I grew up in Florida never using sunscreen and living very near a beach. So I have spent a lot of time in the sun. Sure, my mom slathered sunscreen on me when I was younger but as I got older it was probably my responsility to attend to my own sun blockage and, well, that went by the way-side. In fact, I would use the tan accelerator. Caribe made a good one or a bottle of canola oil would work just as well.
I'm not proud to admit that I still use very little (translation: none) sunscreen. Last summer at the beachhouse? Never used sunscreen. And I do know better. I read Natural Health and Self and they are telling me, "Sun badddd!" I know it. The wrinkles and the cancer risk. I know it. Yet it just goes with my live-for-the-moment thinking that disallows me to look anywhere in my future for an impact of what today may have on it. Therefore, sun tanning only equals olive complexion. That is as far as I can see it. For the most part. Because it does weigh on me slightly. So I do my part and get my moles checked every couple years and that hard lump 0n my arm too. I am told all my moles and freckles are no concern right now so that is good news but I always have the most interesting visits to the dermatologist.
My first visit a couple years ago - I ended up being a medical case study. A class project. Folks, I was a lab rat.
It started with the usual walk back to a little room with the nurse informing me of protocol. "Put the robe on, opening in the back. Strip down to your underwear."
Then a young female doctor in a white coat entered the room followed by two very young-looking gentlemen sans coats with clipboards. Female Doctor let me in on the jig, "Would you mind if these Georgetown medical students observe?" And what do you say to that? At that point another doctor - the older, wiser, gray-haired one who was actually doing the mole check entered the room.
And he got down to business.
"Drop your gown."
So there I am in just my girly britches (thong, of course) with four people looking on. Yes, those interns had clipboards and were intently following the doctor along on his probe of my body. Because there is the Gray-Haired Doctor on all fours (literally!) starting at the bottom, circling me on all fours working up my legs with a blue pen circling suspect and/or of-student-interest marks. He continues to work his way up my body, pausing to inform the students of the varying sun marks. He's teaching a class, y'all and I'm the blackboard apparently. And for that dark black one right smack in between my boobs? The Old Doctor asked the interns to take a "closer look."
There I am in all my nakedness girly britches, pocked with blue circles, and eight eyeballs scanning my body. And all I can think about are my own self-image issues. Are they seeing what I am seeing?
It was horrifying. For that reason, I will never agree to interns sitting in on any kind of doctor appointment in the future.
Today's visit was not as horrifying but had its own brand of awkwardness.
First of all, the doctor looked like he had a bad sunburn and some red splotches on his face. I thought, "This is my dermatologist?" And then I thought that was good because I knew he was not going to chastise me about all my freckled sun damage. And he didn't.
Oddly, he wore this miner helmet with a headlight to scan my body. ["Are you looking for the mother lode?" --Pixies] And he had me lay down. He started at the top, ruffling through my hair and as he worked his way down my body he tore away my gown, shining th eheadlight as he went. Ripping a little here and there. So there is that and then there is the conversation to go with that. He chooses to talk about "what I do." He is very curious about librarians and librarians in law firms and are they using books anymore, etc. So while I am justifying my career I also feel I need to justify suspicious moles (i.e., my reason for being here).
So while I am trying to be cordial and talk "shop" I am really pointing out all the moles I wonder about and subsequently bringing his attention back to me and my naked body with a light scanning it. On second thought, let's talk about libraries, Doc! In the end, he thought everything on me was peachy. There were no blue circles this time.
So, if nothing is suspect, I began to question why I go to the dermatologist. Why I continually put myself through these horrifying experiences. Why I choose not to use sunscreen. Is it really worth it? Because I am practically getting felt up by my dermatologist.