This week, I noticed a silver dollar-sized lump on my right shoulder. It was hard, uncomfortable and in the exact same place another had emerged five years ago, almost to the date. Quell your concerns that I’m cancerous: This baby was a sebaceous cyst. [WARNING: That link is gross and I am gross and ew, bodies. Anyway.] Basically I blame my greasy Italian genes for giving me a giant infected zit-like-thing on my back. I told you this was gross.
So after a few days of putting it off, I went to a doctor to have it removed. I’m going to keep the nasty details to a minimum, but feel free to change the channel now if you so desire (or keep reading and just don’t tell anybody, freaks).
I walked in to my local instant health clinic, and went to the receptionist. I gave her my name and THIS is when things started to get weird. She said, “Oh it looks like your account has been sent to collections.” Me: “Heh, oh, right, well I paid that like yesterday, so…” Her: “Okay, um, *looks at other receptionist on phone* just have a seat then.”
Turns out, I was RIGHT. I HAD paid my overdue account yesterday. So, raspberries to her! Then a male nurse practitioner or whatever called me in to an exam room. The lackadaisical pace of the waiting room was accelerated to “How many people can we make money off of in this hour?” speed, and in a minute, my blood pressure was taken by a female nurse and that guy nurse made a joke about my recurring cyst. “That little bugger! Hah, okay, put this gown on so we don’t get anything gross on your shirt and we’ll be right back!” They tossed me a gown and I didn’t have time to ask if I should keep my pants on.
My thought process went like this: “This gown IS open in the back, but they DID say something about gross stuff and I definitely don’t want that on my pants, but what if they see my butt? Oh wait, there are a second set of lower ties. Problem solved.”
As I pantlessly tied that second set of ties, the door opened, the doctor gasped and flew backwards, shutting the door. “It’s okay!” I yelled. The guy nurse came back in and laughed at me. “You didn’t have to take your pants off!” he said. “I know! I just. I didn’t know! And so, I did, and now it’s weird! I’m sorry, I feel so weirdthisisweird,” I panted. “We’ll just get you a blanket,” he said.
Butt up, I lay down on the doctor bed. The doctor placed a pad next to me and it fell on my head. “This is my sterile zone, so try not to touch it,” he said. Check. He did some wiping motions on my shoulder and then went to stick me with something. Suddenly, stuff squirted everywhere. “Ah! Oh! Okay,” he tried again and liquid flew all over the room a second time. “Are we done?” I asked. “No that was just the anesthetic,” he said.
They got a scalpel and started to cut away at my shoulder. All I could feel was the picking sensation you get when you’re plucking a tough eyebrow hair. My face was buried in the gauze pillow, my toes were curled, I was biting my thumb and my eyes and nose are uncontrollably running like there’s any chance some part of me can get out of the room faster than the others.
Pluck, pluck, pluck. “Does this hurt?” the doctor asked. Pluck. “No,” I squirmed. “Well your toes seem to indicate otherwise,” he said. Pluck, pluck, pluck. “It just… *pluck* feels… *pluck* so… GROSS,” I squeal. The nurse guy grabs me a tissue and I try to stop myself from crying. Why the hell am I crying, you ask? I’m a weak-hearted woman, America, and I just can’t help myself.
They tell me that the “sac” (ew) has “ruptured” (EW) and the doctor is going to “pack” (EW?!?!?) my “shoulder” (ah). I’ll have to come back tomorrow and probably the next day, “and hopefully the gauze and pull the rest of that sac out of there,” the doctor said. EW.
“So I guess you probably don’t want to see what came out right?” the doctor asked.
“…No I’ll see it,” I said. It was like the biggest zit ever had popped onto gauze. Blood, pus and slimy, slimy sac. Yup. My body.
Then they left me like a broken woman, to put my pants back on and pull myself together. They informed me that I would also be getting a tetanus shot, but I forgot until the nurse knocked on the door again and I was still naked. He stuck me in the opposite shoulder and told me it would hurt tomorrow. He left again, I cried more and wiped the mascara off of my cheeks.
Feeling disgusting, bewildered and not unlike a cigarette butt, I stumbled out to my Jeep and drove to TJ Maxx. Out of some personal doubt and gross feeling, I bought two new bras. One of them is purple. Hopefully they do not infect my shoulder.