“I’m so proud of myself,” I announced to the general public of my kitchen, as I came out of the laundry room. “General public” in this case was all of Certain Man and Youngest Daughter.
Youngest Daughter was mixing up a cold glass of Ovaltine and milk. Certain Man was dishing himself a bowl of ice cream with some toppings. I heard the p-f-f-f-f-f-f-t-t-t-t sound of the Redi-Whip can as he swirled a couple of rounds on top of his cold vanilla sweetness. “Wonderful!” He said. “What did you do?
“I did surgery on myself!” I announced triumphantly. That stopped everything.
“What did you do???”
“I took that troublesome lump off the inside of my lip that I kept biting.” I had the offensive tiny white piece in my between my thumb and forefinger.
This produced sounds of retching from Youngest Daughter, with great holdings of the stomach and strong statements as to the state of her health and why she would never be a surgeon and other strong verbalization of disapprobation.
“Hon!” Said Certain Man. “What in the world do you think you are doing?”
“I was tired of biting it all the time, so I took it off!”
“But how? You have a fit every time I try to do something even little, and then you go and do something like that!”
“I was careful,” I said, pulling my lip out. “See!”
“But how did you do it?” He looked askance at where the rather large skin tag had been.
At my last cleaning, I had asked my dentist about removing it, and he said it was a common thing and he didn’t seem to think I would want to spend the money to have it removed. I have been troubled by it for years and would often peer in there to see if it was going away by itself (it wasn’t!) or getting larger (sometimes it seemed like it maybe was!). I had tried various things over the last few months when it seemed that I was catching it over and over again and giving it a hearty bite when I was eating. I’m not saying that I didn’t unknowingly “worry” it at night, but I truly seldom “bit my lip” in my waking hours (unless it was this accidental, excruciating move that caught me so unaware and sometimes made me want to cry!). Over the last month, I’ve taken to giving it a good brushing with my toothbrush, followed by some good listerine mouthwash, and I thought it was actually doing better, but then, last week one day, I crunched down on it and we were pretty much back to square one.
Tonight, after putting the ladies to bed, I noticed that it was more tender than usual. I explored it with my tongue and wondered again what I could do to get rid of it on my own. I perched in front of the bathroom mirror where there was plenty of light and looked the situation over. And had a sudden inspiration!
“I wonder what would happen if I took a length of dental floss and tied it around the base of that skin tag and pulled it really tight.” There was a time, years back, when I had a large, blood filled skin tag on my leg and I tied a string around the base of that very tightly and it dropped off in a few days and I’ve never had a bit of trouble with it since. I honestly didn’t think this thing through very carefully, but I got a piece of waxed dental floss and tried to loop it over the skin tag. It slipped right off.
“Lord Jesus, maybe this isn’t going to work. But if this is something I can do for myself, would you please help me?”
On the very next try, it looped over nicely and I pulled it tight.
Ouch! That hurt. Maybe I should just take it off. But it wouldn’t come off. It wasn’t as tight, but that dental floss was securely around it and wasn’t budging. I looked at my poor skin tag and at the dental floss hanging out of my mouth and wondered if I could trim it off short and just leave it there for the night. That didn’t seem like a good idea. I thought of calling Middle Daughter, the nurse, but remembered that she isn’t fond of this sort of ministrations to family members. Besides. She would probably scold me. I decided to pull it tight again. I only got so far, and then it really hurt again. I thought maybe I should just knot it, trim it off till morning and see what happened. But I couldn’t get it to knot since the original crossover was behind the skin tag. So I thought some more. Looked at it some more. Pulled it tight again until it hurt and then stopped.
I decided to bring it around to the front of the skin tag and see about knotting it there. So I brought it around, crossed it over and pulled it tight again. It still hurt but not quite as bad. H-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m. Maybe if I would pull it tighter by degrees, I could manage to actually squeeze it off. I kept working at pulling it tighter and tighter until I finally could pull it no tighter. The skin tag was pearly white against the pink skin, but no matter how hard I pulled on the ends of the dental floss, it wouldn’t cut through the connecting tissue.
I went and got a razor blade. Everyone was absent from the kitchen and didn’t notice my goings and coming. I went back to the bathroom mirror and assessed the situation. A razor blade did not look like a good idea. If I only had a sharp scissors! No, wait. Maybe I should put an ice cube in there to deaden anything that I might feel before I snipped. Back to the kitchen to get an ice cube. When I put that on the lip, I realized that things were not quite as “dead” as I thought. I discarded the ice cube in the bathroom sink and thought about it. I again pulled on the dental floss ends and didn’t feel any discomfort at all in the skin tag. Then I remembered that OGN had a very sharp, little scissors in her top dresser drawer. I fetched it out, sterilized it under the Instant Hot in the kitchen and went back to the bathroom mirror.
The two ends of the dental floss worked very well to pull the skin tag up and out from the rest of the lip. I positioned the blades of the scissors as carefully as I could and “snip!” the skin tag was off. No pain. However, the dental floss was still firmly attached to the connecting material. I hadn’t cut close enough! So once again, I took my scissors and tried to actually get into the dental floss that was holding fast.
Success! The dental floss came off, leaving a tight little “stitch” still in place. There was no bleeding, just a smooth, clear place where the bothersome skin tag had been. It was about then that I did my little victory dance, and went to the kitchen to make my proclamation.
Certain Man was looking at me dubiously. “That still doesn’t sound good,” he said disapprovingly.
“Doesn’t it look okay?” I asked him. “I mean, it isn’t bleeding at all, is it?”
“No,” he admitted, “It’s not bleeding, and it doesn’t look bad, but it could have been bad.” He took his bowl of ice cream and went back to his chair. I finished up a few things in the kitchen, and felt for changes on the inside of my lip. Eventually the little “stitch” came out, but apparently it had stayed long enough to keep serious bleeding at bay. If there was one thing that worried me, it was the way mouth injuries will bleed and bleed and bleed. I seem to be spared that.
And now Certain Man went to bed. He had an eventful night apart from his wife’s shenanigans. The house is relatively quiet — and I will also head to bed. It’s been a good day for me, too, and I am very tired.
Tonight, I am thankful for a great many things. I had lunch today with a woman whose heartache over her family was beyond my comprehension. I give thanks for my good, good husband, our five terrific offspringin’s and their spouses and our grandchildren. I’m grateful for my two sisters and three brothers and their families. We really don’t realize how good we have it. May I just say that the decision to follow Jesus is still the one thing that makes a difference in the lives of people?
I’m thankful for tomatoes. And for canning jars and cookstoves and recipes and food for the winter.
I’m thankful for my kitchen that sees so much living and is so serviceable and handy and pleasant.
And I’m thankful that God sometimes chooses to honor the harebrained ideas of this Delaware Grammy with crazy exciting results and gives me so much joy on the journey. And I’m especially thankful for a place inside my lip that is unfamiliarly smooth tonight and that, as of now, it really does not hurt.
My heart gives grateful praise.