I have this little vein on my thigh and all I can do is
stare at it and try to imagine where it came from. All those years my family thought I was
upstairs in my office writing, I was actually just sitting in my chair thinking
about my vein.
So I finally decided to go to a doctor.
“Yes, hello? This is
Stephanie Lessing and I’d like to make an appointment to have a little vein
“Where is the vein located?”
“On my right thigh. It’s very tiny. Like an inch long but it takes up most of my
“Okay, and is there anything else you’d like the doctor to
take care of?”
Well, I could use a
face lift. . .and a whole new set of breasts that stand still might be fun.
“Just a couple of freckles,” I said, hating myself for not
asking for things that would actually make a difference in my life.
“Absolutely, we do freckles all the time!”
So I made the appointment and got there a half hour early.
Unfortunately I’d forgotten my wallet so I asked the receptionist if I could
call my husband with my insurance and credit card information, or if she’d
rather I go home and get some form of payment and identification.
She looked me up and down. I could tell she was thinking I
looked like everyone else who walked in there and that I probably wasn’t going
to try to steal the freckle removal procedure.
I waited about ten minutes and then a young, pretty girl
called me into the office.
I knew she wasn’t the doctor but she was sort of touching
all the machines in the office like she was planning to use them on me. She
asked me a bunch of questions about my skin.
Does it burn? Am I allergic to anything?
Do I have regular full body checks ?
“No, no and yes,” I lied.
“Wait, are you going to remove my vein?” I asked her,
wondering why she cared so much about me.
“No, I’m just the laser technician. I’m going to remove your
“OH! Right! My
freckle. But what about my vein?”
“The doctor will see you after I’m done. So which freckle did you want to remove?”
For those of you who don’t know me, I have at least ten,
maybe twenty, billion freckles on my body.
“This one!” I said, pointing to a particularly dark one on
my shoulder. “And this one!” I said
pointing to an old favorite on my knee.
“Oh and this one on my cheek. Or
you could do the one next to it. I guess
any of them would be fine. You pick.”
“Well, there must have been one in particular that bothered
you when you made the appointment.”
“Actually I just pulled the world freckle out of a hat. You can take them all off for all I
care. I don’t need any of them.”
“Well, how about if I laser your whole face and then
you can just point to the ones you don’t
like on your body and I’ll laser them
“Seriously, my whole face?”
“I do it all the time. It will even out your complexion.”
“I guess that would be good.
An even complexion.”
“I’m just going to put this gel on your face and we can get
“Is it going to hurt?”
“A little. Like a pinch. And a very bright light.”
“Okay, I guess that’s fine.”
After she did my entire face, I couldn’t help noticing that
it was on fire. I asked for a little ice
pack or something and she handed me one, but I could tell she thought I was
“The stinging only lasts a few minutes on the face, so….”
I handed her back the ice pack and said I was fine, but the
truth was I was afraid my face was actually missing.
“Can I have a mirror?” I asked.
“Sure! You see all
those darker areas?”
“Well that’s what happens when you get a great result. Your freckles turn dark and then they fall
“Like in my hand or my lap or what?”
“No, they slough off.”
“So I don’t have to worry about them suddenly dropping to
the floor or anything?”
“Nope, they sort of just flake away.”
The hotness was starting to subside and I was beginning to
love the idea that I could live a freckle free life.
“Well in that case, let’s do my legs, shoulders, chest and
“Okay,” she said, as though I suggested we split a soda.
And then she started with my legs.
For some reason, the legs hurt way more than the face.
And then I stood up and she did my shoulders. And then I lay
down and she did my chest. The heat was
flaring up everywhere but it was so confusing, I couldn’t tell what part of my
body hurt more.
“I think we need to stop,” I finally said.
“Are you sure? You
only signed up for six sessions. The more we do today, the less we have to do
“Six sessions? I’ll
be cremated after six sessions. When did I sign up for six sessions?”
“It’s a package price. Does your face still hurt?”
“Well, then, trust me, the rest of the pain will subside
too. The doctor will see you now.”
I was switching feet the whole time I was talking to him and
telling him I didn’t feel very well and that I thought perhaps we’d overdone
the laser just a tad and that I might be better off coming back another day to
look at my vein because I need to lie down somewhere immediately.
“No, you’re fine. Let
me see your vein.”
parts of my body with one of his brochures, and said, “It’s this one.”
sight of my tiny vein while my entire body was slowly being taken over by
gigantic purple welts—except the sound of his voice saying,
Lee’s number. He’ll see you. But there’s a three month wait.”
I didn’t have any money and the pain was by now excruciating.
call my husband to get my insurance information.
“Call information,” I said. “His name is Dan. I can’t talk
anymore. I have to go.”
in the car and did the tricky bra removal under the shirt trick, turned the a/c
on full blast and called Dan.
I’m severely burned and I can’t drive.”
“It’s a long story but you have to help me. I lasered my whole body and now I’m freezing
and burning up and I think I might die.”
It’s just the receptionist of the doctor who tried to kill me.”
spoke to the doctor who explained that I was probably just panicking, but that the pain will be
gone in a few hours. He gave him a
prescription for me for Zanax and Pergoset.
the medication and a bottle of water. As
soon as I put the pill in my mouth I felt better. Either that or seeing my husband made me feel
better. But it was definitely one of the
two. I pulled my shirt to the side to
see my shoulder. My skin was completely
raw with brown stripes everywhere.
“I feel better, “ I said.
“Why did you do this to yourself?” he asked me, trying not to look at my shoulder.
thing led to another and I suddenly could no longer live with my freckles for
would never!! This was hell.”
seen before. Somehow she missed it. I can’t imagine how she didn’t see it. It’s right next to the one she did on my
knee. I slip out of bed and find a red
magic marker and circle it.