Luke Melia


August 29, 2003

Things That Go Bump

Some months ago…. Six? Nine? It’s unclear how many… I awoke and felt a small bump on the bridge of my nose between my eyes. It felt like a pimple but it wouldn’t pop. It got larger over the next month or so until it was the size of a pea. I waited for it to go away.

And I waited.

For a couple of weeks, I tried applying a ginger compress to the growth, and that didn’t help.

Finally, I got a recommendation for a dermatologist and went to see the gentleman, who was purported to have a charming old European style bedside manner. Bedside manner is quite important to me, because I’ve had a lifetime of anxiety around medical situations. If I make it through an doctor’s appointment without fainting I consider it a success.

By that measure, the visit to the derm was successful, but my a more common evaluation, it was uneventful. He said my bump was almost certainly a benign cyst and nothing to worry about. He said since it was under the skin, he couldn’t take it out and I consult a plastic surgeon about that.

I made an appointment with the doctor the derm suggested, on the Upper East Side. I had my visit (successful) earlier this week and he explained the situation with a bit of a surgeon’s swagger: The cyst is most likely caused by a clogged gland. The oils produced by that gland have no where to go so they get backed up, harden, and there’s my bump. It might go away by itself, but it probably won’t. It might get infected, but it probably won’t. There’s a good chance it will start growing again, but it may simply stay as is. There’s no urgency in taking it out, I’m in no danger. If I was his son, he’d recommend I have it taken out.

I was leaning toward having it taken out. Has my vanity overwhelmed my fear? He described the procedure and my options. Slice, remove intact, stitch. I will have a scar. Can’t say how prominent. Local anesthetic. How am I with needles and blood, he asked… On my reply, he suggested general anesthetic would be a better bet for me and him. If it was your foot, or your behind, perhaps you could keep yourself distracted, but we’re talking blood dripping into your eyes. Jeanhee, who was with me, wondered if he wasn’t a tad too excited as he said that…

I’m leaning toward getting them to knock me out and de-bump me. It’s a hospital visit and a standard barrage of pre-surgery tests. It all adds up to the most major medical experience of my life, by a long shot. And it scares the crap out of me.

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