The last 6 months I lived in New Orleans, I had about 5 moles removed.
I finally got health insurance for myself and hadn’t been checked out at the dermatologist since I was in high school.
The gorgeous dermatologist walks in, we introduce ourselves, she explains what she’s about to do and we get started.
She parts my hair and starts instructing her assistant to record a mole. Parts my hair again and has her assistant record another mole. Slowly she inspects every crevice of my body and informs me that my moles all just look weird or there’s problems.
So she makes a short list of all of the moles she wants to be removed. The plan was to remove one, test it, see the results, and if there’s a problem go for the next one.
We started with the mole that disturbed her the most.
So once I month I went to her office. She checked me out and her husband cut.
I am very silly when it comes to needles and skin cutting and bleeding. I’m a baby. It all grosses me out. When it comes down to it, I man up and do what I gotta do. But after its over I fall apart.
The first mole I had removed went a little something like this:
Doctor: Kate, are you a religious person?
D: Do you mind if I pray?
D: Ok great. Dear Lord. Please Almighty God in heaven, bless this girl. Please make each cut I make as painless as possible and that nothing be wrong with her mole and that she have a speedy recovery. Amen.
So then the horrible parts happen. I’m laying face down on my stomach, as the mole is on my lower back. He injects me with anesthesia.
JESUS OUCH. That’s when I started “praying.”
So he numbs me up, cuts out the mole, stitches me back up.
A couple weeks later I go back in so they could check my progress. The nurse is like, “Okay Kate. We are just going to have Patricia here take off your old bandage, clean it up a little, and then put another bandage back on. Okay? Okay, Patricia, what you are gonna wanna do is peel off her old bandage, wipe off her scar or cut or whatever condition it’s in now and then use this glue and these scissors to cut a new bandage and then brush the glue over the bandage and hold it there. Okay?”
Not good. I don’t want to know what you’re doing back there. Or do I want to know everything?!
I sit down on the doctor bed thing while this nurse, on her first day on the job, handles my wound that I can’t see. I can’t see what she’s doing. Oh my god, what is she doing back there. Why is it taking so long. Oh god. I feel sick. Can I have some water? I’m going to faint. Oh my god you’re still touching it. Stop touching it. Why are you still touching it. Why is it taking so long. Oh you’re going to lay me down and tip the chair upside down? Fine. Do it. More water.
So it was more difficult for me to get my bandage removed than to get the damn thing cut out.
The next time I went in it was for a mole on my ear. So I was lucky enough not only to have another mole removed, but to be able to hear it up close and personal as loud as possible. I could hear the doctor slicing my skin open. I could hear him grating the skin off slowly with a scalpel. And I could definitely hear it when he was cauterizing my skin. Love the sound of burning skin.
But do you know what I love more than the sounds of sliced, burning skin? The SMELL!
The last mole that I got taken off was underneath my left nostril.
You’re probably trying to think back to what mole on her nose?
It was a small little skin colored bump, hardly noticeable. But possibly a problem…
So anyways, this is my last mole that was getting removed so I was pretty pumped and kind of used to the whole process at this point.
I walk in, I lay down on the chair, chit chat with the nurse, she preps me.
This was my favorite prep.
They take the iodine and sanitize the area that will be cut. Do you know what iodine looks like? It looks like you put too much fake tanner on. It is bright orange.
So I’m laying down as she’s wiping my face down and she giggles.
Naturally I’m like, please can I see?
Grab the mirror. I nod in acceptance. “I finally have some color in my face!” As I see that iodine is splotchily applied and centered around my nose and left side of my face only, leaving one to believe that I attempted, and horribly failed at applying fake tanner.
The nurse cracked up as the doctor walked in. So you know how during surgery they put that blue tarp over you with a hole cut out around where they’re going to be cutting? My doctor puts one of those over my face, except the hole in the blue thing was the size of my face. It was so dumb.
“What is the point of this blue thing if its not covering anything? You can take it off if you want to…”
Doctor: “No well, it needs to be there in case you bleed a lot, so that it doesn’t get in your hair.”
So I’m laying there with my face in the hole of a blue tarp, laying on my back, pretty relaxed. As the doctor is coming towards my face with a needle, he quickly says,
“Oh by the way, this is going to hurt a lot more than the other ones…”
The only reaction I could come up with was quick panic followed by:
“OH MY GOD! THE PAIN! THE PAIN! THIS HURTS SO MUCH. SO MUCH. OH MY GOD THIS HURTS SO MUCH THE PAINNNN!” for a solid minute as he’s oh so slowly injecting the anesthesia into my skull. He knew when it was good enough when the needle broke through my nostril and a mixture of anesthesia and blood flash flooded down my nasal passages, in my mouth, and down my throat. The poor people in the waiting room must have been terrified.
When it was over I sat up with water just pouring down my face from the ambush. Whew! The bad part was over! Sort of.
45 MINUTES LATER my doctor finally decides to waltz back in to cut my face open. I’m thinking, I can feel my nose again. But I’d rather get my face cut open and feel it then get a needle in the nose again. So I don’t say anything.
“Dear Father in Heaven oh Lord. Please watch over and protect Kate from the cutting I’m about to perform. Please let this go smoothly and make sure that nothing be wrong and that its just a mole. Dear Lord in Heaven Father Jesus Christ Spirit of Holiness. Ok Kate, I’m ready.”
Jesus, so am I…
So the blue tarp goes back on. The cuts are made. Once again I am getting cut on or near a main part of the sensory experience of a human body. He starts explaining to me that the root (GAGGGGG!!! Knowing that a mole has a fucking root makes me absolutely sick, FYI. When I learned that such a thing existed, I googled it for way too long and found nothing near as repulsive as I expected to see, but only because there weren’t really any pictures of mole roots. Except for the little underground critters and the roots they live amongst…) So anyways, he’s explaining to me that my root is a lot bigger than he thought, UGH, and is literally slowly scraping away at it. It sounded like he was cheese-grating a radish. VOM. So I’m hardly making it through this part which seemed to take 100 minutes. At one point during a scrape, I flinched, giving away my secret that I can pretty much feel what he’s doing.
“Wait, can you feel this?!”
“Yes…? It’s OK though! It’s much better than having a needle in my brain again… :/”
Convincing me that it won’t be nearly as bad because I’ve already been mostly numbed, I agree to let him re-attack my face. It’s not that bad.
Eventually he finally finishes grating my face and I’m so relieved. I relax my toes, my fingers, my body. Until he whips out the cauterizing gun. Then I get to lay there while he burns my skin… under my nose. That smell will forever be with me.