The tiny woman walked into the exam room, introduced herself, and asked why I was there. While I explained that my new PCP suggested I see a dermatologist, she scanned my face.
She called out to her assistant, “Two age spots on her cheeks. Multiple skin tags around her neck.” The assistant typed away on her laptop.
I told the doctor those spots and tags were hereditary; all my family had them. She said they weren’t dangerous. I asked about the freckle that recently formed on my forehead.
“We’ll burn that too.” She said, reaching for a tall, thin, silver can the size of my Aveda “Control Force” hairspray.
“Burn?” I asked. Shouldn’t she discuss this with me first? I have never had a doctor tell me what “we’ll” do without asking me first. “Is this going to hurt?”
“Yes.” She shook the can and weighed it in her hand, assessing how much was still in it. “We’ll freeze the age spots first. This is liquid nitrogen. It will hurt quite a bit but some of my patients say it feels like cold tickles.
“Hurt?” I look at the exit.
“We’ll do the big one first. Don’t move.” Bzzzt.
“Ow.” I yell. Bzzzt. Bzzzt. “Ow. Ow.” I yell louder. That did not feel like “cold tickles.”
“Tell me about your mother’s spots.” Bzzzt.
“Mother of God.” I yell. “I don’t want to talk about my mother. That hurts.”
“Now the other one.”
“Can we leave it alone?”
“It will only spread and get darker.”
“No, it won’t. It has been getting smaller and lighter.” Bzzzt. “Ow.” Bzzzt. “Ow. Stop.”
“Did you spend a lot of time in the sun when you were younger?” Bzzzt. Bzzzt. “Do your grandchildren play soccer?” Bzzzt.
“No, stop hurting me.” Bzzzt. “I don’t want to talk to you.” Bzzzt.
“At least you are not using curse words.” She says.
Bzzzzzzt. “What the *&^% was that?” I yell. “That really hurt.”
Her face is close to mine and I can see her smile. She reminds me of Steve Martin in Little Shop of Horrors, enjoying the torture she is inflicting on me. “We’re done. Now let’s do the skin tags.”
“I don’t want to.” I say.
“They will only get caught in your jewelry, snag on your clothes.”
“I don’t mind.”
“This will hurt even more.” She puts down the silver can and reaches for a small squatty can. It looks like WD 40 with a skinny wire at its tip. She activates it and the tip sizzles. It’s a mini Tazer. “Lay back.” She says.
“Hurt more?” I ask. I look at her. She’s tiny. I can take her down.
ZZZAAAPPP. “Oh, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.” I yell out. I haven’t yelled like that since I gave birth to my children. ZZZAAAPPP. ZZZAAAPPP.
“Oh, come now,” she says, “90-year-old patients take this better than you.” ZZZAAAPPP. ZZZAAAPPP.
“Ow. Ow. Ow. I don’t care about them.” I yell. ZZZAAAPPP.
“Now let’s do the other side.”
“No,” I yell. ZZZAAAPPP. “I said no.” I smell burning oil like when a car’s engine is on its last legs. I think it is me. ZZZAAAPPP. “Oh, please, stop.”
“We’re done.” She says. “Let’s do the freckle and you have three little skin tags on your eyelid.”
I sit up, then stand up. “I said no. I am done. Tell me what I have to do to care for this and I am out of here.”
She asks to check my back and my chest and makes note of two small moles between my breasts. I tell her they are staying right where they are.
She tells me that there isn’t anything special I have to do to care for the freeze or the burns. I can bathe, moisturize, go on with my usual routine, and I should look better in two weeks tops.
There is no need for a follow up, she says, unless I want to come back and have more skin tags removed. Yeah, sure.