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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

JOE'S MOLE (an anecdote concerning the perils of Epilim Chrono)




                                                                    





JOE'S MOLE

The tiny mole on Joe's wrist suddenly expanded and began to change shape.
What miraculous production of nature is this? pondered the part-time plumber. It's like a tiny seashell on a pebbly beach. Our gods move in such wonderfully comical ways. A thing of beauty is a joy forever. May the nightingale's sing! I'll joke about the mole creeping into my armpit during my next comedy act on Berkeley Square.
When did that mole appear?” asked Dr. Fearsome, a quizzical gentleman with a predatory, wolf-like mouth, having decided to take a blood sample from Joe's forearm, just in case he suffered, by sheer chance, from some mysterious condition.
I only noticed it recently,” replied Joe, through his brain fog. “I'm more concerned about my haemorrhoids.”
Maybe the Epilim has got to his enzymes sooner than anticipated, pondered the GP, sniggering behind his mask, but that's not my responsibility. It's the shrink's. And I can't be arsked to check him out for diabetes until I really have to.
The GP licked his lips. “It's extremely unlikely to be harmful, but I'll make an appointment for you with the Skin Clinic, just in case.
Joe googled ‘malignant mole’ on his kleptomaniac sister’s laptop, the one she'd snatched during a riot in the St. Teresa Centre along with several pairs of lace knickers. He learnt to his dismay that suddenly appearing, shape-shifting moles often conceal melanomas, a form of cancer that could prove fatal when allowed to spread. Moreover, itching and hurting were two of the main symptoms.
Joe’s mole certainly itched, and when he pressed it hurt.
I’m under attack,” he shrieked, as two moths whizzed by his ear and disappeared into the carpet under the sofa.
      A malignant mole could spread further deadly cancer inside my body, realised Joe. During the history of humankind, our supposedly worthy God has struck down millions of his own creations in their prime, in this and other equally cruel and undeserved ways. So what is Heaven?  Perhaps it is separation, in the Holy Spirit, from our cynical Creator.
      But how will I actually die? wondered Joe. He remembered the nightmare that had recurred night after night after his early retirement from B&Q. Lying penniless and starving on Balfour St with spiders crawling over his face; the dogs coming to eat him up; Officer Feisty Ginger Beard yelling, “And then I’ll surround your grave with flowers, you big, fat, lazy slob.”
      Yes, perhaps dogs would really come and eat him up.
How stupid, surmised Joe, I will die an artist.
      “I’ve got two moles on my nose, Uncle Joe,” said Griselda, “Are they pretty?”
       “They’re just big freckles, you silly girl,” said Joe. “Though they look rather like the moles on your cheeks.”
      A fortnight later, Joe visited the Dermatology Department in the Gumbleston Building, a decaying concrete block that survived the rest of the old University hospital in the City Centre, which had been converted into an empty shopping mall. He ascended to the fourth floor in an archaic slowly moving elevator, and finally discovered the Skin Clinic at the end of a barren corridor, beyond a sign directing red pox patients down a specially concealed stairwell to the basement.
      Professor Jasmine Juniper, a kindly school-marmish woman, peered through her magnifying glass. “Now that's an interesting mole. When did it appear?”
     “Heaven only knows,” stuttered Joe, swatting a fly on his arm, “but it’s been changing shape. It could be alive. Is it ...er...a lymphoma?”
      “No,” said Professor Juniper, with a learned look and a gleam in her eye. “It's in all likelihood just an awkward mole, but it could be a melanoma though only with the minutest of teeny weeny probabilities. It might be worth taking a sample this afternoon. Dr. Hazel Hashworthy and her team will be in the Dissection Room if you would like to hang around until five. You won’t feel a thing.”
      “Super.”
      The professor glanced at a picture of her rakish husband and four plain children, and smiled grimly.Perfect! Now please take off your clothes so that I can examine all your moles. Wow! Goodness me! What unusual dimples.”
      Joe gulped when Dr. Hashworthy smiled and injected his forearm with local anaesthetic.
The elderly patients sometimes faint now, if not later,” declared a rumbustious nurse, with a chortle, as she turned up the sound on Radio Five Live.
       Several minutes later Dr. Hashworthy declared, “Sample One at the ready”, and Joe was aghast to see her lifting a mass of gooey flesh, presumably including the mole, from his forearm and onto a tray.
     “Don’t look now,” chuckled the nurse.
      After taking a further messy sample, Hazel Hashworthy stitched up the two inch wound.
      “That’s neat isn’t it?” said the nurse, clutching her wobbling belly. “You’re lucky that your skin isn’t old and wrinkled. Now it’ll be best not to worry at all until you’ve heard the results of the biopsy.”
      Two weeks later, Joe felt calm when he arrived in the Skin Clinic, but he became  quite agitated when he was required to wait for over an hour while Professor Juniper rushed gleefully around all over the place. However, she eventually reappeared after an amusing frolic in the Dissection Room, and advised him that, “Our tests show that there was a very, very, very, very, small amount of melanoma under your mole. So we’re going to take off another very, very, very thin layer of skin, just to make sure.”
      Joe felt more and more somnolent as three weeks past slowly by. When he visited the Dissection Room for a second time, the surgeon was Dr. Derek Underling, a benign looking gentleman with a round face and receding ginger hair. The surgery seemed to be much less traumatic than before, and when Joe looked up, Dr. Underling was working studiously at his task and looked as if he was tuning a piano.
       After he had stitched up the wound, Dr. Underling smiled kindly and said, “Now, I needed to stretch your remaining skin more than usual to cover the flesh. So it looks, for the moment at least, as if a dog has taken a bite out of your arm.”
      Joe stared in horror at the injury, and surmised that similar ‘dog bites’ could appear all over his body should cancerous moles recur. He thought that he felt spiders creeping up his neck and tried to slap them away with his left hand, only to see an apparition of Officer Feisty Ginger Beard standing at the foot of his couch.
      “You won’t be eating me up, Officer,” he shrieked. “I’ll try chemotherapy first.”
     “That rarely works,” said Dr. Underling, with a grin.
Within a couple of days, Joe fell into lengthy periods of deep Epilim-induced sleep, and all his friends and relatives, and even his church elders, seemed to have deserted him. 
     "If you stop taking your Epilim then you;ll only become manic again!" shrieked CPN    ,
Sinead O'Seamus, "and Dr. Chipmunk will have to put you on carbamazine.".

Eight weeks later, a couple of worn-out social workers found Joe floundering on his bed covered in lice. They sent him, raving, to the Royal Wessex in Eveningside where he was turned over by two hefty rugby-playing orderlies and coshed with clopixol. He died, quite mercifully, from the heart palpitations.

                                                                       



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