Until You’ve Wacked Your Weenie with a Razor and Burnt it with Acid, You’re Not Serious About Health Care Reform
Somewhere in my sordid travels I picked up a case of mollescum, which resulted in some rather scary warts appearing on my privates. It also provoked a few tense conversations with my girlfriend, where I was heard to plea, “I swear to God, honey. It was that sketchy hot tub in Barbados,” which might be true, except for that I’ve never been to Barbados.
It is true one can get this pesky viral infection from hot tubs, and I’ve been known to soak my weary bones in a few of those, one of which (in the US) was filled with tepid, foamy water tinged green with slime. I should have known better. Anyway, the doctor immediately recognized my nasty ailment by its telltale dimpled caps, assuaging my considerable fears that I had contracted its nasty, mutant cousin ~ genital warts.
“No,” he said, examining my bare pride and chuckling devilishly, “Dis are ist not ze hated and feared genital varts. Dis is ze more common mollescum. Und between ze two of ’em, mein friend, I’d rather have ze molluscum.”
“Why?” I asked, biting my lower lip. Not “why was he chuckling” ~ I hated go there ~ but rather why would he make the horrible choice for one virus over another. I was trembling, probably due to the clinical coolness of his clinic, but perhaps also because of my huge emotional investment in the health and well-being of my wang and its attached life support system.
“Easier to treat,” he said, and then proceeded to rip off the top of each wart with a razor blade, and with an evil glint in his eye, douse the open wounds with acid.
The stinging was acute, and I howled like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, crying out “My precious! My precious!” as the doctor tore into each fresh molluscum wart with a feverish vengeance, played out against a soundtrack of his laughter, perhaps accompanied by the chortles of the nurse in the other room. When it was all over he sent me limping home with a $360 bill, a pat on the head, and a grape lollipop. Oh ~ all that plus a sausage that looked half-cooked and dimpled leprous with red, open wounds.
Now please understand, I pay for my own health care insurance, and to keep my monthly premiums down, I chose a high deductible: $5,000. That means the doctor’s bill was paid for by me, as were the subsequent visits, for as it turns out, molluscum is unusually pesky and hard to eradicate.
On each visit, the Doc and I would go through the same torturous process ~ the scraping, the burning, the howling, the whimpering, another pat on the head, another lollipop (but in exciting, new flavors,) and bill for services rendered. By the third visit, the Doc and I were on first name basis.
“Doc Charley,” I asked one one visit as he and the spike-heeled nurse lashed my hands and feet to an X-shaped table. “What other ways are there to treat molluscum?”
“Well,” he said, sharpening his razor on a black leather strap and then gingerly feeling its edge with his burly thumb. “More modern facilities freeze ze little bastards off wif cryogenic tools. But seein’ how ve is a gubment subsidized clinic, ve can’t afford such trifles. Zat is vy I am forced to use ze acid.” He stirred a smoking cauldron of the stuff with a boat oar and removed what looked like a chicken bone with a set of rusty tongs.
“Well that makes sense,” I said, eying leaky steam-pipes running through the cracked ceiling, and in the dim light, catching glimpses of tentacled creatures fermenting in vats of formaldehyde, some of them still squirming. My wrists and ankles ached from the tightness of my restraints, and I was uncomfortable with the motley crowd of red-eyed drunks, tatted prostitutes, and grizzled creatures of the night who gathered to watch what had now become a regular spectacle ~ me writhing under the blade and acid of Doc Charley ~ my screams drowned out by his shrill laughter. My only comfort was their polite applause when it was all over, which I appreciated.
As I limped out of the clinic into the foggy, damp streets of the city, another bill tucked into my oily jeans, I began to think. Had this become some kind of sick Pavlovian experiment, with me psychosomatically manifesting warts on my wiener just for a taste of artificially flavored grape? It’s true I lusted for it. Were the Doc and I engaging in a pseudo-homosexual codependency, giving him a government sanctioned outlet for his latent Sadism, and me an excuse to let another man handle my gozzle? I hated to think it. Could cryogenic treatment by a more sane, and less expensive, method allow me to eradicate my own molluscum?
I chose to ignore the first two questions and focus on the third. A few minutes of searching on the Internet, the all-knowing fount of wisdom, and I found what I was looking for ~ an article entitled How to Remove Molluscum Warts Using Dry Ice. Oh, the joy.
The next time the warts appeared, and they did, I made a quick run to the grocery store and bought a small piece of dry ice for 60 cents. No, that is not a typo. Sixty pennies for a chunk of cryogenically frozen carbon dioxide about the size of a deck of cards. (2020 Footnote: One of the more popular COVID vaccines requires massive amounts of dry ice for storage and shipment, undoubtedly driving up demand, and prices, for the ethereal stuff. That 60 cent piece probably goes for $600 now. Another missed investment opportunity.)
I rushed home. Rummaging around in my tool box, I found a razor and doused it with rubbing alcohol. I went into my bedroom and closed the door, trembling like a schoolboy anxious to drool on his stash of girlie mags while paying a comforting visit to Rosie Palm and her five sisters. But this was no comfort visit. I was about to perform my own surgery.
Stretching my 18 inches of glorious wonder before me (I have an excellent imagination,) I quickly found the offending viral invasion. Five of them, no, six. Growing up, I learned that if you have six toads to swallow, you swallow the biggest, ugliest one first. Then the other five won’t seem so bad. So with my childhood philosophy firmly in mind, I bit my lower lip and lowered the gleaming blade to the bare throat of my purple helmeted warrior .
The ugliest toad was one of the smaller warts due to its strategic location near the business end of my wizard’s wand, where all the nerves are and the magic happens. With a shaky hand I scraped off its cap. Not so bad. The searing pain came when I applied the dry ice. The Internet had told me to keep the pressure on for 20 seconds, and because I believe everything the Internet tells me, I did as I was told. 20 seconds could not come soon enough.
Since then, I’ve made two more trips to the grocery store for a total outlay of $2.64 for dry ice. It’s been several weeks now with no sign of molluscum, so I do believe I am free and clear of the stuff. Doc Charlie sends me fruitcakes by mail with flowery cards saying he misses me. But I’m not going back. I’ve taken health care into my own hands, both figuratively and literally, and that’s one good way to drive down its cost.
Self care requires thinking like a pioneer, doing some homework, considerable bravery, and if it makes sense, treating yourself. I scrape my own teeth now too, with an $8 kit I bought at CVS, and have cut my dentist bills in half. Even my dentist approves, and I am not nearly so embarrassed to show him my stuff.
So do it for yourself. Do it for America. Own your own health care. And if you need someone to hold your dick while you wack it with a razor blade and douse it with acid, call a friend.