Any way you slice it

Cats don’t care if you have an incision on your chest. They just want their comfort spot.

I can tell I’m in my 50s: Another week, another trip to the hospital.

After heading there for an EMG test last week to check on my nerves in my right arm – I had been getting a buzzing in my right shoulder – I was back for a quick slice and dice at the hands of our family doctor.

I had a lesion on my chest. I’d had it for some time. At first, I thought it might be an ingrown hair, or a pimple, but it just wouldn’t go away.

More than two decades ago, I had something similar removed from my back. It turned out it was basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.

So I didn’t want to just leave the lesion on my chest unchecked. I asked my doc, Dr. Susan Munro, to take a gander at it. She said we should remove it and have it biopsied.

Fine by me. Better out than sitting there slowly growing, if it was cancer. Basal cell carcinoma very rarely spreads beyond the original tumour site. You simply have the cancerous area cut out and all should be well.

So, after missing my first date for the outpatient procedure, I made sure to make my second one last Wednesday. I showed up to the hospital early for check in, after seeing the large number of folks there a week earlier when I arrived for my EMG test.

But this time around, the admitting area was all but deserted. I took number 47 when they were serving number 44.

That efficiency led to a bit of a wait in Ambulatory Care where the outpatient procedure was to take place. No problem. That’s what games on cell phones are for, right?

But in about 40 minutes, I had my shirt off and a gown on. I felt a bit like Hugh Hefner, strutting around with an open robe … except I had a hospital gown on, this wasn’t the Playboy Mansion, there was no grotto, and I wasn’t exploiting the women around me.

And that was one of the cool things that day. Aside from the volunteer who greeted me when I walked into the hospital, and the one who took my paperwork in Ambulatory Care, everyone I dealt with at the hospital was female. I didn’t even realize it until I started typing this column.

From the doctor to the resident who popped in briefly, to all the nursing staff in the area, the person at the admitting desk and the other volunteers I encountered, all were female. All were very friendly and professional.

That’s one of the many things I like about Doc Munro. She is very good at what she does, and can communicate with you in a very friendly manner. A perfect combination for a family doc.

But I digress. I was there to get sliced. I hopped up onto the bed as instructed and expected to have the area shaved. Instead, the doc swabbed it with alcohol twice, and then injected me twice to give me some very localized freezing. She said that was to be the worst part of the procedure. I was to feel a little sting and a burn as the needle went in and then the freezing was applied.

I felt the sting of the needle, but no burning.

Regardless, I did not feel a thing when her scalpel deftly carved out the little lesion – I don’t think it was any larger than the width of an eraser on the end of a pencil.

In no time, I was stitched up – perhaps a couple of stitches – and the nurse came along to spray on my bandage.

That’s right, spray on. Because of the chest hair, the doc opted to use a plastic bandage. It reminded me of reading about pro athletes repairing blisters or cuts while in the middle of a game using Crazy Glue.

I could even shower the next day!

But I had an apparent allergic reaction to the spray or the freezing. I broke out in hives around the incision area. It’s still itchy as I type this.

Kind words

While I waited for my ride back to work, a woman came up to the same exit, pushing an elderly woman in a wheeled chair. It was obvious they were waiting for a ride as well. I offered my seat, but was waved away. The woman then looked at me and asked if I was “the man who wrote a column in The Chatham Voice.”

I said I was indeed “that Bruce,” and we had a nice chat, and she said she really enjoyed my column.

I also let her in on a little secret. I may take credit for the tasty treats coming off the Big Green Egg, but it is the Egg that does all the work.

When her husband arrived to pick the women up, she made a point to introduce me to him. He too said he enjoys this column.

I thank both for their interest. Nice people.

Ohh, that cat!

Finn, the cat, is as whacky as ever. That little furball is spending more time inside due to the rain and colder weather, but he continues to “work” the neighbourhood.

He really likes to ply his con artist trade on the next-door neighbour. Our daughter Brenna and I saw him recently try to go inside her house! She stopped him, but gave Finn some food on her front porch.

The little beggar is quite well fed at home, but was more than happy to munch on some kibble next door too.

I should put up posters on lampposts in the neighbourhood, with his photo on them. “Warning, well fed, pampered cat on the loose. Please send him on his way. Don’t make eye contact or fall for his loud purring. He’ll have himself eating out of the palm of your hand in no time.”

And he’ll come home and sleep on me!




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