Recently I had an appointment to have my left thumbnail removed. There was a lump that started under the cuticle. The dermatologist felt that he needed to remove the nail and see what was under there and biopsy it.
I can’t even describe the anxiety that led up to this appointment. (My apologies to those of you who listened for weeks about how freaked out I was.) The idea of having a nail removed permeated nearly every thought from the time I made the appointment. And everybody I told was just as repulsed as I was. They even have a special tool for this… EEEWWW!
My anxiety grew as friends shared their horror stories:
- Patty’s sister had a pinkie nail removed and it never grew back. UGH!
- Ann accidentally ripped her thumb nail off in college. OMG!!
- Laura had to have two nails removed in one sitting — it was awful despite the pain meds. Holy Mother of GOD!
I was a wreck!
I asked the doc about being pre-medicated, because there was a real chance I’d get really grossed out and faint. And when I faint, I have a grand-mal seizure. It’s only happened three times, but it’s no fun. He said yes, they’d give me something to make me not care. But, I’d need someone to drive me home. All for a fingernail!
So, Removal Day arrived. Cris took the morning off and escorted me to the appointment.
I started talking to the nurse about how anxious I was. She then told me how she had the same toenail removed TWICE. The second time she asked them to remove the nail matrix so it wouldn’t grow back because she couldn’t face it a third time. Holy s***.
Then she gave me the Demerol shot.
When the doctor came in, the Demerol hadn’t taken hold yet. I was so afraid he’d start before the meds whisked my cares away, so I stalled. I told him of my panic. To my surprise he paused.
“Let me take a look at the nail.” I practically shoved it in his face.
“The little lump is moving with the nail…”
“Yes, it is,” he said. “It’s a good 2 mm farther away from the cuticle that it was before. Why don’t we wait on this and see if it keeps moving. Come back and see me in two months.”
“You are my new best friend,” I gushed. “In fact, you may have just surpassed the epidural man.”
He laughed and said that was a pretty high compliment.
On my way out I stopped at the desk and explained that the procedure didn’t happen. That my nail got a stay of execution. Cris, who was holding a sleeping Max in the waiting room, grinned as I walked out. He had heard me.
So, finally, on the way to the car, the Demerol kicked in. I told Cris that if this does have to be done later, they better give me the shot earlier. I don’t want to have a nail removed and then be relieved of my anxiety!
So, Cris drove us home and Max and I took a two-hour nap 🙂
And, just so you know, the lump is almost flat now and almost to the tip of my finger. Whew!