Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bob the Blob

Once upon a time, a thirty-something woman named Meg discovered a small bump on her thumb and wondered what it might be. It didn't hurt, it wasn't bleeding, it was just a wee bump, and she figured it might go away.

A week or so later, there was a small cut on it, which eventually opened and bled (okay, okay, there may have been a bit of help in this from Meg). Meg wrapped it in a Band-Aid and went about her life, wondering what it was but not too concerned, really.

"Maybe it's a wart," said Meg's father.

"Eww...maybe," Meg replied.

So wart treatment was tried...but nothing. The bump with a cut became more of a blob--not a painful blob, but certainly an ugly one. Meg vowed to keep an eye on it, because she was starting a new job and, anyway, doesn't have health insurance.

The blob, wrapped in one Angry Birds Band-Aid after another, didn't get better--but it also didn't get worse. Still, it was ugly, and occasionally, if Meg wasn't careful, it would burst and bleed like a head wound. Tired of mopping up blood from the bathroom sink, Meg consulted the school nurse, who said, "Well, maybe it's a wart? I've never really seen anything like it..." before giving Meg a fancier bandage and advising that if it wasn't better in a week, maybe go to a "doc-in-a-box" clinic and have it looked at.

A week went by and Meg went through a lot of gauze and sticky wrap bandaging. The blob, now called  Bob, did not get worse...but--you guessed it--he also did not get any better. So finally, as Meg sat in her office on Friday afternoon, cursing quietly as Bob started bleeding all over her desk during a mid-afternoon bandage change, it was decided that a trip to the clinic was in order.

The clinic was one of those dubious places where the nurse couldn't say if Meg's blood pressure was healthy or not ("Even if I knew, I couldn't tell you, I'm not allowed!"). Still, Meg had paid $125 to see a doctor, so see a doctor she would. Finally, he came in the room and asked what was going on. Meg unwrapped her bandaging and proudly thrust Bob the Blob under the doc's nose.

"Oh!" exclaimed the doc. Then he launched into fifteen minutes of repeating the same three basic things:

  1. "Well, it's not a wart, those are viral...I could give you an antibiotic but it wouldn't help this...this needs a dermatologist."
  2. "Oh, don't worry, it's not serious, like a tumor or anything. I can't remember what it's called...something like hypoderma granu...oh, I don't know. But you need to see a dermatologist."
  3. "Yeah, see, even if it was a wart, I couldn't really remove it for you, you'd have to see a dermatologist. Because warts are viral, so I'd give you an antibiotic, but in this case, that wouldn't help you."
Meg smiled patiently and eyed Bob the Blob, wishing she could run like hell...and get her money back. Finally, the doc left the room, and mentioned coming back with a dermatologist referral. "I'll wrap your thumb for you when I return..." he promised vaguely, leaving Meg to wait several minutes and play with her iPhone, taking an Instagram picture of Bob for posterity.

Finally, the doc returned and told Meg to go back to the front for her referral, then wandered off without wrapping Bob the Blob in a protective layer of gauze as promised. Fortunately, Meg has been carrying a Zip-Loc baggie of gauze, wrappy stuff, and Neosporin in her purse for a week, so she got the job done in the waiting room.

Finally, the referral (with Bob's location listed as "right thumb" when he is, in fact, on Meg's left thumb) was given, and Meg hot-footed it to her car, lighter in her bank account and rolling her eyes at this strange place. Fortunately, Bob the Blob, while ugly and slightly inconvenient (try, sometime, playing a piano for a choir class with a thumb wrapped in gauze and wrappy stuff) is not dangerous, just gross. What Meg walked away with is the doctor's assertion that Bob is merely the result of a healthy immune system overreacting to an irritant in the skin, "which the dermatologist can help you with." Excellent.

So, from here, Meg lives with Bob the Blob a little longer, until she can figure out how to pay to see a dermatologist (she might bite the bullet and just get some affordable health insurance because she's going to have to soon, anyway). She will keep him clean, keep him wrapped up, and hopefully soon have him fully removed so her thumb can get back to normal.

In the mean time...

1 comment:

Kristine said...

Possibly a Cherry hemangioma? Very frustrating with the clinic.