At long last, I’ve lost my extra appendage. The grotesque growth on my thumb (Kathy called it my pyroclastic flowanoma) is gone, gone, GONE! It took some doing (a trip to urgent care and numerous phone calls), but I finally managed to get an earlier appointment at the UW dermatology clinic. Of course, upon seeing my thumb, the first question I was asked by both the nurse and the med student was “why did you wait so long?” Argh!
(WARNING: gratuitous and possibly excessive medical detail ahead)
After telling The Tale Of The Growth to the nurse, med student, and dermatologist and having my thumb photographed and showcased to other doctors, the real fun began. The nurse took her position holding my thumb in place (acting as a tourniquet) and the doctor numbed my thumb with Novocain (“you’ll feel a little poke”). After that, I could neither feel nor see my thumb.
The doctor asked repeatedly whether I could feel anything as he gouged away at my thumb. It only took a couple minutes; I never felt a thing. Using forceps, he plopped my old foe the pyogenic granuloma in a sample jar. The fun didn’t stop there, though. The deep divot in my thumb needed to be cauterized to stop bleeding. Bzzt, Bzzt… and a wisp of vile smoke. Bzzzzzt. Bzzzzt. The cauterization took significantly longer than the actual removal. Bzzzt.
And it was done. The nurse bandaged my thumb thoroughly and the doctor filled me in on the follow-up: keep the dressing on for 72 hours, followed by an additional week of bandaging; keep the hand elevated as much as possible for a week; two weeks of Keflex; Codeine as needed for pain; back for a follow-up appointment in a month.
What will the end result be? A permanent scar in the middle of my thumb (with at least some area that has no feeling) and a 1 in 20 chance it will grow back.