Wednesday, January 19, 2011

With Warts & All

I've got a wart on my left hand. How I got it? I don't know. Too many interactions with frogs I suppose. It wouldn't be that big of a deal, but the wart is on the same hand as my ring finger. And since I'm getting married in 4 months, that makes it a really big some people.

For whatever reason, there are two people that are troubled by my wart more than most. My mom. And Matt, this guy I work with. I have a theory as to why my wart bothers them more than most people (including even myself). Have you ever heard of the phrase, "There's nothing worse than a reformed whore?" Well, that's Matt and my mom -- reformed wart whores. At one point in time, they both had warts. Matt's was on his hand and my mom's was on her knee. They both fought a brave battle against their warts and won. So now, they are spreading their anti-wart message, and my ring-hand wart is a primary target.

Matt has purchased me a ton of anti-wart creams and freezing sprays. Sometimes at work, he'll have these little wart interventions with me. They always start the same, with him saying, "Now, don't take this personally...." and always end with him presenting me with a cornucopia of various ointments and sprays. The problem is what comes in the middle of the intervention, which is typically the tale of how he triumphantly destroyed his own wart. I will spare you the practical information as to how he got rid of his wart, and focus instead on the gorey details which include part of his hand turning black, and a large hunk of raw flesh being ripped off his hand with duct tape. You're welcome.

My mom, being related to me, feels the need to be a lot less polite and subtle about my wart situation. Typically, she says things such as "that thing is disgusting" or "you better get that thing off of there before you get married or you're gonna regret it for the rest of your life." Then, like Matt, she gives me the anti-wart creams and freezing sprays.

I will admit, I do not like this wart on my hand. It's incredibly unsightly and embarrassing. When people ask to see my engagement ring, I instinctively turn my thumb down (the location of my wart) and make the number 4 sign, so they can't see it. I do not like this wart on my hand. Not at all. If I had a magic wish, I would wish it away. But there are a lot of things in life that I would wish for. I wish Brooklyn wouldn't pick fights with her water bowl. I wish Steven wouldn't fart so much. I wish I could understand everything my boss, Vinnie, says to me. I wish that Ben Roethlisberger would make better decisions during the off season. I wish that the price of Red Bull would go down. And I wish that they would bring coconut syrup back to Starbucks. All of those things I would wish for over my wart disappearing.

And I have tried to remove my wart to no avail. Under the advice of Matt and my mom, I followed a wart removal plan that lasted about 3 months. It was horribly painful and tedious. During those 3 months, I had to soak my wart in water, file down the skin with a nail file, put salycic acid on the wart, and wrap it in duct tape and/or flesh colored skin tape. And don't listen to my mom -- it was painful. Whenever somebody tells you that something "doesn't hurt" that means it does hurt. Because if it didn't really hurt, you wouldn't feel the need to say anything. You don't ever say, "I put on a soft plush robe yesterday. But it didn't hurt." Or "I ate a piece of warm apple pie yesterday. But it didn't hurt." Well, no duh it didn't hurt. But getting a tattoo? Dental surgery? Getting stitches? Or having a wart removed? Yeah, that stuff hurts. And don't believe people when they say it doesn't.

So after 3 months of my wart removal plan, guess what I have now? Two warts! Yup, my lone wart, now has a wart friend and they are neighbors. Twins actually. They're Geminis.

So I made an appointment with a dermatologist. There's only 4 months till the wedding and it's crunch time. Right when I pulled into the parking lot of the dermatologist office, I had a bad feeling. There were confused and wandering old people all over the place. Like one of those retirement center vans had just dropped them off and let them fend for themselves. It looked like the final scene of Cocoon minus Steve Guttenberg and the alien spaceship. I consider confused and wandering old people to be a bad sign for any medical practice. To me it just reeks of insurance fraud. I mean, this is a dermatologist office, they aren't exactly coming here to clear up their skin before prom. So what else is there -- skin cancer? If it's skin cancer, then why the hell aren't their children or grandchildren bringing them to their appointments?!? Ugh, creating imaginary life stories and projecting it onto strangers sure does get me riled up.

I considered ditching the appointment all together, but I've never done that before and didn't want to chance the "we need 48 hours of cancellation notice or you will be charged" policy. My doctor seemed nice enough. She was a very attractive female doctor that looked to be in her late-30s. If she was on a fictional ABC medical drama, I wouldn't imagine her to be the female lead, but a strong secondary character with a romantic storyline and a mysterious backstory. If my Papaw was still alive, he'd describe her as a "pretty lady doctor." But like 99.9% of doctors in real life, she was incredibly distracted and impersonal from the very second she entered the exam room. Which makes me wonder, why do doctors even have exam rooms anymore? Not a lot of examining goes on, either physically or verbally.

Our interaction went about like this:

Pretty Lady Doctor: You got a wart on your left hand? (She says this while standing across the room with her clipboard. She doesn't actually come over and look at my wart at all or even ask to see it)
Me: Yup, on my thumb
Pretty Lady Doctor: Well, there are several treatment options, which basically means that there isn't one good option that works in a completely satisfactory way.
Me: I'm getting married in May. Do you think it will be gone by then because I don't want it to look worse than it does now when I get married?
Pretty Lady Doctor: How long have you had it?
Me: A year. (A little white Lacy lie, I've actually had it about 3 years.)
Pretty Lady Doctor: Well, it's not gonna be gone by May if you've had it a year. Probably about a year if it goes away at all. (I swear that while she says this she sighs and rolls her eyes a bit.)
Me: Do you think I should do it then? I'm getting married in May.
Pretty Lady Doctor: (Ignores my question) I will freeze it in-office, and then when you go home you will have to do this daily at-home treatment. (She hands me a piece of paper with the recommended home treatment, which is exactly the same wart removal plan that Matt and my mom had me do, right down to the duct tape.) Then once a month, you will come back up here to see me so we can continue to do the in-office treatment.
Me: Do you think it will be gone by May or look worse?
Pretty Lady Doctor: When are you getting married?
Me: May
Pretty Lady Doctor: No, it will not be gone by May and there is a good possibility that it will look worse than it does now. (As she says this, she has grabbed what looks like a whip cream container full of freezing spray, heads towards me and grabs my hand)

Zack Morris-Style Time Out!

I just want to point out that at this moment, when she crossed the room with the freezing spray, was the first time she ever actually looked at my wart(s). Secondly, she did not come in the room with the freezing spray. It was already on a counter in the room, and she didn't change the nozzle on it or anything. Perhaps a nurse set this up before hand, or perhaps dermatologists just keep a can of freezing spray on the counter and randomly freeze things off people (i.e. warts, moles, skin tags) all day long with the same tainted nozzle. Gross. Thirdly, why is she telling me it's not going to work by my wedding and will probably look worse, and still assuming that I'm going to go through with this?

I actually yanked my hand away from her.

Me: No, I'm not gonna do it. I'll just pay my co-pay and leave now. Thanks. (I start to get up)
Pretty Lady Doctor: Wait. Let me measure the wart first.(Now you want to do an exam? Now that I'm leaving?)

She took out this wart ruler from a drawer; it looked like one of those protractors from school. Not the practical dorky kind that you'd do actual math with. But the kind you would get at the school book fair, where they were clear blue and had cut-out shapes on them like stars and rainbows and stuff. Well, this one had like cut-out shapes of warts and skin lesions and other gross things. She matched up my twin warts to a cut-out and sent me on my way, but not without collecting my $40 co-pay.

I exited into the parking lot with a sinking feeling of defeat. I still had my warts and I was now $40 poorer. Regardless, I'm still getting married in 4 short months. And Steven is going to have to marry this girl...with warts and all.