Sunburns are Bad for You, Who Knew?

As I concluded my visit to the doctor, he asked if there was anything else that I wanted him to take a look at (read this before moving on).

My first thought was he had seen enough of me to last us both a lifetime, and what else could he possibly want to see?

Then I remembered the red spot on the side of my nose. It had popped up last fall and had never gotten around to leaving (I had been thinking about naming it Mother-in-Law).

He touched it (thankfully, after washing his hands) and said it was a type of cancer. Not malignant, but cancer none the less.Don't Ask Me Why the Giant Sun is Wearing Gloves.

This type evidently pops up on people’s skin, often in their early forties (I am so looking forward to my entire body breaking down over the course of the next 30 years… good times… good times).

The mysterious red spot was most likely caused by too many sunburns during my misspent youth.

He said it needed to be treated, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. I wasn’t overly impressed with his diagnosis, because moments before he told me the same thing… “It’s not a big deal.” And it wasn’t, but his hands sure were.

The good (evil) doctor said I had two options. One, let him freeze it off with liquid nitrogen. Or two, I could make an appointment with a dermatologist and get a second opinion.

Since I knew where my doctor’s hands had been recently, I decided I could live without him touching my face so I went with option number 2. Plus, while I trusted him to work on one end of me, my face was another story.

So I was off to the dermatologist.

Nice man. He is Indian I believe (country, not from the old west).

He confirmed Dr. Big Hand’s diagnosis. Cancer, but not serious. And the cause was too many sunburns.

He asked me to estimate how many sunburns I had gotten as a child. My best guess… 2,456.

He said pale, white people should wear a hat. Even when inside (he is a hardliner).

I tried to explain that it wasn’t my fault. My parents had a rule when I was a kid. Don’t come in the house during daylight hours. Ever.

No exceptions; including broken bones, bleeding, or death. I was told that all of these things could wait until after dark. And if they couldn’t, tough.

Of course this is not completely true. Sometimes they would let us in for dinner before dark. Sometimes. Usually, they just sat our lunch on the porch and went back inside.

As I look back, we were treated just the opposite of convicts. They can’t get out and we couldn’t get in.

My parent’s thoughts on sunburns were that a really good one would set us up for the entire summer.

Get that first good monkey butt red burn in June, let it peel, and you were good to go until school started (during this same time I also received a head shaving in the front yard… bald all summer. My hair would grow back just in time for school pictures).

So my younger years consisted of not being allowed inside, sporting a bad haircut, and burning my skin to a crisp.

My parents didn’t know any better. After all, those were the days of talking to strangers, jumping off the garage roof, swimming in disease infested ponds, scraping up your entire body on a Slip ‘n Slide, and never applying sunscreen.

But know I am forty and the bill is coming due.

Is it possible that I am doing something to my daughter that will haunt her later on? Will I discover in 30 years that we were bad parents?

Time will tell.

In the meantime, I am going to buy her a Slip ‘n Slide. That is the most fun a kid can have while bruising over 97% of their body.

I look forward to watching her run at full speed, jump on it, slide through the grass at 107 miles per hour, and crash into the nearest shrub.

If she needs me, I will be watching from inside the house. And yes, I will be wearing a hat.

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Note to Self: Find a Doctor with Smaller Hands.

Today, I got an education. And I wasn’t at school.

It was time for my annual physical. I went to the doctor as a healthy, vibrant, only slightly angry, middle-aged man.

I left broken. And confused. And ashamed.

I arrived 20 minutes early for my appointment. Both bad ideas, arriving early and having an appointment.My Doctor Didn't Look This Nice.

It is always a terrible idea to show up early at the doctor’s office because I know that the wait will be at least 45 minutes. And the 187 pages of paperwork can only keep me occupied for so long.

After completing my thesis (paperwork), I took a moment (27 minutes) to read Highlights Magazine. This isn’t really relevant to this blog post, I just wanted to share my love for Highlights.

The wait finally ended and Nurse Evil took me to a cell in the very back of the office. I say cell because they always shut the door behind them when they leave. You think you can get up and walk out, but you can’t.

And believe me, I wanted to.

I asked myself why they had me walk 4 blocks to the back of the office, but that would become apparent to me in a few moments.

The doctor came in and talked about my blood pressure, exercise routine, and weight.

By the way I refuse to take advice on my weight (5’10”- 190 pounds) from a man who is 5’5”- 325 pounds… at least. He is about one cupcake away from getting rolled back into the sea.

When doctors graduate from medical school they should pass out mirrors along with the diplomas.

If I seem angry, you are quite perceptive.

After the doctor attempted to loosen me up with some small talk, he made his move.

No dinner, no drinks, no flowers. He simply said with a sadistic look in his eye, “How old are you?”

I responded openly and honestly (like an idiot). “I am 40.”

To which he replied, “Well, it’s time.”The Best Kid Magazine to Kill Time in a Doctor's Office.

I was hoping he meant… it’s time to conclude this appointment, or ask me how the school year went, or it’s time to talk about sports, or even it’s time to take a spoon and ram it in your ear.

Nope. I couldn’t get so lucky. At that moment I would have given my first born for a spoon.

He asked if I had ever had this done before. I am both married and a little shy, so of course not (does anyone ever say yes?).

Then he gave the order (because if he would have asked politely, I would have punched him in the neck and tried to outrun Nurse Evil to my car).

I will spare you the graphic details, but let’s just say, if I had tried to run, I may have tripped over my pants which were now located around my ankles.

At this point a very important question popped in my head. Why do doctors have such big hands?

The good news: I am healthy. The bad news: my life has forever been changed.

My old life, when I was innocent, pre-dates this horrifying incident, and now I must live my new life which is full of shame and horrific nightmares.

I would go take a nap and try to forget this terrible day, but I am afraid to close my eyes.

It did occur to me why they put me in the far cell.

They were trying to lower the chance that the children in the waiting room, who were enjoying the May issue of Highlights, would be frightened by my screaming/crying.

Didn’t work. I am a noisy one.

Thankfully, there are 365 days until my next appointment. And I am going to enjoy every precious second. Live life to the fullest.

Even if I am too ashamed to leave the house (I can’t run the risk of seeing the doctor at the grocery store… what if he wants to shake hands?)

And when I return next year, I am going to look Dr. Big Hands right in the eye and say “You look great. Have you lost weight? And I am 39 years old. Honest.”

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