Why I am suspicious of doctors.

I flew to Oahu today to get a hand surgeon to look at my finger.  He is going to cut it off again and rebuild it next Monday, so don't expect a lot for awhile.  I'll tell that story if and when.

While I was waiting I went to the Kaiser Dermatology clinic for a second opinion.  It's marginally suspicious that FIVE courses of Keflex over a two year period have failed to kill the impetigo I was diagnosed with.  OK, I understand it's difficult to cure – but we get to this same point every time and it never gets completely cured.  

I checked in and waited for awhile.  Finally a nurse called me in and asked if I was there for a skin check.  “No, I want a second opinion about what is growing on my face”.  OK…she inputs that into the computer.

A few minutes later the Derm guy comes in. “So, you are here for a skin check?” 

“No.  I want a second opinion about this impetigo on my face.”

“The what?”

“Impetigo.  This.”  I point to it, but nothing else on my face looks like leprosy.

He examines it through the looking glass.  “That doesn't look like impetigo.”  I begin to wonder whose chart he read before he came in.

“Yeah.  That's kinda why I wanted a second opinion.  I have been treated for impetigo for two years and it never goes away.”

“What did the tests indicate?”

“I can't exactly remember.  It's on the computer there isn't it?”  He looks.  “It doesn't look like anyone did any tests.”

“Yes, I remember now.  NO ONE DID!”

“I think we better take a biopsy.”  I love it when doctors put together a workable plan.

“But there will be a scar.”  Apparently he is wearing someone else's glasses.  My whole face is a scar.  “I'll have to get used to it.”  I tell him. “It'll be OK. If I put on enough make-up no one can tell.”  He looks at me a little funny, but I no longer believe he can see clearly.  I think about making disgusting Italian hand gestures at him to see if he notices, but the nurse comes back in and leads me away to another room which looks like Frankenstein's workshop.

I sit in a neat electrically operated chair but I can't get it to buck.  I am forced to read two issues of Archaeology magazine cover-to-cover which is fine.  At least it wasn't Rolling Stone's interview with Lady Gaga.  I probably would have slit my wrists.  Finally the doc comes in. “You may feel a little pinch.”  He stabs me with a bayonet.  “Did you feel that?”  “No.”  He stabs me again.  “Did you feel that?”  I get it….it's a game.  He is playing Abu Ghraib.  OK, I'll play.  “Yes, OUCH!”  I don't feel shit, but apparently that's what he wanted to hear.  He stabs me about ten more times – enough that the nurse has to sop up the blood from the anesthetic needle.

After I figure I have lost enough blood, I tell him I can't feel it anymore and he relents.  “We'll wait a few minutes for it to take effect.”  I want to tell him the entire left side of my body is numb but I can't.  My lips are numb.  Pretty soon he outs with a cutlass and starts hacking away. “I'm only taking a 5×6 centimeter surface biopsy.”  I try to tell him to take the whole damn thing off and be done with it.  “Mmndnfnmnmnmn.” 

“Oh, you can still feel it?  Nurse, another liter of Lidocaine, please.”


By now I am dizzy from loss of blood and the nurse is cranking up the cautery machine to overdrive.  He starts trying to stem the flow of blood, but his elbow is touching my wrist so all he is doing is shocking the dogshit out of me.  “Nurse, this machine isn't working.  Plug the lead into the high power side, please.”   Shit.  I move my wrist and the machine starts burning a hole into my brain pan.  This continues for a few minutes. The room smells like barbeque and people are coming from down the hall to see what's cooking.

Finally the nurse puts a pressure bandage on my cheek that would  keep an infant dry for a week. “You're all done!”


I stumble outside and wait for the shuttle to take me to the hand surgeon.