Thursday, February 23, 2017

Nose Job

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have a basal cell carcinoma that needs to be removed. Surgery was originally set for 15th February; on the morning that we arrived at the hospital I received a call to say that the surgeon had been delayed and could we reschedule to next week? What delayed him wasn’t clear – it could have been the previous surgery developing complications, or he could have been stuck in a bunker on the 8th hole. I suspect the former.

Yesterday, I was back at the hospital – with an earlier scheduled time this week, so less susceptible to delay. After changing into paper underwear and one of those fetching backless gowns, the nurse struggled to get the surgical stockings on my feet, but eventually prevailed. I met the anaesthetist and we discussed how I was to be anaesthetised; and then the surgeon again. The surgeon drew a circle on my nose to indicate where he was going to cut; and we had a bit of chat about Dr. Gregory House writing “not this one” on his left leg, and “not this one either” on his right. There are a lot of forms to be filled out, and everyone you meet for the first time asks you your name and date of birth, and checks this against their paperwork…gotta make sure they’re operating on the right person!

I was wheeled up to the theatre, and a line put into the back of my right hand. There was no warning, no “count down from 10” or anything like that…next thing I knew, I was back in the room, and being given some painkillers. It was all over! The nurse then dressed the wound again, organised a light lunch for me, and we hung around until I felt well enough to go home.

On the way home we picked up the antibiotics and painkillers prescribed, and I was given instructions about washing.

This morning I woke up looking like the elephant man. The area around the surgery has swollen up, but it doesn’t hurt or feel hot, so I think it’s just normal post-surgical swelling. Hopefully it’ll go down before I present myself back at the office – I don’t want to frighten the kids at work! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Star Trekkin'

On a rare sunny evening, we took ourselves along to Aro Park to watch some nutters. Nutters there are aplenty in this world, but the particular type that we were watching were Trekkies. Each year, this group of Star Trek fans put on an amateur dramatic production of an episode of Star Trek (the original series) in the open air. This year, they were performing Journey To Babel.

We walked down in the sunny evening and grabbed ourselves a good spot on the bank, slightly to the left of centre. The stage was already set, and there was pre-show entertainment in the form of a group of singers, the Space Babes, who performed a number of space-related songs - Space Oddity and the like – before finishing with an audience-participatory rendition of The Firm’s Star Trekkin'. Just to get us all in the mood.

Performing a play set mostly on a spaceship presents some challenges for an open-air production with limited means. Amongst these are the set changes. These were mostly achieved by sliding pictures and doorways on the backdrop. Also, without the benefit of actual automatic doors, two cast members stood at the side of the stage and took a step apart, then together, to imitate the doors, whilst saying “whoosh”. There’s also badly-choreographed fight scenes, and the bit where the Enterprise gets hit and everyone leans one way, then the other, to show the damage. It was all jolly good fun, and although they presented it completely deadpan, some of it is unintentionally funny these days, given how Star Trek has morphed in the popular imagination.

After the show we walked around the corner to Willis Street and The Bresolin to dine on their finest burgers.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Big C

Those of you who know me and look upon my fizzog on a regular basis, whether in real life or the many pictures of me on t’internet, will know that I have a lump on my face. No, I’m not talking about my nose, I’m talking about the lump on my nose. I don’t recall when it first appeared, but it seems like it’s been there for ages. I’ve always taken the attitude that if it doesn’t bother me, I won’t bother it.

At Christmas, it bothered me. It changed colour to a delicate shade of blue. This sent me hurtling to my doctor. And by hurtling, I mean waiting until the doctor’s surgery was open again after New Year’s. My GP looked at it and said “probably benign, but best to get it checked out anyway”, and referred me to a plastic surgeon.

Surgeons, as you probably know, spend 90% of their time on golf courses, so it wasn’t until this Friday that I got an appointment. He took one look at it and said “that’s a basal-cell carcinoma”. Or BCC, as there’s a TLA for everything these days. He explained that whilst it wasn’t in danger of spreading quickly, it would increase in size and eventually eat away my nose (sorry if you’re eating breakfast whilst reading this). So, in the words of the elders of Krikkit:

It’ll have to go.

He then outlined for me what the procedure was for removal. Due to its size and location, this isn’t quite as easy as just chopping it off and sewing up the resultant hole. Firstly, the skin needs to be removed a minimum of 2 mm, and preferably 3mm, outside the visible edge of the carcinoma, to ensure that they get it all. As it’s 6mm across, we’re talking about a circle 12mm in diameter. That’s quite large, on a nose. He’ll then fill this hole with a piece of skin from further up my nose.

You’ve already spotted the flaw in this plan, haven’t you? Yes, this simply leaves another hole. Guess what? He’s going to fill this with a piece of skin from even further up my nose! But, fortunately, it’s not turtles all the way down, as further up my nose there’s a bit more give and take in the skin, and he’ll actually be able to stitch this wound shut.

He then explained options for anaesthesia for this op. It’ll take about an hour, and can be done under either general or local anaesthetic. Oddly (to my mind, at least), the general anaesthetic is the quicker option, so I’m booked in to have surgery on 15th February.

The surgery will leave me with a scar on my nose, which I’m inclined to attribute to a duelling injury, if asked.