i almost forgot about my appointment to see the dermatologist at mass general this morning. when i realized last night that i had to wake up early today, i reluctantly went to bed at 3am. a few hours later it was time to wake up, as i fumbled blindly with the snooze buttons to milk as much minutes as possible out of the alarm clock.
at the bus stop i bumped into that taiwanese girl again, going off to boston for her english language class. sometimes i feel dumb conversing in chinese. the bulk of my chinese vocabulary is whatever i learned up to age 6, before i moved to the united states, so occasionally it's difficult for me to have an intelligent conversation with chinese speaking people because i don't know the words, or i say it in a way that only a person with a 6 year old vocabulary would say it (a lot of defining words i don't know how to say in chinese, or occasionally asking, "what does so-and-so mean?" when someone says something in chinese i don't understand). nevertheless, i have a 28 year old mind, and i have complex ideas and opinions, just that have a chinese vocabulary bottleneck. it's not a big deal, vocabulary can be improved, the hard part is actually being able to speak the language with fluency, and that has never been under any doubt. anyway, taiwanese girl was there with her roommate, korean girl, also a student at the same language class (how this came to be was purely coincidental). taiwanese girl suggested i should say a few words to her roommate, and i gave them both a smile, but didn't do what was asked. early in the morning, i don't take orders very well, especially if it requires me to be friendly, because i'm usually quite antisocial before 9am. i took the t with them as far as charles/mgh, where i got off for my appointment.
the dermatology ward was very busy when i arrived. i filled out some forms and waited for 15 minutes before i was called into the examination room. left alone, i briefly thought about stealing some hospital supplies (tongue dispensers, alcohol wipes, gauze pads) but the doctor came back in before i could act on my bad impulses. he was a strange man, lacking some people skills, very "let's get down to business," none of that getting-to-know-you chit chat that doctor's usually engage in before they start anything. "so what're you in here for?" he asked. it was rhetorical of course, because he was holding my charts, and they explained it all. "i've got this wart on my temple that i'd like to get rid of," i said. he immediately pounced on my head, grabbing hold of it with one hand, whipping out a magnifying glass he wears as a necklace with the other hand and studying the wart. "who told you this was a wart?" he said, with a touch of outrage. "um...my doctor..." i muttered. "this is definitely not wart!" huh? a little more info please? "if it's not a wart, than what is it?" i asked calmly. "it's some sort of nevus." a what? "it's some sort of developmental defect." he then engaged his medical school training and started rambling on about nevus theory and the different kinds of nevi. his favorite words seemed to be "developmental defect," which made me feel really good about myself, like i was special. "we can get rid of it, but it's going to leave a scar. first we'll have to do some pathology on it, but we can definitely get rid of it." "are you going to freeze it?" i asked. "no, we'll just shave it off, at most you'll have a pale scar where it use to be." i had to ask: "is it going to hurt?" he said: "the initial anesthesia might hurt for 10 seconds but then you won't feel a thing. and no it's not too close to your eye. i had a man come in this morning with something on his eyelid, and even that isn't close." he got me to sit on the examining table and started pulling off my t-shirt without asking me (slow down doctor, i hardly know you!), trying to see if i have anything else dermatologically abnormal going on my body. turns out i have a few more "developmental defects," on my chest, where i have a few in-grown hairs ("those are benign tumors, nothing to worry about," he told me), and on the back of my arms ("you can get some ovee-the-counter stuff to treat that," he said). i left his office feeling like a total freak. when one of the nurses asked if i was all set, i just wanted to shout in her face, "NO I'M NOT ALL SET! I HAVE DEVELOPMENTAL DEFECTS, WOMAN!" but i didn't, i quietly made an appointment for next month, where the dermatologist is going to shave me.