For years, I've been telling my husband he ought to have his head examined. Today, a team of doctors is doing just that.

I've found it difficult to write about this and wasn't even sure I was going to. It's just one of too many examples of how the medical profession has messed up our lives, and as it turns out, I may or may not be pretty angry about that. So I've instead focused on how my house is crumbling down around my ears -- new developments: cracked radiator in my car and a less-than-one-year-old dishwasher that suddenly stopped working. Because at least I can laugh at that stuff.

About a year ago, The KingofHearts had a growth appear on his temple. Just a spot of mysterious, puffy skin. It wasn't discolored or anything, but I nagged him to have a doctor look at it anyway. So he finally relented and saw a doctor. An actual dermatologist, in fact, who peered into his empty skull for all of two seconds and announced, "Oh that? That's just cosmetic. That's nothing." and didn't bother to look at it further or even suggest that it might be something worth watching. So we forgot about it. For a year. Until last month when he somehow scratched it and it wouldn't heal, which was concerning. He finally decided to find a real doctor to look at it and give a second opinion. That person looked at it and immediately said, "Well, that's not normal." She was disturbed enough to do a biopsy and found it was a malignant carcinoma.

As cancers go, this is "the good kind" to have. He's told that the prognosis is pretty positive with surgery and that surgery almost always is the only intervention necessary. They're not even recommending radiation at this point. The results of the biopsy came back about three weeks ago and they're moving very fast on the treatment. So... yay for us? ...I guess? I think the thing that angers me the most is the fact that we could have had it removed over a year ago but for a physician who is paid hundreds of dollars an hour who didn't bother to look at it more than just a glance and offer an unfounded guess. We could have gotten better medical treatment from the hobo on the corner who offers to give you his medical opinion if you put a quarter in his styrofoam cup. When he met with the doctor to discuss the biopsy results The KoH asked the doctor, "Do you think I would be justified in driving twenty miles south and punching a dermatologist in the nose?" She said she couldn't advise him to do so but didn't think it was completely out of line.

You may remember a few weeks ago when I was talking about The Dormouse's ear infection, for which the pharmacy screwed up the antibiotic. Her ear pain never really went away, so I went back to the pediatrician to have him give us a new antibiotic. I told him what she had taken and we both agreed that she should take a different drug this time. He gave us a new scrip which turned out to be the exact same antibiotic... you know, the one she'd taken twice now and didn't work?... and then he under prescribed that dosage AGAIN. I should have called back and said something, but I figured he knew what he was doing. Cut to six weeks later, when I'm honestly sick of talking to the pediatrician and instead make an appointment with an ENT to look at it. He stuck a tympanometer in her ear and basically learned that she now has some fairly serious hearing damage from the ongoing, basically untreated infection. We're looking at options for what to do now, anywhere from "this could just reverse itself" to "she needs surgery" but you can guess that I'll be getting a qualified second opinion before it comes to anything invasive.

I guess the thing that bugs me most about all this, is I'm the Mom here. I should have been on top of both of these things. It irks me to no end that I didn't start advocating for my family sooner and/or stand up for our medical treatment when I kinda knew deep down that something wasn't right. The thing is, we are basically conditioned to trust doctors. Even someone like me, who has a love/hate relationship with the medical profession: at least some exposure to medical knowledge through my professional education, several stints in Mini-Medical School, and more than your average distrust of doctors due to medical mistakes that have been made on my own behalf in the past. Despite all that, I was still oh so willing to take their advice without questioning because it was easier to believe that they both knew what they were talking about than to tell them that pardon my French, but I thought they were full of merde.

I think what I'm trying to communicate here is that healthcare in this country sucks. Sure, maybe it sucks more or less in other countries, I don't really know, but at the end of the day there's no excuse for not acting as your own best advocate. I know my family better than any doctor does and I need to be the kind of person who stands up, asks questions and demands treatment when I know it's necessary.

The KoH's surgery is today and then he'll have a couple of follow-up surgeries with a plastic surgeon after they remove the tumor. Since this thing is on his face, that's kind of standard procedure. So if you have a little extra time to keep us in your thoughts this week, here's what I'd like you to do for me: pray that if they have to do a skin graft from somewhere else on his body, that they decided to take if from his ass. Because then I can truthfully call him a butthead.