I want to leave the dermatologist’s office feeling violated

I had my annual appointment at the dermatologist last week. In case you didn’t get the memo from the American Cancer Society, you should see a doctor for an annual skin check just like you should see your doctor for a check of your other bits.

I don’t want to chance it since I’m whiter than the whitest white girl. I’ve been going annually to a dermatologist for maybe eight years and I always leave the appointment disappointed. I’m not sure how to say this without sounding really demented – I want to leave the dermatologist’s office feeling violated.

I mean, just a little violated. Like, feet-in-the-stirrups-knees-fall-open violated, not waking-up-after-a-dental-procedure-with-my-shirt-unbuttoned violated. {If there’s fun to be had, I want to be awake/alert for it. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that on a date.}

My point is: I always leave feeling like they didn’t really check as thoroughly as they could have.

They tell you to leave your bra and panties for the exam. How weird would it be if I asked to take them off? I’m already uncomfortable sitting there in a paper gown that barely comes down to my waist and using a paper blanket to cover my legs. Might as well push uncomfortable to awkward and make me feel like there’s little chance she missed anything. How do we know there’s not a pre-cancerous warning sign sprouting up underneath my bra line or somewhere that needs to be pulled apart to really see?

As this illustration suggests, I suppose I could do a more thorough self-exam and ask her to take a look at anything suspicious I find.

This illustration is from Cancer.org

My skin check went fine, she didn’t see anything that concerned her {on the parts she could see, anyway}. However, I didn’t leave unscathed: I had a needle injected into my eyelid.

Getting a needle in your eyelid

I’m not really afraid of needles, but thinking about having one injected in such a sensitive spot on my body was a little nerve-wracking. Especially considering there was no medical reason for it, I just wanted to have a tiny skin tag removed from my left eyelid because it bugged me that it was there.

After the skin check, the physician assistant and nurse left to allow me to get dressed. The nurse came back into the room to set everything up for the procedure. The PA was going to inject my eyelid to numb it, and then use a hot knife-like tool to burn off the skin tag and seal the skin.

The nurse left the room to get the PA. They took only five minutes to come back but in those five minutes I could not stop glancing over at the needle sitting on the counter. The needle she was about to stick in my eyelid.

I imagined that at the very moment she was injecting my eyelid, I sneezed and forced the needle’s shaft deep into my eyeball. How stupid would I feel to have lost sight in an eye for a completely vain reason!?! It was a skin tag so small that nobody else probably noticed it.

When the PA came in, I was trying to decide if I should tell her about my sneezing premonition. You know, so we could work out a hand signal that I could throw if I felt a sneeze coming on.

I decided against it because if I said it out loud, I might just will it to happen.

She warned me the procedure sometimes resulted in a black eye {for the patient, I asked just to clarify}. The whole thing took less than 20 minutes and instead of the black eye, I just had a bruised and sore eyelid. While it was uncomfortable and stung a bit, the procedure didn’t really hurt. The strangest part was smelling my skin burning.

I should’ve taken a photo of the needle in the office to share with y’all. WARNING: DO NOT GOOGLE ‘NEEDLE IN EYE’. I’d recreate a photo, but I can’t seem to find any spare needles around the house. Instead, I just have this image of my bruised eyelid.

My eyelid after being injected with a needle & having a skin tag burned off.

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4 Comments

  1. Amy Lou January 9, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    If you need me to hold the mirror while you check further, just let me know. I’m always here to help a friend out!

    • Melinda January 9, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

      Ha…love it, Amy! I’ll call ya to schedule something ;-)

  2. Elyse January 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Ouch!! My eyelid hurts just looking at that picture!

    • Melinda January 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      The soreness — which felt like a scrape — only lasted a few hours. And it cleared up after about four days. Better than the black eye, but I was working on some good stories for how I got the black eye!

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