I have very fair skin. I grew up by the beach. I’ve had lots of sunburns and my skin is continuing to pay for it. Last week I attended a pre-surgery consult where a cute, blond twenty-something took down my medical history. "Does anyone else in your family have skin cancer? [Yes] Strokes? [Yes] High blood pressure? [Yes] Diabetes? [Oh my gosh, did you hear that Reese’s just came out with a nougat based chocolate bar?] Previous surgeries? [o-o-p-h-e-r-e-c-t-o-m-y] Serious injuries? [I’m still a little bitter about “Chaka Khan” being our warm-up music on my high school basketball team but I suppose I’m over that now] Current medications? [Candy corn] Do you drink? Do you smoke? Have allergies? And THEN…
“…What are your hobbies?” Now answer me this. What is my dermatologist going to do about the fact that I enjoy photography, writing, chick flicks, practical jokes and "Everybody Loves Raymond" reruns? So if I die on the operating table at least they’ll know what I would have done in my spare time had I survived? Or perhaps if I simply suffer some paralysis what are they gonna do, send me some flowers and a copy of “Steel Magnolias” on DVD? I mean really.
My pre-consult was a twenty-five dollar inconvenience, but it landed me on the operating table today to remove the localized cancer on my shoulder. The shot. The numbness. I sensed a cutting motion and then heard a spraying sound.
“What’s that sound?” I inquired.
“We’re cauterizing the incision rather than using stitches.”
“What’s that smell?” I ask.
“That’s your flesh. We’re having a little barbecue.” I looked around and verified that I was, in fact, at a very classy medical facility and not in Jeffrey Dahmer’s basement.
“Nice.” I replied.
The doctor finished up and took a picture with his digital camera. I guess I have really pretty shoulders.