Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stitches are Out

Stitches are Out

As my husband and I walked our 19-year-old dog in the morning one of our neighbors asked how I’m doing. “I get my stitches out today!”
She looked at my husband and said, “You’d better watch out. The doctor is probably handsome.”
He is actually. He’s also a child. Jock-doc is younger than my children. I don’t like him. I don’t really dislike him. I don’t think he gives me straight answers. He’s curt and defensive when I talk to him. I told our neighbor the truth, “I’m hoping I get to see his female resident.”
Jock-Doc was busy. The clinic was running late. They had me stowed in a room with medical certificates for a doctor I’ve never met. In walked a young male Resident. “Your wondering where your regular doctor is. I can usually read facial expressions”

“Not particularly. I’m wondering if I get to see my x-ray.”

Very young resident got my x-ray up on the screen. NO METAL anywhere! Yay!

Then he got an embarrassed look on his face. “I need to take the bandage off. How are we going to do this?”

I’d worn a t-shirt with a v-neck so I could easily pull it off one shoulder without undressing. I did so. He still looked puzzled. I moved my bra strap off my shoulder. “That’s better.”

He began pulling one strip at a time. “It’s kind of like pulling off bandaids,” he said.

“I’m okay.” I didn’t tell him, but Jock-Doc got the whole bandage mess off quickly and almost painlessly after the 1st surgery. Very Young Resident was neither quick nor painless.

Then Very Young Resident got out some scissors and cut something in the middle of where the bandages had been. Last time there were a bunch of short stitches that Jock-Doc was able to pull out quickly and almost painlessly. This time the stitches were all attached. And Very Young Resident had just cut the 6-inch long strip of stitches in half, creating two 3-inch double sections.

“Take a deep breath.” Before I could finish inhaling, “Now exhale.” Yipes! He pulled out one of the 3-inch sections. “Take another deep breath.” Again, he didn’t let me finish inhaling. “Now exhale.” He started pulling and pulling and pulling and it hurt and really hurt and beyond hurt. I kept exhaling and exhaling and he kept pulling and pulling and it kept beyond hurting. Finally he stopped and went to the cabinet.

I pulling my shirt back up and went to my bike bag for my bottle of comfrey oil. He returned from the cabinet with a bandaid. “I don’t want a bandaid. Do you have a mirror so I can put on my comfrey oil.” Then I looked at my shirt. A spot of blood had already soaked through my shirt. “I want the doctor to look at this. Don’t put the oil on yet.” Very Young Resident left the room.

Jock-Doc eventually showed up. I pulled my shirt and bra strap down over my shoulder again. “Looks good,” he said.

I got a sudden inspiration to check a theory I had about Jock-Doc and Shoulder PT. When I told Shoulder PT that my surgeon was Jock-Doc, Shoulder PT said “The Shoulder Guy” in a voice tone that I interpreted as hostile. “He used to work here. That’s a name I didn’t expect to hear again.” Since I liked Shoulder PT, I didn’t push it.

Jock-Doc asked me to demonstrate my range of motion. I showed Jock-Doc that I can do cow arms, a yoga posture in which I reach one arm up my back from underneath, and the other down from over the shoulder, and clasp hands behind m back. “Shoulder PT says I’m the first person in 20 years to be able to do this after collar bone surgery.” Jock-Doc made a face that I interpreted as anger and distaste. Very Young PT asked who my yoga teacher is, and was thrilled to find out that my teacher’s studio is only about a block and a half from his apartment.

I again asked, “Where’s a mirror? I want to put comfrey oil on my shoulder.” Jock-Doc got all officious. “Let me see it.” I handed him the bottle. This is home made comfrey oil. It has a home-made label. I told him, you can buy it commercially. But I grow my own comfrey, so I made my own. All you do is extract comfrey in olive oil and then strain it through a coffee filter.”

Finally, he made a resigned expression, like he knew he couldn’t stop me from using it and directed me to the Unisex Restroom.

He was done with me. He didn’t care that I had questions. He had places to, things to do and I was no longer a customer. “If you break anything else, come back here.”

“I’m done with that for the rest of my life.”


  1. It can be worse. During removal of sutures from one of my more major surgeries, laparotomy, being done by a third year medical student, I learned that he was getting to take them out because he got to help put them in. That really made me wonder if everything was going to stay in there. Luckily it has ;-).

    Is Still Here

  2. Surviving: Glad you're okay. They have to let the medical students train some time... they may as well learn on someone who is basically healthy. The very young resident was much nicer than the official surgeon whom I think did the surgery, or at least supervised it.