I have had to explain, endlessly, the massive bandage on my neck. On the first day, I used the following:
“It’s a fresh neck tattoo of two pigs copulating with “Makin’ Bacon” written around it in Gothic script. I have to keep it covered for a few days. I didn’t really think this through.”
“Ghanaian guy glassed me in the pub after the US went ahead 2-1.”
“Here’s a word of advice to the newlywed: if the wife has a fork in her hand, stay away from the last prawn on the platter.”
“Cut myself shaving.”
“Love bite…a really big one.”
“Chin tuck…loves me some cosmetic surgery, I do. You realise I’m 73 years old, don’t you?”
“Cancer.” [note, this one evoked laughter more frequently than the tattoo story…bastards]
I guess that I’ve been a PROFESSIONAL chemist for 20 or so years (although more of an engineer). In the decades preceding formal education, I was much more a ‘recreational’ chemist or, even, a semi-professional compounding pharmacist; in those days, there was a black joke (made all the more dark by its accuracy) that the carcinogens we absorbed during our experiments started the twenty-year clock on cancers that would emerge about the time we would be eligible for parole. To date my pancreas, liver, lungs, and kidneys continue to function without additional growth (exceeding medical expectations wildly).
But, this week I had a tumour cut off my neck. Turns out that being pale, freckled, prone to sunburn and living in the sunny climes of Hawaii, the deep south, the tropical Northern Territory of Australia, Baghdad, and Arizona for a total of 42 years (out of 52) has taken its toll. There will likely be more, but the first of what are certain to be many basal cell carcinomas appeared like an ingrown hair about a year ago. The resulting abscess appeared twice and healed but on the third shot I went to the GP.
Cancer keeps killing friends (especially the ones that lead relatively healthy lifestyles) while leaving the evil and poorly tended unscathed (my family being prime examples of the vile dregs of society that finally all died of something else, years beyond their sell-by date). Mine was a fairly benign (literally and figuratively) growth which seems about right if this artificial morality scale holds true. It’s going to be an awesome scar, too.
Once again, the NHS has been flawless and my expenses on this treatment have been around £4, including travel and medicine.