The dermatologist came in quickly for the procedure. He had only met CB one other time, but she was obviously memorable. Routine biopsies from her annual dermatology visit revealed that one area on her abdomen was pre-cancerous and needed surgery. The surgery for a mole half the size of a raisin involved cutting an inch and a half long, half inch wide area of porcelain tissue from her body, dig down deep and remove all the layers then stitch her back up. I've had it done and it doesn't hurt, but it leaves an ugly scar.
It doesn't hurt but I'm not CB so I understand. CB DOESN'T understand. She's already aware that something is up by her reluctance to enter the room. She hates laying on her back but unfortunately that is the position in which she finds herself, a nurse at her head, a nurse and I at her feet and a doctor leaning over her with hypodermic needle in hand to numb the crap out of the area.
She's not happy and shows it with some mild struggle. Her un-attended hand goes up and smacks the doctor right across his freshly shaven face, the thwack echoing off the walls. I am mortified, apologetic but he hasn't missed a beat. He shows only compassion without a trace of pity - he doesn't flinch or flush. I hold both her hands so tight and turn my head to not see the cutting and the blood and the chunk of flesh get lifted off of her skin. I think at one moment that I might cry, but it passes. Crying really wouldn't help anything. Thankfully, no one notices my momentary lapse.
The tall, thin, blond nurse at her head is rubbing her arm and talking non-stop to CB, a calm soothing voice reminiscent of motherese. CB calms as if a cloak is being lain upon her.
She gets around 22 staples to close her wound. His deft hand lines them up like a picket fence. A Frankenstein-looking scar, but the wound is closed.
"You are so good with her," the blond nurse says after it's all over and I'm getting CB dressed.
"No, um, YOU were so good with her. I'm amazed. I'm grateful. Most people don't really take the time to talk to CB the way you did," I say. "And she responded to you. It comforted her."
"I think people are afraid of saying the wrong thing," the nurse offers, and I agree wholeheartedly. It's true, but here's the thing. If you are guided by your heart and come from a place of compassion, you can't go wrong. You just can't, at least that's how I see it.
This morning could have been a hot mess, but it wasn't because I wasn't in it alone. Neither was CB. We had three people right there with us, knowing exactly what we needed and unafraid to show it. Nothing in the world feels so good than to be seen, understood, and accepted just as you are. Nothing.
A little time and a deft hand. How little it takes to close a wound.