So last post, I talked about the dreaded boil that I had as a kid—sparked by Alan Arkin referring to writers as having a boil that has to be taken care of… that’s why they write. Paraphrasing, but not very well.
And the boil squeeze that my mom did to me every morning for what seemed like the entire school year, reminded me of another time. As an adult.
I noticed this black dot on my breast. It grew. It concerned me since my mom died of breast cancer, and it had been drummed into my head to watch out for things on my skin that change color or size… or lumps that pop up. So I headed to a dermatologist.
The doctor was a man, probably younger than I was, and this made it even more uncomfortable bare-breasted, pointing to the black dot, telling him my concern. On his wheeled stool, he came in closer, stood up, took his two thumbs, just like my mother did way back when she got in position to squeeze the boil—and he squeezed the black dot. It all happened so quickly, I didn’t have time to scream, “STOP! What are you doing?” I was petrified that he was going to make my cancerous growth worse. A squiggly white line popped out where the black dot had been. He wiped it away, shrugged, and said, “Just a black head.”
I could feel my face turning 100 shades of red. I stared at my bare breast that no longer had a black spot on it… stupefied… mortified and relieved at the same time.
The doctor went on to explain that sometimes pores fill up with oil, dirt, etc. What? Did he think I didn’t bathe? “If it happens again, you can just squeeze it yourself.” He left the room. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. I got dressed lightning fast and scurried out of the building. I’ve never been back to him… found a woman doctor instead.
I keep telling myself, better safe than sorry.
Boils. Blackheads. But still blessed.