When the Doctor is Afraid

Ah the joys of seeing Specialists. My dermatologist today was afraid to treat me. It took me a while to realize what he had done. “Everything looks normal.” Patches of flesh, pustules, moles that look like the poster children for little melanoma and the remnants of the allergic reaction to Sunblock… all are normal?

He barely skimmed my chart, he didn’t want to touch me or look at me. Instead he said, “In Six months, when the insurance covers another visit come back and see the new dermatological plastic surgeon. He can take care of those moles.” Moles he had declared normal.

I did get a new prescription to try for the Hidradenitis Supprativa. A topical antibiotic and an oral antibiotic. I am about to take the first dose. I had to drain the blisters first. It wasn’t until I was leaving the hospital pharmacy that I snapped onto the problem. It took the strangest behavior I have seen at a hospital for me to click that the entire experience belonged in the Twlight Zone.

I was the invisible doorstop, a woman tried to shoved past me with a cigarette in hand and I blocked her. I didn’t have to move an inch to perform the act, I just had the entire width of the chair. I can’t suck it in, and as I choked on the smoke of her freshly lighted cigarette I let myself snarl. “Put that damned cigarette out. Are you insane? Taking a lighted cigarette into the hospital could be considered assault.” I didn’t have to think about my words, I just let them flow freely as my mind snapped the puzzle pieces into place.

The world had gone mad! The madwoman did thank me for stopping her. She stubbed the cigarette into her hand and continued her journey inside. I shuddered while seeing the odd spiderweb connections between her obvious challenges and the doctor.

I have three rare skin conditions, additional sensitivities, and other conditions that are also genetic and rare which can change how my skin reacts. I understand the doctor not wanting to treat me. I just wish he had been more direct about it. I am not afraid about the moles he left alone, but, I do find it odd he insists I see a plastic surgeon turned dermatologist. I will obediently have the mole cut off by the better man, but, what if he has the same hesitant fear?

I have run into this a few times. This is the cause of my high Doctor Turn Over Rate. They quit working and usually I fire them. They either run out of coping ability, they run out of knowledge, and they stop working. This one at least offered some suggestions but all were redundant, stymied by my allergies. He didn’t even try.

It is disappointing but I have my vanity for a bit longer. After the appointment my Person and I went to see why his check was short and as a result I wound up getting to eat a bit of fast food (yay Del Taco being Gluten Free) and a pair of clip on earrings to supplement my new ear needs. The dermatologist seemed competent but more comfortable with the able bodied woman or man who doesn’t know much about their flesh. He spent most of the appointment condescending about how Moles don’t exist. I let him, and when given the option of having him cut my head-mole down a peg or waiting six months to have it done right? I chose to wait.

What can we do when our doctors fail us in this manner? Sometimes we have to let them fail. He gave up the option of learning, of trying, and now if my head-mole turns out to be an extensive tumor as the one on my face was, the glory of removing a rare and still unnamed type of tissue is not his. It goes to the next doctor. That is a bit of comfort, as not every doctor is emotionally qualified to take on the harder cases.

He only failed me by not being upfront with his comfort level. When a doctor is afraid, it’s okay to let them go. I forget this at times. I forget that a doctor passing up the golden opportunity of treating me can be a good thing. If your doctor is too afraid, they will make more errors. They will take longer to find answers. I know, as you journey from doctor to doctor hunting for answers this feels painful. It is still better to let some doctors pass and to have other doctors treat you. I would rather have a wait of six months than permanent scarring with recurrent surgery because my doctor did not make the right choice.

For the comments section, feel free to add your own experiences with doctors who are afraid and doctors who fail.

Vanity

My vane side will be challenged Monday. I am not so sure a dash of vanity is a bad thing. Vanity helps me present a good image when I am in a professional situation. Vanity gives me a reason to brush my hair even when I cannot get out of bed. Vanity is not as wicked as it could be if you only have a small dose.

I am going to the Dermatologist to finally give in, having a part of my head shaved and a giant mole/tumor cut out of my head. I put it off for over a year but the Mole thing is growing again. I put it off more out of my fear of pain than having my hair look a mess. I am going to buy some nice headscarves and cover what is missing until it grows out. I also look darned good with bangs, so I will eventually have those too.

Haven’t I had enough pain? The pain alone from this mole is bad, but the needles in my flesh that will come Monday will be worse. I can’t avoid it anymore however. This mole is not cancer. I am pretty sure of that. If I am wrong I’ll regret waiting to say anything for years and procrastination but, it is the result of sun damage.

Some of my worst memories with fashion center around this mole. Going to the salon they always cut into it with the brush and scissors, ignoring my warnings that I had a giant mole that stands up an inch tall on my head. I hide it in my hair but, I have never felt it was hidden. My fear is that my hair will not grow back in that spot, that forever I will hold more scars, more risk for torment. More otherness.

Beth Oblong from the Oblongs Series with her short hair and tumor on her head.

Beth Oblong from the Oblongs Series with her short hair and tumor on her head.

This image encapsulates how I have felt for years. Beth Oblong is a girl from a cartoon that was geared for adults called the Oblongs. They live in a Toxic Waste dump, their otherness is flaunted in the show, the otherness got it canceled. When I first saw it, I identified strongly with the character of Beth, if only because I have a rather large thing sticking up out of my head. It’s always there, often it hurts, and as a child I was not allowed to hide it adding to the many reasons that the other children could ridicule me.

That ends Monday unless a surgeon is needed to get it off my head. I am scared, but happy. It’s one way to lose some weight right? I do not need to include pictures of my actual head mole here, nor will I share the grotesque healing process with you.

This is just one way that vanity can help and hurt. My vanity will help me work out ways to hide my wounds which will let my heart heal but vanity also stopped me from seeing a doctor sooner. Doctors can ridicule too and being made fun of for being different has left me wanting to never show my face again in many ways.

Just remember, if you have any moles or skin spots that seem off, do see a Dermatologist. Even if they want to cut it out, it’s better than being sick. Once my head mole is gone I can brush my hair without having to skip a bit. I am so afraid I keep thinking it is tomorrow but there is just one more day, one day left with hiding it. One day.

Then after I heal, just like the one I used to have on my face, I will be free.

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