Tuesday, August 21, 2012

You Mean, Like, Right Now?

I recently developed a benign fatty tumor the size of an almond on my right forearm high up by the elbow.  I have one on my thigh too, they're not dangerous, they just . . . are there.

Except this one caused my forearm muscle to ache whenever I lifted something heavy straight up with my knuckles up, or carried something light for a long time, like a half-liter water bottle for forty minutes on a run.  So it impacted my lifestyle because it affected my running, you know?

The GP ($10 co-pay) at Kaiser passed me on to the surgeon ($20 co-pay),  I went in for a consultation with him one morning last month and explained the ache this fatty deposit caused me in my forearm.

Well, I could either live with it, he said, or have it cut out surgically.  He didn't mince words or hem and haw around.

Well, let's get it cut it out, I said, thinking of future arm-pain free running.  I started to pull out my appointment book to see when I could best schedule the outpatient procedure.

I'll do it right now, he said.  You mean right now? I asked brightly.

Yes, he said, now.  I immediately realized that I didn't quite have my mind wrapped around having a two-inch incision done right then, and then hopping off the table and going to work.

Or we could schedule it for later, he said, seeing my hesitation.  I started thinking of having to come back to Kaiser a third time, and having to pay another $20 co-pay.  I needed a moment to think and I considered asking, absurdly, Will it hurt?

Okay, I said.  Two Novocaine shots and three minutes later the fatty tissue mass has been wrested out of my arm through a long slit in the skin using tongs.

The yellow mass lay suspended in bloody liquid in a test tube while the doc put five stitches in my arm to close the incision.  The gently floating lump looked like a hocker somebody had spit into a puddle.

Don't do anything stupid to cause the stitches to come out, the doctor warned me, knowing that I was a runner.  I didn't ask him when I could go out for my next run after the surgery.

I went out for a run at noon that day, for four miles.  The wound was weeping a little by the time I got back but I think that was just perspiration being expunged from the site.

It's all healed now and the arm feels great.  I'm a big fan of proactive Kaiser, getting this done right away for only $30.

1 comment:

CewTwo said...

Wow! Sorry to hear it!
At least you waylayed the fear of the Surgeon's cutting remark!
(Sorry, I just can't help it!)