Surgery Virgin

Trigger warning: stop now if pictures of stitches or scars bother you.

I haven’t had any surgery of any kind since I was 17, when I had my upper third molars (“wisdom teeth,” whatever) removed. Before that you have to go back to 1968, when I had my tonsils out when I was just five.

Yesterday I had a teensy basil cell carcinoma on the left side of my neck excised. Basil cell is the most common cancer in the world, and one not likely to metastasize, but there was no real reason to ignore it, so I had it taken off.

I thought it was teensy, about the size of a dime, but of course, there are more cells than you can really see on the surface, so a skilled dermatologist will dig around and get it all, so I was a little taken aback when I removed the bandage this morning to see two inches of incision and 14 stitches, more than I’ve ever had anywhere (the previous record being five stitches in my chin after a bike crash when I was 11.)

By the time my wife was my age, she’d had many of the standard removables removed: hysterectomy, thyroidectomy, cholecystectomy, and full mouth dental extraction and dental implants. She still had her appendix, both lungs and kidneys, and her scruples. A friend of mine, Wayne, had a kidney and pancreas transplant this spring, so wow, I really am a surgery virgin, and would like to keep it that way.

It doesn’t really hurt, but it does itch a bit, and I wore a bandage on it at work to spare my coworkers and the public from thinking I was among the undead, and as a result of that bandage tugging at me oddly, I put tension into my shoulders and back, so that hurts a bit.

This is a very minor surgery, but it's new to me.
This is a very minor surgery, but it’s new to me.

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