Last year I went to a dermatologist for the first time. This was driven by my dad’s own dermatology visits – he has had pre-cancerous growths removed – and my own distress every time I get a sunburn.
Me: I don’t want to die.
In high school my biology teacher told us the story of her friend: Her friend went to the doctor one day for a mole, they diagnosed it as skin cancer, and two weeks later he was dead.
The receptionist when I called to make my first ever dermatologist appointment: “We have an opening in three months.”
Me: “I may be dead by then.”
I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived, but I certainly did not expect the expediency I received. A nurse showed me into a room and told me to strip to my underwear.
No conversation first? I paid $40 for this!
Before the nurse had shown me back, I had used the restroom. So this is when I get maybe too graphic and explain that when a guy pees, he can wipe and all that, but 99% of the time there is still some sort of wetness and a tiny drop of wetness may emerge on your underwear.
Then again, maybe this is just me, but I don’t think I have a leaky system or am that rushed/careless when peeing.
Anyhow, I strip to my underwear only to spy two wet spots on my underwear. Miniscule, yes, but there nonetheless. And obviously urine.
Oh my God, the doctor is going to see this. What do I do?!
But then there was a knock, and the dermatologist had appeared. She looked like the sort of woman who might use a parasol if she went outside. She was that pale.
She made some small talk – what do I do, how had my summer been – as she inspected my torso. Then she asked me to remove the cloth sheet over my legs aka my underwear stain. Of course she didn’t comment on the wet pinpricks, but she had to see them. I stared at the ceiling.
Finally, she asked, “Is there anything down under you think I should look at?”
Just my faulty bladder.
Me: “No, I don’t think there is.”
Dermatologist: “See you in a year then.”
When I got home, I changed to go to the gym. And that is when I realized I had something to be even more embarrassed about rather than my urine droplets: My underwear had been inside out.
You’ve got to be kidding me.
So this year when I went to the dermatologist, I made sure to pee well before the appointment and that I put my underwear on right side out. But it was a warm day, and I had walked home from work. I only had ten minutes to shower and drive to the dermatologist’s office. When I got in the car, I was still sweating. Then I got to the office with its blessed central AC, but I had hardly sat down before they whisked me back.
Nurse: “You can strip to your underwear.”
As I stripped, I caught sight of myself in the mirror: Gabriel help me, I had a sweat stain on my butt.
And the dermatologist knocked on the door.