Monday, August 15, 2016

A “Little" Procedure

What I’ve learned after 20 years of marriage is that Monte’s body does not like to be cut.

He swells up like a hot air balloon and makes his way into medical journals with all manner of side effects and “what is that?!” responses from his doctor in follow-up appointments.

We have decided that “elective” surgery is no longer an option for Monte.

Not worth the unknown horror that even the most experienced doctors can’t explain.

Which is why Monte sits firmly in the 1% chance 
of all the fine print happening that is listed on every form that you have to sign 
before having a procedure or surgery.
You know those annoying prescription commercials where a voiceover lists 
all the horrid and seemingly “not worth it” side effects to the medicine?

Monte would have them all.

And then a few more
they never anticipated.

Because of this knowledge, we decided against Monte having corrective eye surgery even though he really wanted to.

But like rookies, we had him go ahead with a vasectomy.

It’s still too soon to talk about that.

When Monte went in to have some moles checked out early this summer,

he was shocked when a place on his nose ended up being skin cancer.

Seriously, there were a couple of moles on his back 
that I thought looked WAY more suspicious.

He did his homework and got a second opinion and felt good about the planned procedure.

It’s a process called Mohs, where a tiny bit of the cancer is taken out at a time, in thin layers, tested on the spot to see if it’s all been removed, then the process repeats if it hasn’t.

We were told it could take anywhere from 1-5 hours.

I joked that it would be 7 hours for Monte.

I hate being right.


I had to convince Monte to let me go with him to this procedure. 

It was right by his office, early in the morning and he thought FOR SURE he’d be able to go to work afterwards with a bandaged nose.

It’s like the last 20 years didn’t happen.

So I reminded him.

And he let me go with him.

First of all, we were the youngest people in the waiting room.

By about 20 years.

Second of all, everyone seemed to come prepared to be in the waiting room all day.

Everyone had laptops or iPads with them.

One guy came in with a thermos that had a handy strap attached to it 
so he could carry it on his shoulder.

I wondered what was in that thermos.

I brought a few issues of Guideposts magazine 
and two protein bars in my purse.

An hour into my time in the waiting room, I’d eaten a protein bar, finished an issue of Guideposts and used all my change in my purse for a bottle of water from the vending machine.

Monte was able to sit with me in the waiting room while they tested each layer they shaved off his nose.

This was after layer one.

He’s still smiling.

Which meant everyone else at the doctor’s office was doing the same thing.

I saw lots of bandages.

The MAJORITY of the old guys had bandaged noses.

I saw one wrapped arm and two with bandaged heads.

People watching became my entertainment.

The couple in the corner with his and hers laptops was telling each other what they’d read on Facebook and in emails.

It was their granddaughter’s first day of school 
and the woman really wanted to know 
what outfit she was wearing.

Her husband said nothing and just handed her his laptop 
so she could see for herself.

An older gentleman was filling out paperwork and asking his wife 3 million questions about each one. 

She was very patient with him.

When he walked the form up to the front desk, she asked her husband to get the WiFi password.

I had that information in my purse, so I handed it to her and we chatted a bit.

The front desk asked her husband for living will information and he loudly replied,

“Why? Are you planning on killing me?!

His wife gave me a long look and may or may not have mouthed
“I wish, “ to me.

She might not have been as patient
as she first seemed.

The door swung open and an old guy with a heavily bandaged nose, two very black and very swollen eyes, was helped into the office by two older ladies.

I couldn’t stop staring.

I had a million questions all at once.

I was SO GLAD Monte was back with the doctor 
and not in the waiting room to see this hot mess.

The nurse came out to the guy and said,

“Hi, Felix! How are you doing today?”

How is he doing today?! 
Look at him! 
He’s clearly had better days.

Then it all got really funny.

I know! 
So not cool. 
But I was hungry, 
tired of sitting 
and bored.

I had to summon every drop of serious in my body, 
not to snort with laughter.

Monte had three layers shaved off his nose when they told us we could leave to go eat lunch.

He was obviously a little embarrassed walking around with a bandaged nose.

Driving to lunch Monte looked a bit like Gonzo from the Muppets.

We waited a really long time after lunch for Monte to get called back to see the doctor.

We regretted not getting change at lunch because we discovered Gummy Bears in the vending machine!

Monte finally got called back to the doctor and I decided to stretch my legs out on the double chair/love seat I was sitting in.

I swear, if I’d had a pillow (my purse was too hard) 
and a little throw blanket or sweater, I could’ve fallen asleep.

A nurse and a very gray-skinned, wild-eyed Monte walked out.

She was smiling as she said that Monte was now cancer-free and would need to walk across the hall to a different office to get stitches.

Everything she said seemed positive and a good indicator that we would be heading home soon.

But Monte’s face was telling an entirely different story.

As we followed the nurse across the hall, Monte said,

“I am FREAKING out!
They showed me the hole in my nose.”

When I got Monte to back up and explain from the beginning, I learned that the cancer was very deep and would require lots of stitches and then he shoved a mirror in Monte’s face and he saw an enormous bloody hole in his nose that he feared would allow him to see into his brain.

Oh, and then they gave him like seven shots to prepare him for the stitches and his teeth were numb.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Monte assured me that he knew it was funny but it just wasn’t funny to him yet.

So I took a picture.

Not smiling anymore.
The stitches took a sweet forever.

This waiting room had a TV with HGTV on, a table set up with a jigsaw puzzle and a man who sniffed every 3 seconds.

Unfortunately, the sniffer decided to take a stab at the jigsaw puzzle so I decided to tackle my last Guidepost from my purse.

After what felt like 142 hours, I was called back to get the “wound care” instructions.

Monte would need to ice his nose 20 minutes out of every hour for the first 24 hours.

He’d need to sleep with his head elevated for the first few days.

A recliner would work best.

We don’t own a recliner. 

Unless you count Monte’s gravity chair…
which was NOT coming inside the house!

He could not BEND OVER or do anything that would raise his blood pressure like exercise.

I’m not sure why but I asked,

“So he can’t mow the lawn?”

It’s like I asked if he could run home.

And oh yeah, he’d get two black eyes.

Monte resigned to the fact that he would not be going to the office.

All said and done, the procedure took,

wait for it


This was one of those times 
I hated being right.

Monte didn’t look bad at first.

Home after surgery.

He slowly started swelling up.

Jimmy Durante, don’t you think?

Before bed we noticed the corner of Monte’s eye started puffing up.

Uh oh. 

Monte woke up super early the next morning to take some Tylenol.

He started taking selfies and sending them to me upstairs.

Not looking so swell.

He thought his swollen face resembled the sloth character in the animated movie Zootopia.

Monte couldn’t wear his glasses since the bridge of his nose had quadrupled in size.

He worried that he was entering into “what is that?!” territory, so he called the doctor to make sure his swelling was still in the normal zone.

We’ve learned from past experience to not wait until the weekend. 

We’ve had some issues with medical weekend call centers.

Monte explained his swelling to the nurse on the phone and she asked,

“So your eyes aren’t swollen shut yet?

Monte LOVES the Olympics as much as I do. He’d been excited all week to watch the opening ceremony Friday night.

We tried to keep icing to stave off the total blindness but sadly, Monte watched the Olympic opening ceremony like this:

And by watched I mean, Ellie and I described it to him while he tried to see through a visually impaired swollen slit in between icings.

The next morning Monte woke up looking like this.


Monte had become the old guy from the waiting room.

That was my sad bandage job too.

When it was time to take off the old dressing, I decided to do it all at once in one quick motion, which proved to be just as horrible as it sounds.

I was nervous,
grossed out
and just wanted to be done.

I’m not a nurse!

I ended up ripping off an important stitching tape that needed to stay on for seven days.


We had to read a new section of our Wound Care Instruction Sheet that involved tap water, gauze and petroleum jelly.

A few days in, Monte decided to “air out” his nose during dinner.

Not cool for Ellie and I.

Monte felt his scar was too much like a lightning bolt and therefore making him too much like Harry Potter.

I told him it looked more like a shark or alligator had taken a nibble out of his nose.

He seemed satisfied with that.

Against my every wish, Monte decided to drive McDaniel’s car down the street to get the brakes worked on.

He was looking only a wee bit better.

I wasn’t getting any better at bandaging his nose.
He said the mechanic WOULD NOT make eye contact with him.

And Monte was all prepared to tell him that beekeeping 
was NOT a hobby to take lightly.

By the time Monte went back to work, 

his eye swelling had become cheek swelling.

Monte took over bandaging himself.
The very next day the cheek swelling became jowl swelling.

That was weird.

Just a week after the “little” procedure,

Monte called the nurse and asked if he could go bandage free.

He sent me this picture from work.

He was so excited.

Today, the lightning bolt is healing so well that I doubt there will be a scar.

in conclusion, 



  1. Oh man - poor guy! My mother in law has had SO many cancerous spots taken off but none have left her quite that swollen. Life is an adventure and you two seem to have more than your share of this type! Wear sunscreen is a great reminder for us all.

  2. Mindy,

    I’m hoping our girls will remember Monte’s swelling the next time they are in the sun!

  3. Monte is such a good sport. Hope you can find a clip on sun umbrella for his gravity chair.

    1. I’m TOTALLY getting him that! That’s too funny!

  4. Karmen, you are so, so funny. It's good to be able to see the humor in every situation, isn't it? But oh! Poor Monte!

    Thank you for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I'm featuring you this week!

    1. Thanks, Richella! I’m lucky Monte sees humor in most things too.

  5. I found your blog through Imparting Grace and I love it. I love your wonderful faith posts. I laughed so hard I cried when reading this post. My poor husband has had several Mohs surgeries. I've been in the waiting rooms with all the "old" people. (I suppose my husband and I might be considered getting old since we are almost 60). I've had to bandage after the surgeries and it was not fun! Thanks for sharing your faith and life.


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