A few weeks ago I went to see my doctor about a mole on my arm (as you may have guessed, this will not a particularly sexy blog post). She referred me to a different doctor, who would probably be unhappy if she knew I’ve been calling her The Mole Lady in conversations with friends and family, especially since she is quite elegantly named.
Anyway, this morning it was finally my appointment with The Mole Lady, where she decided it’d best to remove the whole thing – “the whole thing” being a pencil-eraser-sized dot on my left forearm.
It started off well enough, the sharp prick of the anaesthetic needle, no feeling at all while she used a scalpel to cut away the small chunk of flesh. But then came the stitches.
I’ve had stitches a lot in my life. Under my chin, on my thumb, even in the soft crease where your bum meets your thigh, after sitting down on a broken toy as a toddler. My c-section was probably the most stitches I’ve ever had, and the most painful recovery, too. My point is, I can deal with stitches. I don’t mind the idea of skin being sewed up, it’s kind of fascinating that this is something we can actually do. That someone thought to do this. We just sew people together like they are ripped cloth and eventually the skin knits together again, perfectly or not, and we’re whole again. Healed.
So, the issue isn’t the stitches, it’s the getting the stitches. Feeling the sutures sliding through your skin – not painful, but there. The tugging as the skin is pulled together across the wound. The knotting and tying off. Each tiny movement registers somewhere between my gut and my heart – a deep, churning, sweaty sort of panic.
Halfway through this time, I thought I was going to be sick. The Mole Lady and her nurse adjusted the exam chair so my head was angled down, helping the blood return from my queasy stomach. I snaked my free hand around so I could press on the inside of my wrist – the pressure point that never fails to relieve that “I’m going to puke” feeling.
Adjustments made, I stayed like that for a few more minutes, almost upside down, hands intertwined, pressing so hard into the softness of my inner wrist that I can still se the half-moon impression from my thumbnail. I chattered nervously to distract myself from the continuing sliding feeling of the sutures, and then it was done.
The incision was small, I think, 2-3 stitches at the most, but I’ll be walking around with this for the next three days.
Far be it from me to criticize The Mole Lady, but I feel like she may have gotten a little bit overexcited about the bandages.