Friday, August 5, 2011

Damn, that hurt!

As the surgeon finished slicing away the cancer on my neck, all I could feel was tugging.  But I could also feel the blood running under my ear, under my chin, and onto my side.  I didn't  know it was blood at first, but the surgeon's comments of "Are you sure you're not on any medication?" and "No advil or anything?" kind of tipped me off.  My retort - "Am I bleeding like a stuck pig?" - was met by a hasty "No! No! Everything is going great up here!"

The last cut was the only one I felt. It was deep and long, but swift, and I assume it was the one that fully cleaved my diseased skin from my healthy skin.  I now know that in such brief moments of terror, my gut exclamation is "JESUS!" and not a curse word of some variety (or a curse word involving "Jesus"), which is some minor consolation.  I know Dr. Renfro did not expect it - Sorry, Doc!  Aside from a nurse's idiotic, "Did that hurt?" the team immediately turned to cauterizing the site, which felt like little jets of pressurized air on my neck.  

I spent about 90 minutes in the surgical recovery area trying to finish "Appalachia: A History," which led to taking a quick nap ("postbellum pre-industrialist coal seam chestnut blight Matewan  snnnooooooorrrrrre, head bob"), which led to my second partial reading of "Last Child in the Woods."  I highly recommend both books.  Afterwords, they said that the marginal skin is not diseased, and they were ready to give me my parting gift - internal and external stitches!

It's 13 hours later and it feels like someone tomohawked me in the neck. The hydrocodone isn't displacing the pain, but is making me view the world through a creamsicle lens right now.  Perhaps I should gamble. Tomorrow will be a long day at work on the water.  And I will wear sunblock, long sleeves, a hat, and a buff over my gigantic neck bandage.  Not just tomorrow.  But forever, now.  In hopes of never having to do this again.

Anybody under age 40 remember who this is?


Unknown said...

hang in there swampy!

biobabbler said...

Yikes, poor thing. Glad you'll be all kivered up.

I, too, am a bleeder so that now I warn doctors. And, invariably, they at some point "Wow, you weren't kidding" or words to that effect. And when all's done, they ALWAYS have to bust out the cauterizer. I had a TINY thing removed from my eyelid (no pain no feely) and while cauterizing it, my eye doctor, who's super quiet and stoic, said "So, you havin' barbeque for lunch?" I love dry humor. Ah, the scent of my own skin burning.

Best of best to you and your precious skin. =)

Alex said...

That doesn't look like any fun at all.

Good reminder for me to wear sunscreen. Figures I forgot and got burned today :/

LB @ Bullets And Biscuits said...

When you get time, can you send me the author of the "Appalachia: A History" book? I read ALOT about the Appalachia culture, especially the cooking ;)

Great news about your clear marginal skin! My mom has beaten Melanoma three times now in the past 15 years. The sun is nothing to mess with! Here's to you staying clear forever...

Map Monkey said...

Glad you're doing fine, Swampy! I had stuff cut off of me, too, and I feel your pain. I especially understand the part about blood running down your neck - ARRGH!!! In my case they had a really hard time cutting, since my skin is very thick and tough due to the acromegaly. So just be happy you have normal thin skin! It could be worse! HA HA!

Kirk Mantay said...

Thanks for the well-wishes everybody! I had the outer stitches removed today, and have stopped the antibiotics, so now it's just a matter of a month of greasy, delicious ointment to protect it from scarring.

It could be worse!

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