Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Show Me Some Skin

Last night, nearly 20 dermatologists filed in one or two at a time to view the "elephant woman" at the USC Keck School of Medicine Dermatology Grand Rounds.

They tried not to make me feel self conscious. "Interesting" was the favorite adjective, but "dramatic" and "significant" were also used to describe my slack skin. At least noone gushed, "GROSS" or "EWWW." One doctor in private practice developed an interesting theory (or was it a dramatic theory) about the destruction of white cells and loss of elastin and collagen.

I was spared the indignity of a hospital gown, so my choice of civilian clothing was very important. I wore a knee-length skirt, a spaghetti-strap top and a modest tailored jacket. When a doctor entered the room, I peeled off my jacket and showed off the skin around my arm pits. When they asked me to show them my torso, I shyly lifted up my tank top. Finally, when they reqested a peek at my gams, I slowly raised my skirt to reveal the mottled skin at the top of my inner thighs. (I had the foresight to wear boy-cut underwear.)

I haven't shown so much skin to so many people since. . . . Well, come to think of it, I've NEVER shown so much skin so freely to so many people.

One observant doctor was concerned about a series of one-inch slashes on my back. I asked him if they looked like cat scratches. "Yes," he said excitedly. "They look just like cat scratches." "Oh. Those are cat scratches. I have a cat who likes to piggy back on my shoulder and sometimes he digs his claws in," I explained.

I wasn't allowed to attend the session where the doctors discussed my case. Maybe that's because they get to let down their guards and say "GROSS" and "EWWW" among colleagues.


Anonymous said...

when do you think the group of doctors that looked at your skin will share their findings with you? I'm "interested" to know what the dominant theories are.

Tara in VA

Susan Carrier said...

The USC resident is going to write up the comments and suggestions in a written report that will be ready in a week or two. I can't wait to see if they came up with anything.

Anonymous said...

The cat scratches thing was funny. I have a scar on my neck where my cat got freaked out by a cabinet closing and ran over my shoulder. Sometimes when people ask me about it, I give a serious nod and say, "bear."

Lisa C.