Our First Virtual Doctor’s Appointment

The last several times Kate has been to the dermatologist have been unpleasant for her. The visits were not routine. She had a squamous cell carcinoma on her forehead. The first visit she had a biopsy. She reacted strongly to the local anesthetic and to the scraping itself. It took at least fifteen minutes to calm her. Although she didn’t remember that on the two follow-up visits, she must have sensed this was not a place she wanted to visit. She didn’t undergo any pain either of those times, but she was uneasy and eager to get out.

These experiences were on my mind when I noticed a couple of other growths that could be a problem. One is very near her left eye just below her eyelash. The other is on her back. I planned to call before the doctor’s offices closed but didn’t. While I was walking in the neighborhood earlier this week, I bumped into her dermatologist who is a neighbor of ours. She asked how Kate was doing, and I told her about the spots. She asked if I would like to schedule a tele-visit appointment. I jumped at the opportunity, and we met her at our kitchen table via FaceTime on Friday. It was during that short interval that Kate was awake. I think it was the doctor’s appointment that enabled me to get Kate up for a brief time following our lunch and before she went back to sleep.

I know this type of meeting with a doctor could be less than ideal. This one was a perfect situation. It took no more than fifteen minutes during which I sent her pictures of the spots that concerned me. In one case, she wasn’t sure what spot I was talking about. She drew a circle around the area and send it back to me. I was able to confirm that she saw the area I meant. It was scar tissue left from the biopsy she had taken in the fall. It is practically invisible now. The other two spots were both benign. Kate has had a number of these in the past.

This episode reinforced my thinking that our current situation may serve to speed up the use of technology for purposes like ours. It was convenient. More importantly, it was non-threatening for Kate. It would have taken at least three times as long if we had driven to her office. If only there were a way for Kate to have her teeth cleaned and checked via a tele-visit with her dentist. That’s not in the cards; however, there must be many situations like ours for which this would be ideal.