How often do you raise an eyebrow? How frequently do you wrinkle your forehead, or frown, or narrow your gaze? In my case, until today I would have guessed maybe a few dozen times per day—but now I think the actual count must be in the hundreds, maybe more.
To explain: yesterday I went in for some relatively minor surgery to remove a relatively minor basal cell carcinoma, no doubt the result of absorbing one too many ultraviolet photons in my ill-spent youth. (Important safety tip: use that sunscreen!) In years past liquid nitrogen had been applied to this area of my forehead, but apparently that didn't quite manage to get rid of the bad cells. Time to call in the cutters!
Yesterday's morning session was an iterative Mohs surgery, wherein successively wider and/or deeper layers of skin are sliced off and examined under a microscope until the entire cancer is removed. The resulting wound looked like this:
All went well, so in the afternoon I had another minor procedure (and had to fork over another copayment to my HMO—not that I'm complaining!) to sew up the damage. Both operations were almost painless, the conversation during them was entertaining, and the Beethoven background music for the second process was excellent. The results will only be known over time, but so far the healing seems to be proceeding nicely. Meanwhile I have some wicked advice to remember from my plastic surgeon, a young fellow who shares my sense of humor:
Here's a picture of how the shiner is developing as of today:
Returning to the statistics of ^z brow-furrowing, with fresh stitches in the forehead I feel a twinge every time the skin moves—which naturally makes me wince, which causes further distress, and so on. I've thus discovered a host of hitherto-underappreciated ways to provoke a pang: ask a question, wink, take a sip of hot soup, signal skepticism, widen the eyes, sneeze (ow!), ...