“Take off everything but your underwear,” the nurse said, handing Peter a gown. We were at the dermatologist’s office and she’d just finished asking him a list of questions. The only one he could answer was his birthdate. “Oh, I get it, you brought your wife so she could answer the questions for you, didn’t you?” she laughed. “Doctor J will be in shortly,” she said as she left the room.
Peter looked at me. “What am I supposed to do?”
“Take everything off except your underwear,” I told him.
He took his shirt off. “Is this enough?”
“No, everything but your underwear.”
As he stripped off his trousers he said, “Good thing I wore underwear today.”
I burst out laughing. I never know where the laughs will come from, only that they’ll come.
Next he took his shoes and socks off. As he bent down to put them under the chair where he’d draped his clothes he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror on the door. “What the heck?” he said, grabbing his shirt to hide behind. “Oh, I thought that was a window. I was going to cover myself up,” he sputtered, laughing at himself.
When I stood up to tie his gown in back, he said, “I guess that’s why you’re here, to tie this thing. What do people do if they’re by themselves?”
“They either bring me along or let it all hang out,” I told him.
Doctor J came in and examined Peter carefully. He has had several suspicious spots removed in the past several years, as well as a large squamous cell carcinoma. Peter always asks, “What causes them?”
“Sun damage mostly.”
“Pfft, I’m never in the sun,” my husband will scoff, blowing off the expert opinion.
After the doctor zapped a couple places, he pronounced Peter good to go for another six months.
“Six months? I have to come back in six months?” He couldn’t believe it. “Why?”
“Because you have precancerous spots,” the doctor explained. “We need to keep a check on them.”
“What causes them?”
After he dressed he looked down at his shoes and asked where his socks were. I looked at him and hoped for the light bulb moment. “They’re in you’re shoes,” I said finally.
“Wasn’t that clever of me to put them there?” He watched me to see if I’d laugh. I did.
Header photo: Peter walking, not in the sun.