Leaving North Dakota To Get Medical Treatment

On about January 25, 2018 I noticed that I had a new mole on my right shoulder.  I was very concerned that this might be a melanoma because it had an irregular shape, color, and surface.

I knew that I should try to get this mole looked at and removed by doctor right away.  A week later I began trying to find a dermatologist in Dickinson, North Dakota where I have lived and worked for the past five years, a town of about 25,000 people.

I found out that there were no dermatologists in Dickinson, but there was a dermatology clinic in Bismarck, the state capitol, 100 miles away.  When I telephoned this clinic, the Mid Dakota Dermatology Clinic, I was told that the soonest available appointment was 6 months away.

Six months wait to see a dermatologist is way too long if you think that you have melanoma, the most fatal form of skin cancer if left untreated.  I tried telephoning other dermatology clinics in Bismarck, but these other clinics had a similarly long wait.

I then telephoned a dermatologist that I had seen eight years ago in Idaho, and his office had appointments available each week in February.  I made an appointment for February 21, in order to be able to plan being away from my job in Dickinson.

I knew that this was more than a 12 hour drive back to Idaho, and more than $300 in fuel for the round trip.  Due to the snow and ice covered roads, it took me 16 hours to get to where I was going in Idaho.

At the dermatologist’s office in Idaho, the check-in patient paperwork took me 4 minutes to complete.  The medical assistant then took me to an examination room and spent about 3 minutes talking to me and photographing my mole.  Then the dermatologist came in.

The dermatologist looked at the mole on my shoulder for less than one minute, he then said that this is either a mole or a squamous cell, neither of these have the ability to spread cancer throughout your body, so if I were you, I would just get this frozen off, and this whole visit will cost you less than $100.

It took this dermatologist less than two minutes to freeze this mole, and then I was done.  It took two minutes to pay the $99 bill using my debit card.

This whole dermatologist office visit from when I arrived there to when I left, took less than 20 minutes.  It was no big deal.

I have had the experience many times in North Dakota, that what are normal ordinary things to do in other states, can hardly be accomplished in North Dakota.  If anyone has ever seen me sometimes characterize North Dakota as being backwards and primitive, this is why.

2 thoughts on “Leaving North Dakota To Get Medical Treatment

  1. Regarding your difficulty in seeing a dermatologist, maybe if you lived in a less “primitive” area, as you yourself so described, this would not have been a problem.

    i live in a relatively small town, as you know. but even here there are a couple of dermatologists. i have had my face, forehead, scalp, arms, frozen with liquid nitrogen so many times that my face resembled the moon with all its craters(which probably is an improvement in my case). which is why i now try to keep out of the sun. basal cell and squamous(sp)should be looked after. you are right to examine your skin(all parts of your body)for evidence of melanoma. treatment of melanoma if caught in early stages, is very effective nowadays..
    well, for whatever reason you prefer living there. and that is your business. and nobody else’s. just wish you had more immediate access to doctors, that’s all.

    as for me, planning a trip to new york city probably in may. no one here with whom i associate(one or two of xxxxxx’s old friends…nor my niece)has any use for that frenzied place. but i love it. for a few days. could not live there(cliched..so cliched).
    but true. ya need big bucks, which i ain’t got.
    so crazy is the city. so vibrant and alive, too. which i NEED compared to my small town. nice town. but town leaders destroying it. more and more development. VERY near to my home. feel besieged sometimes. always hear sounds of earth-moving equipment laying waste to scrub woods…and genuine small forests, near my home. inching closer and closer to me. nothing i can do. sad. what they are doing. am 73. maybe i can still live here once they finish destroying all the habitat around me…so they can build parks that will attract the homeless. near me..
    loved it here. maybe after they stop with all their horrible earth moving equipment, things will calm down.
    what they destroyed…woods, habitat, is a fucking crime, excuse my language. sometimes understand ted kaczinski(sp). but i never accept hurting anyone in furtherance of a cause. that was ted’s unforgivable sin. brilliant man. could not fit in. but violence, hurting people, not acceptable. no way. my cause is to say “no” to development.
    development…i hate it. ironic i should want to escape what is happening in my small town by going to new york city, and loving it. what is wrong with me?
    take care. listening to david bowie…fame, young americans,keeps me sane, somewhat. hope to hear from you.


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