My Life as a Circus Freak

I had an appointment today with my doctor. A new doctor, actually. I go to the UW General Internal Medicine Center and have have had three primary physicians in the seven years I’ve lived in Seattle, all residents. I don’t mind, really; just doing my part for medical education.

But back to today’s appointment. See, I’ve had this thing on my thumb for a while now. At first, I thought it was some sort of blood blister. As it came to the surface, it didn’t do the usual blister thing, though. It didn’t heal up and go away. Instead, it started to…

(Warning: if you’re not interested in strange medical conditions, blood, etc. stop reading now. Go do some shopping instead!)

It started to push its way up above my skin, a little round mesa of flesh. It was raw and bled easily. Very easily. And profusely. It didn’t hurt or particularly bother me, except for all the blood. Realizing at long last that this just wasn’t normal, I did some googling and discovered that I probably had a Pyogenic Granuloma. Nifty. Gross, but nifty.

So it was off to the doctor. I printed out the web page I linked to above and basically told Dr. Hagman, “I think I have one of these.” Her response: “I’ve never seen anything like it. I think you’re right.” She brought in the attending physician who confirmed my diagnosis. Then the show began.

He asked if he could take a picture. She asked if I’d mind showing it to some other doctors. No problem, I said. A string of residents came in and took a look. The attending went off to get his digital camera. Pictures were taken. Questions were asked and answered. I was a circus freak. The one thing that didn’t happen was the removal of my new friend the granuloma. For that I’ll have to go to the dermatology clinic, which can’t get me in until September. So although I’ve talked about this thing in the past tense, it’s actually still with me. Sigh.

I always wondered where those pictures on medical web sites come from. Now I’m the star of one. I’m sure you’re all delighted that I shared this little story. I just couldn’t resist.

See the follow-up post here.