And so it goes on. At least the day got off to a bright start. I did my first long Thursday swim at Balmoral for a couple of months. Despite the snorkel and flippers, and the attendant shame, it was great just to be a part of it and go over to Awaba and have breakfast afterwards. They sang a belated happy birthday to me in the showers at the club.
The day went downhill from there. At 10 o’clock I went to see my specialist dermatologist, Dr Tanya Gilmour in Manly. This is a six monthly check for melanoma. I’ve already had three removed and Tanya has been treating me for more than a decade. My father died of a melanoma at the age of 72, so it is always top of mind. Or at least it used to be. Broken legs and broken necks are more top of mind these days. Tanya is only playing reserve grade. Anyway, four local anaesthetics in my head and the same number of punch biopsies sent away for analysis and I was done for another six months. I came out with stitches in the end of my nose, the back of one ear and on my cheek and a chunk off the top of my head. Easy really. Doesn’t even count as a visit to the doctor. C’mon Tanya step up and have a go. That’s not even scary!
In the afternoon it was off to see Dr Neil Simon a neurologist, for a nerve conduction study. This was Raoul Pope’s idea to isolate the source of the pain down my forearm and hand. I joked with Dr Simon, another young bloke, that he didn’t need to write plays in his spare time – he should just concentrate on being a doctor. He laughed.
“At least you know Neil Simon was a playwright. Some patients come in and confuse me with Paul Simon and ask me to sing them a song.”
I sympathised with him. Gee what is there not to like when your neurologist wrote The Odd Couple, Sunshine Boys and Barefoot in the Park. I am blessed. So I had the nerve conduction study which is like sticking your big toe in the kitchen toaster while someone turns the power on and off. I though smoke might start coming out of my ears. It makes your muscles spasm and at one point I succeeded in punching myself in the face. Anyway, when it was all done, he said I had, in the past, suffered significant damage to the nerves going down my arm from the spine. I knew this. Surprisingly, the immediate pain was caused by an inflamed ulna nerve in the my elbow, probably from leaning on it too much at my desk at work. Easily fixed. No surgery required, at least in the short term, if I can stand the pain..
Home and hosed. I can stand the pain. No surgery for me. See that’s what happens when you get medical counsel from a doctor who also writes plays about New York – more empathy.