I have been waiting for some settling before writing, but it seems things are just pressing forward, so here we go!
I have Malignant Melanoma Stage 0, for the second time, on my back.
I was going to the Dermatologist’s doctor to do the excision, but when I went on Friday to have it done, people either had no mask on or had it around their necks. And there was no hand sanitizer anywhere. I had never noticed before, but when faced with surgery, I noticed every unclean thing. I cancelled the surgery and left after telling them why.
Yesterday, I met with the surgeon who did the 2 cancer removals last year and it was wonderful being in his office again. I make them all laugh and they remembered me, which was great.
The doctor played Hamilton Mixtape for me during surgery last time, so we are both Hamilfans and talked about it being on Disney+.
We did discuss the surgery eventually. He said we can start with local and sedation, but in the OR and take a smaller circle, trying to get the margins taken out, but if he does not, it will be a bigger excision like my arm was. He also said it was up to the anesthesiologist whether I had sedation or general. I said that was fine.
Before I could get my excision, I had to have a negative COVID-19 test, but let me tell you, that was no easy feat.
I am disabled so cannot stand for long and have no car, so waiting in line or doing drive-through testing is impossible for me. Testing sites are not made for disabled people! My therapist said that was an ADA issue for sure and I needed to let someone know how difficult it was for me to get a test.
After days of fruitless trying, I tried to get my Primary Care doctor (who told me to get one, too, because I had conjunctivitis our of the blue) to call in a prescription to LabCorp or Quest because they will only test with prescriptions for it. She said, “You can get tested anywhere! Just go to the clinic and get it there.”
But, people line up, standing, at 6am for the 9am start of testing. Once they sign in, they get back in their cars and do the drive-through thing. Both of which disqualify me.
An aside. Do you ever notice when people say, “Just <fill-in-the-blank-of-instruction>” that the task is really complicated for everyone but the speaker?
Same with, “All you gotta do is <fill-in-the-blank>.”
Doctors & Their Dismissiveness
When I called the primary care doctor, the nurse said the “All you gotta do” line and when I explained to her the situation and that I had conjunctivitis and couldn’t I make an appointment to come in because what if the conjunctivitis was COVID-19. She snorted saying, “You can’t get COVID in your eye,” like I was a stupid patient. I told her the doctor she is working for told me about it being a sign and perhaps she should Google it.
At any rate, they would not call in a prescription to a lab.
So I called the Dermatologist’s office to see if they would call in a prescription, especially since they wanted a negative test before they would schedule my excision. “We don’t do that. All you gotta do is….” and I got pissed.
The conjunctivitis did not respond to the 5 days of drops and my primary care was sending in a referral to an ophthalmologist. I shook my head when the nurse said that. I told her it takes WEEKS for me to get their referrals in the mail. “That’s what she told me.” I said I really hope I don’t die from COVID-19 before the referral gets to me.
I made myself an appointment with CentraCare online. It was for 6 days ahead. So I waited.
When I went 6 days later, the nurse assistant looked at my eye and got out a swab for a COVID test. I didn’t even have to ask. He swabbed up one nostril… and let me tell you, that was infinitely easier than when I had the lit sparklers shoved into my brain via my nostrils.
20 minutes later I had a negative result. YAY YAY YAY!
The Nurse-Practitioner gave me a prescription for different eye drops, stronger. I am doing better goopy eyes-wise, but it has not cleared up completely.
More Testing Coming Up
I will have to have another COVID-19 test 72 hours before surgery, so that is coming soon. I should know in the next couple of days when surgery is.
As Rachel Maddow says, “Follow this space!”