i had two medical appointments this afternoon in boston: an "all of us" genetic research study at 2pm to donate some blood and urine sample followed by a 2:30pm visit to MGH's dermatology department to check out the growth on my left pink toe. an hour before leaving i made the mistake of going to the bathroom. i spent the remaining time drinking as much water as possible, trying to replenish my fluids.

i left by 1:20pm. temperature today was in the upper 60's with the sky a mixture of clouds. i wore a t-shirt and some jeans. it was my first long distance ride with the new crankset. i'd set front gear to the middle cog, while in the back i either rode in 3-4th gear or 6-7th, since the chain skips on 5th gear for some reason.

the research place was in the charles river plaza on 185 cambridge street. the appointment could take half an hour but they told me i could come early, so i'd have time to get to my next appointment at 50 staniford street at 2:30pm. it took me about 20 minutes to arrive.

i'd never been to the charles river plaza before. i knew there was a whole foods but i didn't know there was also a CVS. i was instructed to call their office when i arrived so somebody could escort me upstairs. i called twice, both times i was sent to their voicemail. while searching for an alternative number to call, they called me back, said there was something wrong with their phone, and that somebody would come down to get me.

i met jennifer, who came down clutching a macbook computer. before we went upstairs, she had me disinfect my hands then put on a new face mask. i'd already participated in a genetic research project a few months ago when i had my annual physical and someone asked if i wanted to join the MGH biobank program when i was getting my blood drawn. the "all of us" study is similar, but it's federally funded by the NIH.

after taking my information, jennifer took my blood pressure and brought me to a weight and height measurement station. we then went to a different exam room where she took my blood. she then gave me a sample cup and showed me where the bathroom was. by that point i had plenty of urine and could've easily filled the whole cup but they just needed a small sample. when i was done, she handed me a packet that included a $25 amazon gift card which i wasn't expecting. i was happy to just do it for free.

from 185 cambridge street there's a shortcut that leads directly to 50 staniford street, all MGH buildings. when i left the research place it was already 2:20pm. i quickly hussled to my next appointment, found a sign outside to lock my bike to, then went upstairs to dermatology. i took the stairs because it was only on the 2nd floor.

just like at the previous place, i had to disinfect my hands first before grabbing a new facemask. i then checked in one of the attendants sitting behind a plastic window partition. after a few minutes of waiting, someone came out and called my name.

i chatted with the nurse first, who verified my information. i showed her my pinky toe and she took down some notes before getting the doctor. every time i come it's a different doctor, this time i had a the north reading storeyoung russian dermatologist (at least from his eyes since he was wearing a facemask). he took one look at the growth on my toe and said it was most likely an acquired digital fibrokeratoma. he said the usual course of action is to remove it and send it to the lab for biopsy. he can either cut it off with local anesthesia then cauterizing the wound, or freezing it off entirely. there could be a risk of damaging in the nail bed, in which case my pink nail might have some wavy deformity but i wouldn't lost the nail. i agreed to the procedure, he had me sign some paperwork, then left the room.

minutes later the nurse came back with the equipment and sample cup. there was a syringe full of lidocaine, a scalpel, bandaid, gauze, vaseline, and something that looked like a cauterizing device. she placed all the equipment on a wheeled table. she then took some photos of the toe with a scale indicator sticker. she warned me that the lidocaine injection would hurt, which got me a little worried. she left the room, told me to sit back on the examining bed and relax.

after a few more minutes, the nurse, the doctor, and a 2nd nurse all came into the room. the doctor injected me with the lidocaine. it didn't hurt at first but then i dug the needle further into my toe and there was a sharp pain. it wasn't terrible, and a few seconds later i didn't feel any pain on the toe. using the scalpel, he then removed the fibrokeratoma. i didn't watch when he did it, but i also didn't feel anything. afterwards i looked, it didn't even seem like it was bleeding. he was also explaining to the two nurses what he was doing, like he was training them. next he cauterized the wound. that i saw, it didn't look much like anything, just a dark red region where the growth used to be. afterwards i smelled something had a leather odor, and i realized it was the smell of burnt human flesh. the nurse applied some vaseline on my toe and then covered it up with a bandaid. she told me earlier to keep the toe dry for the next 24 hours, afterwards i'm supposed to change the bandaid everyday, making sure to apply some vaseline on the wound beforehand. it'll take about 2 weeks before the wound is completely healed. she gave me a supply of vaseline and some bandaids.

with that i was done. i was able to walk on the foot without any pain, but only because the lidocaine is supposed to last for 2 hours. after that, who knows how i'll be feeling. i actually got out of there pretty late, 3:20pm.

typically from MGH i'd go straight to haymarket, but my mother asked me to get a few things from chinatown, so i went to chinatown first instead. i went a new route that was a basically following cambridge street until it became tremont street then shawmut avenue. it was a pretty scenic route, going by such boston landmarks as the old state house, granary burial ground, downtown crossing, and the theater district. the route took me right in front of the two chinese supermarkets.

i went to ming's market first. they had everything i needed so i didn't bother going to c-mart. by the time i left ming's market it was already 4pm anyway, so i didn't have time for c-mart even if i needed to go.

instead i cut across downtown crossing and post office square to get to haymarket. some vendors were already starting to take down their stalls. there was nothing really interesting there, i ended up with: 4 lbs. of baby cucumbers ($4), 7 purple plums ($2), a sleeve of garlic ($2), and 6 limes ($1).

i left haymarket at 4:30pm. it took me just 20 minutes to pedal back home. after unloading my stuff, i went back outside to star market to grab some häagen-dazs ice cream on sale ($1.97 a carton, limit of 2): bourbon praline and pistachio.

back at home, i decided to take a shower after being soaked in sweat from the bike ride. but how to keep my toe dry? i ended up tying my left foot in two plastic bags. i even used a cinch strap to make it tight. even though, i had my left foot propped up on the wall while balancing precariously on my right foot. it looked like i was doing advanced yoga or playing a game of twister in the bathroom. i washed quickly then dried off before i had a change to fall down and hurt myself.

my order of double salt licorice from nuts.com arrived tonight. i've only had the venco brand before, which are smaller pieces and harder. these were larger and softer, which actually took some getting used to as i've only had the hard variety. when i looked at the nutritional info on the back of the bag, i was surprised sodium was 0%. so where does that salty flavor come from? is it the ammonium chloride?

i finished midnight mass on netflix, which i started watching a few days ago. it was pretty good, but so much exposition about religion and suffering and other deep existential and philosophical topics. at times it felt like a play, how one character would give a long speech. i think that just made the action bits more worthwhile.

for dinner i warmed up a brick of on-cor lasagna. i had one last week as well. it's nothing special, but it's cheap, convenient, and filling. i timed it so it'd finish baking right in time to watch the ALDS game between the red sox and astros. it was a close game, the final score was 4-5, boston lost. chris sale pitched but cora pulled him in the 3rd inning, he was getting too deep in the count and wasn't being effective at all, which has been the case for much of his recent starts, to the point where if i was cora, i wouldn't bother starting him again, he's obviously not completely 100% after his tommy john surgery.