Friday, February 13, 2009


This week I had a mole removed that was just above my left eyebrow. A few months ago it had grown and slightly changed colour, which is a warning sign for a potential cancer. So I went to a dermatologist at a local clinic and once he looked at it through a magnifying glass decided it would be better to have it surgically removed and biopsied.

Now while I have had some grumblings about medical care here ("assembly line" mentality by clinics, language issues) I can certainly never complain about the speed at which things get done. Here is what happened:

Saturday -- see dermatologist (no need to book an appointment, no referral from a GP, just walk in and take a number)
-- go to the surgeon in the same clinic for consultation and filling out the insurance pre-approval forms
Monday -- received a call that the insurance company approved the procedure, consultation with surgeon scheduled for Thursday
Thursday -- consultation with surgeon about the procedure, says I will receive a call later about when the surgery will be held
-- consultation with anaesthesiologist, as the surgeon wants this to be under general anaesthetic. (!!)
Sunday -- receive call about the surgery, scheduled for Tuesday morning.
Tuesday -- go to clinic for the surgery

So that was what, 10 days? I wonder how long it would have taken to get through all of that in Canada. Could have been months.

As to the surgery I was a bit concerned that the surgeon wanted to use general anaesthetic -- the mole wasn't that big I thought. So the anaesthesiologist agreed to ask the surgeon to see if it could be done under local. And I agreed that if the surgeon felt that general anaesthetic was necessary then general anaesthetic it is. I wasn't going to argue the point.

So on Tuesday morning at 8am I arrived at the clinic, and was shown to a private patient room where I could change. It was a pretty nice room with a cabinet to lock your stuff up in, a TV, private bathroom, a bed of course, and a couch for visitors. So I changed into the hospital gown and then a nurse gave me a sedative. 20 minutes later I was wheeled into surgery.

The decision was for general anaesthetic. Now I have never been under a general anaesthetic so I was more intrigued than nervous (or maybe that was the sedative). A mask was put over my mouth so that I could start inhaling some kind of gas and I was told to breathe deeply. I remember thinking, " I wonder how long the anaesthetic will . . ."

And then I woke up back in my room at the clinic!!

Man, that stuff works fast! Apparently I was out for about two hours and I do not remember any of it.

Was served a nice lunch of roasted herb chicken on rice with vegetables and salad. Watched TV for a bit, was given my prescription for antibiotics, and discharged at 3pm. All in all I can't complain.

The wound was sore for the first day but not really painful and I have not taken any painkillers for it. It is now day four and in a few more days and I should be able to take the bandage off and see how it looks. The surgeon already warned me that there will be a scar but that's a small price to pay for removing a potentially cancerous mole, a price I will pay any day. As for the mole I'll call in a couple weeks to see what the results were.


Karen C said...

Hi Glen, Hope all reports come back negative. You are right about if you had of had that procedure done in Canada it would have taken a month to see a doctor and from there who knows how much longer it would have been.
Take care and wishing you the best.
That was an annoying little sand & dust storm that blew in here.
I am heading back to Canada on the 17 Feb. has been a great visit but I do look forward to getting back to Canada and my 2 girls (cats). Now I must hurray and get ready for the roof top Valentine Party tonight. These CNA teachers like to party.
Take care of your wound and kudo's to you for not putting something like that off. Look forward to hearing nothing but good news from the report.

Glen McKay said...

Hey I didn't realize you were still in town! We should have coffee before you go just to say hi, send me an email.

Yeah that was a pretty bad duststorm. Not the worst I've seen but definately top 5. At least you got to experience one - helps make for a memorable vacation.

Magnus said...

I just found out that I have an atenic keratosis, or something like that.