home surgery

late this afternoon i was doing some mac surgery (reinstalling my system). i was looking around, bored, when i saw the can of dustoff sitting there next to the bottle of rubbing alcohol. hmmm i thought, now would be a good time to excise the skin tag (about the size of a kidney bean) that i have had on my hip for as long as i can remember. i have had a couple doctors look at it, say oh yeah that’s gonna be messy, gonna bleed a lot, and then not do anything about it. today i decided that i was going to take matters into my own hands.

i suppose this is as good a place as any to insert the disclaimer that I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT and you shouldn’t do this at home yourself. before i helped take care of my dad as he died a slow death from cancer, i was very squeamish. i would have fainted even thinking about what i did today. but that was before i sat in the operating room for a spinal block procedure, watched catheter bags fill with blood, and changed dressings on infected kidney stent wounds. today, i can deal with chopping a little of my own skin off.

so i started off looking at this little benign blob of crap that has been sitting next to my hipbone. i had read that cryosurgery was one way of getting rid of them, and there was the can of dustoff, which i know is a good instrument for cryosurgery if you hold the can upside down. i put some paper towels down where i did not want my skin to freeze, inverted the can and gave it a squeeze. within three seconds the little blob of skin was a frost covered flesh ice cube. hmmm. but the skin tag was still there, and now i started worrying that i may have made things worse. now i was going to have some necrotic tissue hanging out, still attached to the body at large. which i guess is the whole idea of cryosurgery, but i now began to worry that the dead tissue might not just wither away quietly. so i got out some dental floss and a pair of surgical scissors i picked up at the hospital when my dad was there. i tied a torniquet around the thing and readied the scissors.

as i said, the two doctors i had shown it to had mentioned this might be messy. i had visions of a gusher of blood. this is where i started getting nervous. i am not into pain. i am not one of those people who cuts himself on purpose. ever.

so now i am in a position where i pretty much have convinced myself that i have to slice this thing off. i grabbed the dustoff and iced everything down again, for the anaesthesia. of course it didn’t quite come off on the first snip, that would have been too easy. but remarkably, it didn’t hurt much. i squeezed the scissors a second time and it was removed. (it fell on the floor and then i had to search around for it). it did bleed an awful lot. but eventually, it coagulated, and now i am free of it. the patient is going to be just fine. here’s a picture of the offending flesh.






4 responses to “home surgery”

  1. gimaha Avatar

    Time for Medical School?

  2. Michael Avatar

    Well done! I’m impressed that it worked out so well. There is no way that I would ever attempt something like this. I’m far too squeamish.

    I too have noticed that dustoff can freeze things if you invert the can. I wonder why dustoff freezes things like that? Is it just the expanding air and release of pressure that causes the freezing?

  3. Mr Ken Avatar

    as you know, i worked at radio shack long ago where they sell (among other fun things) dustoff. in a fit of boredom one day, i grabbed a can and sprayed the back of a coworker’s neck for a solid two to three seconds before he snapped forward and took a hunched-over crash position (hands behind head, look of intense fear on his face). he was fine after about ten minutes, and my boredom was cured for the rest of the day.

  4. moritheil Avatar

    That’s impressive, if a little careless. But hey, it worked, and you are presumably not dying from infection.

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