Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Last Friday morning I had a small but troublesome sebaceous cyst removed from my neck, by an extremely able surgeon here at Yale who has done a remarkably clean job of it. For reasons that he explained at the time but which I couldn’t really grasp or even hear because of the stout sheets of paper and plastic that were spread over my head—shades of those “conversations” you occasionally get into with the dentist—my surgeon’s incision had to be rather bigger than usual, and I ended up with three very neat sutures that create a pleasingly “Frankenstein’s monster” effect, obviously visible above the shirt collar. What is especially intriguing about these discreet stitches is that the threads my surgeon used are quite vividly blue, an almost peacocky shade that leans toward ultramarine (depending on the light)—and not the somber black that I recall from the last time I recall having needed stitches, which was when I experienced lawnmower misadventure on the farm at Upper Beaconsfield, circa 1984 or 1985, and got a nasty cut on my calf. I wonder how these things happen? By what meandering avenue or decision-making process did surgeons’ yarn go down the route of bright, not to say dazzling color? Has it got something to do with practicalities, I wonder? In other words, are bright blue sutures more easily visible than black when there is a bit of blood in the neighborhood? I must remember to ask him when I front up a week from Friday to get them taken out.

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