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Dos Factotum » Archive » The Bump and the Gravy, Part 2

The Bump and the Gravy, Part 2

June 27th, 2008

As discussed in part 1 of this TBD-part series, I’ve had a sizable bump on my right thigh since at least Halloween ’07. Two weeks ago I went to the dermatologist. He pierced the bump with a needle, causing a viscous brown fluid to flow out of it. While the bump went away, the purplish scabby nub on top remained. During the weeks that followed, the bump refilled itself, presumably with the same type of body gravy. By the time I walked into the dermatologist’s office for the biopsy today, the bump had grown to the depth and girth that had once taken it months to achieve.

Men’s Vogue is bullshit but it’s the best publication in Skinworks’ Manhattan office, so I skimmed it during my half hour wait. For such a swanky waiting room and expensive location, you’d think they could do better.

The bald and Spanish or Portuguese dermatologist had forgotten about me and the bump, which was to be expected. Considering the fact that any yahoo with a rash on his chest can come in his office and demand treatment, he probably sees a lot dudes, and a lot bumps.

“I’m the guy with the bump that oozed brown stuff.”

“Oh, right. On your thigh,” he said. “OK, so take off your pants.”

I had consciously picked out my top-shelf Banana Republic dog print boxers this morning, knowing Javier would see them later.

“It filled up again,” I told him.

“Yes. It. Has.” He studied it.

I asked if he had a clue what it was.

“We’re gonna find out,” he reassured me, and stepped over to the cabinet, from which he pulled a myriad of supplies: needles, sutures, a syringe, bottles of liquid and short metal pointy devices that are thicker than needles but skinnier than, say, rulers. He placed his arsenal on the bedside table and told me to lean back. But I didn’t. I wanted to watch the biopsy so I could, y’know, write about it later, because I, y’know, have no better way to spend my Friday night.

First, he took the syringe and stuck it deep into the bump and pushed in the thing that makes liquid come out of syringes.

“What’s that liquid?” I asked. I assumed it was meant to sterilize the bump, or to encourage the gravy to seep out.

“Just relax and lie down, please.”

He squeezed the bump. This time a yellowish liquid oozed forth. It was watery and almost translucent compared to the gravy.

“Is whatever you injected into the bump mixing with the brown stuff? Is that why it’s yellow?”

“Yes, I think so. Just relax,” he said, and grabbed the bump between his thumb and forefinger and worked it. Really hard. The yellow stuff went everywhere. Going along with the food theme, this shit is like the liquid that comes out of a mustard bottle if you don’t shake it well enough. I’ll call it mustard water.

Next, he coated the bump with iodine, something I’d always thought doctors did before puncturing a patient’s skin. Eh, it was 5:40 on a Friday and he was clearly in a rush to go and do whatever it is dermos do to relax. I’m guessing opium.

Next, Javier took the pointy metal device and dug around inside the bump, scraping its sides like someone trying to get the final traces of pudding out of a Snack Pack.

“OK,” he said, “now I’m going to do what’s called a push biopsy.”

See, I assumed what he’d been doing the whole time was the biopsy. Boy did I have egg on my face.

“So, you’re going to cut a piece out?” I asked.

“Yes. Please lie down and relax.”

But I couldn’t.

“Like, a piece from inside the bump or a piece of the purplish nub of skin on top of it?”

“Just the skin on top,” he said. “Then I’m going to put in two stitches. Please lie down.”

And for some reason, hearing the word “stitches” made me gulp a cartoonish, bubble-in-throat-style gulp. Perhaps it’s because the severity of one’s childhood injuries were always judged by the number of stitches they needed. “Steven Goldstein hit his forehead on the stuffed deer’s antlers and needed 5 stitches!” Two stitches, while not a lot of stitches, are still stitches.

“Please lie down,” Javier said calmly. He was so nice. If I were a dermo, I’d be like, “Do what I say or I’ll inject you with whatever this guy has.”

This time, I laid down with my head all the way back on the pillow and stared at the light fixtures. Like the decor in the waiting room, they were quite snazzy, more so than what you’d expect from a room that contains a biohazard trash can.

Javier went to work. I could feel the purplish nub being lopped off in one quick snip, and I could feel the sutures as they dragged the black thread through my skin. More unpleasant than painful, the whole procedure was over in less than two minutes. Like I said, Javier had places to be.

He taped a gauze pad over the wound and mumbled something about Neosporin.

“What was that?” I asked.

“Oh, I said, just put some Neosporin or hydrogen peroxide on it every once and a while,” he said, as if doing so after a biopsy was common knowledge and those were two things I had in the apartment or wanted to spend time buying.

“Ooh, ooooh,” he said. “Hold on,” and he handed me some napkins. “Watch out for that.” He pointed to a pool of mustard water between my thighs. I had no idea that much had come out during the biopsy. It gave the impression that I’d given birth to…to…make this good, Grim…something yellow. Let’s go with Big Bird.

The purplish nub bobbed up and down in a small jar filled with clear liquid. Off to the lab, little buddy.

“So, what now?” I asked.

“No need to schedule an appointment. We should hear back from the lab in two weeks. Just give me a buzz and we’ll chat about it then.”

Such nonchalance was unsettling at the time but I suppose saying “Give me a buzz and we’ll chat about it” when referring to a biopsy’s results is actually pretty cool.

Stay tuned for part 3, in which I’ll discuss the results in detail and, God willing, get to quote Detective John Kimble—“It’s not a tumor!”

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