I do my morning exercise at the health club in our local Jewish Community Center. It’s a pretty low-brow establishment, in desperate need of upgrade and repair, but it suits me and the other middle-aged ladies just fine. And what’s best about it is the locker room. Not the physical locker room; more the social space which it creates. There all shapes and sizes of women (OK, they are mostly wrinkled and baggy) assemble in various stages of undress to share the latest news. I always tell my husband that I get all my information from the ladies at the JCC.
Who needs CNN when the lady 3 lockers down can tell me the real news about Melania Trump?
One of the hot topics of discussion in the locker is skin. Yes, skin, as in age spots and moles and melanoma and procedures and dermatologists.
I do not engage in this talk because it makes me slightly nauseous. In fact, most things having to do with bodily fluids and functions make me queasy. Let’s just say I could never be a nurse. Touching skin is not my forte.
When my mom was recovering from heart surgery a few years ago, she would plaintively plead, “Won’t you just rub some lotion on my legs?” which sent me rushing out in the hall to find the nearest Nursing Assistant on the floor.
This week, one of the locker room ladies, Shirley, was talking about this new dermatologist and how he was just so nice. But then of course the topic veers into what gross thing Shirley had removed, and I am forced to pack up my towel and scram.
But it did get me to thinking that I haven’t been to a dermatologist in a very long time, and maybe I needed to join the ranks of the ladies who have their skin examined. I booked an appointment with the guy that Shirley loved.
This doctor was indeed a really nice person. What’s more, he actually seemed to enjoy his job, which I cannot fathom. He did the exam, and not to gross you readers out, but he did find a patch that he thought was suspicious, and should be biopsied.
I was sent home with a Band-Aid on my shoulder and various pamphlets about skin cancers.
My husband’s job was to change the Band-Aid daily, since I could not reach the spot myself. The first time, John declared, “Yah, he really took quite a divot.”
The second time was not much better, “It’s like he used a little melon baller.” We call that TMI: too much information. After that, I found a way to reach around to my shoulder on my own.
The biopsy came back, and my skin is healthy. The only thing I have to do is return next year for what will now be an annual “skin check”.
I’m glad I went to the dermatologist; it gives me a lot of reassurance that my skin is fine. And it certainly helps me join in on the conversation with the ladies in the locker room, even if it does veer into squeamish territory.