reads, “State your complaint.”
So I do. “I’m here today, because I have a tiny mole on the back of my head that has been torturing me to the point that if the doctor doesn’t remove it TODAY, I will cut it off myself. Yes. It’s that serious.”
Had to write kind of small to fit it all in on that small space, but I managed. Then as I returned the clipboard across the glass window opening, the music overhead changed.
“The Cure!!” I scream. There was only one other patient in the waiting room. A sixth grader waiting for his mom. He looked up from his sports magazine. Then went back to reading.
“I haven’t heard this song in years! What a blast from the past!” I’m talking to no one in particular. But they’re playing “Pictures of You” and I take it as a sign. Today is the day I will smash all the pictures of myself with my fingers in my head. Today’s the day!! I gotta feeling…
I am into this song. It’s like a beautiful, heart-breaking story told in a matter of four minutes and forty-eight seconds. I’m tripping back to high school days when the nurse opens the door and calls my name.
Tempted to say, “Can I just hear the rest of the song,” but duty calls. Time to get it over with.
The Doc walks in and says, “So you’re hubby’s a physician, but you’re the famous one. An author, I see here.” The word ‘famous’ makes me laugh.
And self-appointed surgeon if you don’t pull out the scalpel, Doc. “Well, not officially. My first book, Swimming Through Clouds, comes out on June 1st.”
“I’m a big reader. Think I can I get a signed copy of it?” He says, pulling out his pen and reading over my chart.
I’ll give you my left kidney if you just take this thing off my head! “Actually, it’s pretty cool. Now you can actually get e-books signed by authors on Kindlegraph.”
“So, what can I do for you today?” He’s ready to bring the conversation back to medicine. I’m ready for a one, two, take it off before I make you.
I tell him my whole sob story. How at first I thought I had it under control. But over time, I just got obsessive about it. Woke up touching my head. Went to sleep with my hands in my hair.
“I’m desperate. Please tell me you can cut it off.” Ain’t too proud to beg.
“Let’s have a look,” he says, rolling his stool over as I bow my head forward. He finds it in two seconds and says, “Wow, you’ve done some job on this small patch of skin here.”
I giggle nervously. Yeah. I figured as much.
“It’s nothing dangerous.”
I was afraid he’d say that. “But you can take it off, right?”
“Sure. You want it gone today?”
“Really? Seriously?” I’m half-expecting him to say, just kidding. “Today? You’ll cut it off today!?!” I’m through-the-roof ecstatic!
“Do you always have this much energy?” He asks, as he washes his hand and gets his instruments ready.
Which only makes me laugh more. “Well, I didn’t get much sleep last night. Came back late from a Bull’s game. Hubby took me on a date. Bulls won!”
“I see.” Doc holds a needle up in the air and says, “This is the only part that hurts. Just a little, while I numb the area.”
“I can take it.” I have a high tolerance for pain. “Ouch!” Never said I was the silent type.
As we wait for the anesthesia to kick in Doc asks, “So what is it? Are you nervous about the book coming out?”
“Maybe. Probably. I mean I tried to tell Hubs that I can’t stop. He’s been trying to tell me have some self-control, but I just can’t,” I say.
“You can’t.” Doc affirms me. “I have a lot of patients who just can’t stop picking at or pulling at or touching something on their skin. It’s called, Dermatillomania.”
“So there’s a name for it.” And I’m not alone.
Then he says to me like a bad prophesy, “And once I take this off, you’ll find something else to touch.”
“No!” I don’t want to believe it. “Don’t say that.”
“I’m just telling you that sometimes these things don’t go away with one little removal. So don’t be surprised.”
I don’t feel a thing when he slices off the tiny patch of skin. Pops it into some kind of solution to have it tested. Routine.
“Can I see it?”
Doc holds container in front of me and I let out a squeal of an “Ewww.”
“Well you know what they say,” he says as tightens the lid and begins filling out his chart again. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
I guess I just had to see it, because I couldn’t see it all these days. The thing that tormented me. Gone. Finally gone!!
“Anything else I can do for you today?” Doc smiles and stands with his chart under his arm.
“Thank you. So much.” I say, standing and then when he stretches his hand forward for a shake I give him a quick hug. I am THAT grateful!
“Good luck with the book,” he says as he leaves the room.
“Thanks!” I say, gathering my things.
Gone. Just like that. Out of sight. Gone!
And now for the scab phase. Don’t touch it. Do not touch the scab. Don’t do it.
Yeah, the battle is far from over.
Ever offer someone your left kidney in exchange for something? What impending life moment has your stress richter ticking in the red? What blast from the past tune have you heard lately?