Yesterday, I had a small surgical procedure done that sounds far worse than it was, removing a squamous cell carcinoma from the top of my head, and all's well. Of the two most-common types of skin.cancer, squamous cell is the more serious, though it's really not particularly problematic. It's largely localized on the skin and easily removed, To be clear, if untreated for a long time, perhaps a decade, that can be deeply serious, deadly, in fact. But under normal conditions, it's a simple procedure. And given that (for reasons too long to go into) I now have a skin checkup every six months, the likelihood of me going even two years without discovering such things has plummeted drastically. That's why this was a no-big deal, other than an annoyance.
I was told that the process could take up to four hours. Until decide to be a correspondent for WebMD I won't go through all the details, but let's just say that they deal with it in steps depending on the node. And mine was so surface that I was out of there in only a couple hours. Very easy. There was almost no pain in the slightest, thanks to the anesthetic, even with them taking a rusty shovel into my scalp. The doctor kept saying, "This will sting a bit," and I kept replying, "Nope." Anesthetic is a fine invention!
And so I traipsed home happily, with my instructions on how to deal with post-surgical things for the next two weeks when they'll take out the stitches. All's fine and good and swell. Done.
Well, it turns out not completely done. There is one other, small, pesky thing that's part of the process.
That's when, during the evening, the anesthetic started to wear off.
Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. Anesthetics wear off. Silly me.
Honestly, it's not bad at all. Especially compared to the reason I had to go through all this. But still -- when you're all chipper and think everything is over with, and suddenly there's an unexpected pinging on your head, and then eventually it starts to get a wee sore, and soon things start to throb a little and become somewhat distracting, you just feel like something of an idiot for forgetting about the concept of anesthetics wearing off. "Oh, yeah, right, I forgot, they actually cut into my head and then dug in there, and I didn't feel it because they NUMBED the whole thing! How do you forget that??" And maybe when they told you about the differences between Tylenol, Advil, Aleve and aspirin and which to avoid you should have paid closer attention, but let your mind wander because after all it was so comfortable at that moment. You had freaking surgery, how do you forget that?? (I guess it helps the forgetting process somewhat because, being on the top of my head, that makes it really hard to see the bandages unless you have incredibly-impressive peripheral vision that doesn't just go horizontal, but also up and then backwards.) I don't tend to check myself out in mirrors all that often, and was wearing a baseball cap driving home like usual, but later in the evening I went into the bathroom and, yes, there's actually a really big bandage up there, so that might explain things. (It comes off on Friday...)
As I said, all's well, it's not a problem, mainly just annoying and something that's fortunately easy to deal with, most especially when caught and dealt with early. And this morning the soreness has largely abated. But I don't think it's proper to write about this and not end with some sort of medical observation. So, okay, here then is the take-away with today's Medical Tip:
Anesthetics wear off.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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