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Wednesday 17 January 2007

Adventures in Healthcare

Over break, I noticed a strange and itchy mole on my back. Since I'm at very high risk for skin cancer, I just got it removed for testing. In case anybody cares, I will compare and contrast my experiences with a previous mole removal in the US.

So several years ago, when I had a weird mole, I went to a dermatologist in California to get it removed. He had some sort of student with him, also male, whom he addressed instead of me. He explained to the student what was going to happen when the mole got removed. Also, he went on to note how he would eventually remove the (queer-themed) tattoo on my back. "I like my tattoo." I protested. He still not address me, but explained to the student that I would one day grow up and come to my senses.

I can't recall about anesthetic. I have a recollection of the procedure being uncomfortable. He used a round gouging tool which popped the mole out pretty quickly. Then, he stitched it up. I came back some time later to get the stitches removed and to get my lab results which showed that the mole was nothing. Which is good because he didn't get the whole thing when he took it out.

This time, I went to a general practitioner in the Netherlands instead of a dermatologist. She only had me pull up my shirt instead of remove it, so she never saw my tattoo. Also, there was nobody in the room to talk to but me. We chatted a bit. She used a ton of anesthetic, so I didn't feel anything at all, which is good because it took much longer. I didn't look or anything, but I suspect that she used scissors instead of a tool. It took several minutes to remove.

She gave me two stitches which will come out in a week. Lab results come back in two weeks. My back itches even more than before now, but doesn't hurt. Augh, the itching.

Thanks to the dermatologist from a few years ago and other medical experiences, I'm always pleasantly surprised when a doctor treats me as a human. Yeah, I'm gender non-normative and queer, but I'm still a person.

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