His ex stink’d.

In all fairness, she is a fishmonger.

She sells fishtails and smells like farts from whales.

It’s not that bad if your sense of smell is dead and gone forever.

“As the evening sky faded from a salmon color to a sort of flint gray, I thought back to the salmon I caught that morning, and how gray he was, and how I named him Flint.”  ~ Jack Handey

Thoughts, Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

Part I Summary: Going to the doctor…

Everyone says, just go. Just go. Just go, Kim. It can’t kill you. I says… Yes, it can.

Part 2 Summary: Once upon a time, I went to a dentist in Chicago.

Later that week, someone died in the same chair with the same doctor, so I never had to go back to the dentist ever again.

Part 3 Summary: Not a summary, just a briefing about how weird it feels to go to the OB/GYN period. Full disclosure, I’m not against doctors at all. I swear on the Hippocratic Patient Oath that I’m super thankful they’re here for my family, friends, and all. I am just what you call… a very squeamish person.

Part 4 Begins now…

After the OB/GYN festivities, I made another doctor appointment four years later to see a dermatologist.

(I had a previous derm appt. a year before part 3. I was told I had a suspicious-looking mole on my upper left arm. I nervously replied, “Yeah, I noticed it wearing a trench coat and a fake mustache the other day.” I said that, and then… silence, the doctor, speechless, wrote something on his notepad – probably my joke to reuse later. Typical.)

So I am at my derm appt., a different dermatologist, roughly five years later…

I’m a quarter Irish, 100% in the skin.

The Irish flag should be pale, with red blotches covered in freckles.  

Do I burn? Easily. 

Here’s a recurring conversation I have every season of every year.

“Wow! Someone got some color.  Look at how red your face is… on that side!” 

“Yeah, I was outdoors for 5 minutes.”

So, my derm appt…

I finally scheduled it. I researched and found a very sweet, very old female doctor with many years of experience and zero sex appeal. I picked her first based on gender, age, location, and then credibility.

Everyone’s always telling me to get my freckles checked out. I have a lot. I used freckle remover lotion as a child. Have you ever tried that? Sounds funny now, but I really believed in that stuff back then.

Kids my age used their allowance on candy and toys. I saved up and bought cream.

I spent hours applying it. I was very pale and didn’t want to bleach my whole body. So instead of lathering it all over, I applied the cream only to the spots. All the spots.

I missed out on a ton of activities.

Want to go for a bike ride? Can’t, busy.

Want to watch a movie? Can’t, got some stuff to do.

Want to go to the pool? NO!!!

That was in grade school when I was immature… then one day it hit me, I can’t get rid of these things, nonsense.

But I can multiply them.

So I became a lifeguard during the summer and joined a tanning salon all through the winter. I was building a tan to last a lifetime. 

I put myself out there – accumulating these things all over, trying to get them to be as one – one big tan. I was like a farmer, growing freckles, a gatherer, gathering freckles, a collector, collecting… exactly.

Freckles are akin to souvenirs, really. That big one on my wrist, that’s from spring break senior year, that one on my ankle, number 77, that’s from walking to the candy store in fourth grade on a cloudy Tuesday, and so on…

But I noticed, every day, that these things didn’t like to touch one another. Not one would close in a gap. They popped up close to each other but not close enough. There’s always just enough real estate for one freckle, with room for a small backyard and a wrap-around fence, breathing room – a little privacy, always a bit apart with room for a mote. Like little freckle islands all over. 

I never thought of myself as someone who tans easily, but I do. I just tan in circles. Permanent circles.

It’s like when you drop a Sharpie with the cap off, and it dots you on the way down, and for a whole day, that mark stays there – only my dots never leave… unless I get them cut off. 

So I’m at my derm appointment with a sweet older lady doctor. We make small talk, then she tells me to remove all my clothing and hands me some paper to put on. I put my head through a hole, it drapes around me, and it feels like I’m in a smaller version of the parachute from PE when it’s let go and floats aimlessly, and only teamwork can get it to hold still again.

So, I’m in it.

The lady doc comes back in and has me take off the paper robe and lay face down on the table. Putting it on was just a formality or a distraction to get me out of my head… or a test. Put it on, twirl it around, pat it over and over, then release. The doctor will see you now. Good work.

So, I’m facing down, sheet removed, peering through a hole, looking at the floor.  Stage set. A curtain in the back moves… a beat later, I see male shoes underneath my face.  My very, very sweet old lady doctor informs me there is someone in the room with us, a male medical student (my age, she didn’t say it, but I felt it), and he’ll be shadowing her.  Is that ok? 

Then they both begin examing me, all of me, and I pretend to be cool with it all, like we’re just hanging out, waiting for dinner, killing time as they ask multiple questions about a mole on my buttcheek.

They say it’s scary not knowing…

15 minutes of this can kill me faster than anything my skin can do.

“The scariest moment is always before you start.” ~ Stephen King


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