Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Try This And See What Happens
I once had a growth on my face, a small flowering of red spots that I feared was cancer (all those years in the sun as a lifeguard, baking myself with baby oil and Crisco as a child), my aversion to any kind of self-protective measures catching up with me. I went to my doctor at the time, who didn't know what it was either. He gave me a tube of Retin-A and said, Try this and see what happens. Nothing happened. I came back in three months, and he had some dry ice to try and burn the growth off, but not before showing me a trick he does at parties where he pours the dry ice on a seat and watches it evaporate in the air. Not exactly David Copperfield, I know. The dry ice hurt like all billy hell and gave me an angry-looking patch of skin, but the growth remained. In the tedious process that is the HMO way, he finally referred me to a specialist who froze and lasered the area -- it wasn't cancer or some flesh-eating disease -- they were a cluster of warts. Oh the drama!
This final procedure also hurt a lot, but I was brave and even received a lolipop for not crying, something that my childhood doctors didn't do. The lolipop thing also happened when I got a cyst dug out of my back in my twenties -- perhaps destiny has it that I should experience these pleasures now when I can appreciate them. At any rate, I exhaled when my dermatology nightmare drew to a close and walked out into the lobby, reassuring myself that I didn't look that bad. A small child started to scream and cry when he saw me, clinging to his mother's leg and yelling, What happened to that girl? For almost a month, I got that reaction everywhere I went, albeit in the more muted manner of adults. As the area began to bruise as a prelude to healing, nearly every time I went to a store, I got the stage whispers and was even passed the name of a battered women's shelter on a slip of paper by a woman in line at the Safeway. Don't bother saying anything, honey, she said. I won't believe you. She walked out before me and waved. I didn't wave back as I dug money out of my wallet to pay for my Count Chocula and Dr. Pepper. I would have smiled, but it still hurt to do so and after all, I still needed to pay.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"From error to error, one discovers the entire truth." — Sigmund Freud
Drinking music suggestion: The Essential Waylon Jennings
Benedictions and Maledictions