She seemed like a perfectly nice woman until she came at me with a knife.
First she grabbed my nose with one hand and held it firmly while she stuck a needle into it with the other hand. "This will sting a little," she said. "A deep breath helps."
Easy for her to say, from the non-pointed end of the syringe. My relief when she removed the needle only lasted for a minute.
Then she came back with a sharp little knife and started to scoop a divot out of the end of my newly-numbed nose. Even having my eyes squeezed shut didn't help much. It didn't hurt, exactly, but despite the shot I could feel the blade slicing across my face in a very personal manner. Even worse, I could hear it, not through my ears really, but somehow directly inside my brain. It made me feel about three years old and left me wishing that someone, preferably my mother, had come along to the dermatologist's office to defend me.
The band-aid she put on afterward wasn't the little round one I had expected. Instead, it was a regular one, about the size you might use for a toddler's scraped knee. It draped across my nose far enough to stick on my cheeks on either side. It itched. Plus, I could see it out of the inner corners of both eyes, which made me feel cross-eyed and gave me a headache.
I kept thinking of the metal prosthetic nose worn by Patrick Stewart as the villain in a movie I saw years ago. "Conspiracy Theory," maybe? I'm not sure—the only thing I really remember about it is the little tent over his nose.
All this drama was due to a little bump on my nose that appeared a couple of months ago and didn't seem inclined to go away. The doctor said it might be a sebaceous something-or-other, or it might be a basal cell carcinoma. She assured me that it wasn't serious either way and said the biopsy results would be back in about 10 days.
She sent me home with my giant band-aid, a reminder about using sunscreen, and a strong suggestion to wear a broad-brimmed hat. Which I will be happy to do, if I can ever find one that fits my child-sized head. One that didn't make me look like a dork would be nice, too.
The morning after the procedure, I took the band-aid off. At my first glance in the mirror, the spot was hardly even visible. That was reassuring for about 17 seconds—until I put my reading glasses on and could actually see the thing.
As a woman of mature years and perspective, going out in public with a pinky-fingernail-sized spot on the end of your nose shouldn't be a big deal. Especially when you are exceedingly grateful that, medically, it truly isn't a big deal.
Unfortunately, being a lady of a certain age with a dermatologist-inflicted gouge on your nose doesn't feel any different from being a teenager with what feels like the world's most conspicuous zit. You're sure it's the only thing about your face that anyone can even see.
The only saving grace is knowing that all my friends are also people of mature years. They know enough to regard a spot on someone else's nose with compassion and understanding. Even better, without their reading glasses, they can hardly see it in the first place.