You know what today is? National Mammography Day! Well, actually, nope. That was LAST Friday. (It’s always the 3rd Friday in October, doncha know?) Today was PERSONAL Mammography Day. For me.
Why is it always sooooo hushed when you walk into the Mammography Center? Is it because we all know what we’re there for? Everything has already been said…so now, no one needs to say ANYTHING??
Not wanting to disturb the peace, I just sidle in and give the front desk my name, whereupon they hand me my paperwork. Which I review, only to find they have me down for 23 live births.
Uhm…no thank you?
But since there’s no talking, I just cross it out and put the correct number down and find myself thinking that perhaps someone needs to tell the man-to-my-left-on-the-phone that there’s no talking. The one man in the whole waiting room, God bless him, and even though he’s hiding his mouth behind his hand, we can still hear him. Because…no one else is talking. But him. Talking.
And to my right? They’re churning through the check-in process pretty quickly, with Chair # 2 gettin’ a good deal of biz.
Eventually they call my name. Winner, winner, chicken dinner – Chair #2! And I sit in my prison-visiting-hours-window and explain to the in-take counselor that “someone” spilled coffee on my mammography paperwork yesterday, but here it is anyway. We have ourselves a chuckle about that AND the 23 kids. (Nope. Just 2. But it DOES seems like 23 sometimes, heh-heh-heh.)
All is in order, and my in-take counselor invites me to go through “the double doors” at the end of the hall where all the magic happens. (She says “double doors” like it’s a totally inappropriate euphemism for Double-D’s, but that might just be my interpretation.) Shelly’s waiting for me on the other side and POPS OUT to ask if I’m wearing deodorant. “Well, hello to you too, Shelly. And No, no I don’t have deodorant on and I’m startin’ to skunk up the joint so let’s get this party started.”
‘Gettin the party started’ entails me going into a voting-booth-with-a-door to dress for success, after which I join the rest of my waiting room sisters to form a Star Trek commune-from-the-future whose directive is to re-populate the world wearing totally normal clothes from the waist-down and the neck up, bifurcated by a pink, waist-length hospital gown (open in the front, please!).
In this get-up, I don’t think anyone’s gonna take us up on our “planet is dying and we need to make a new race of people” offer because we all look like we’ve got Super Droopy Syndrome going on. I’m one of those with a moderate-to-severe case o’ the droops, so I’m not commenting here – other than to say that having 23 kids takes its toll on your body!
And it’s soooo quiet in HERE too, as we all glide about performing our commune duties in total silence. My duty is to make coffee for myself. French Vanilla! Num, num, num. Maybe I’ll stay ALLLLL day and drink my way even as the water trickles endlessly somewhere and the fish swim round and round in the big tank. The music is on so low that I can barely hear it. Perhaps it’s just a memory of the music of Quincy Jones from before I joined the commune? Love her, love her, love her, one hundred ways, yeah. You better love her today. Find one hundred ways…
Catherine finally comes for me and as I dutifully follow – wearing jeans tucked into jaunty two-tone riding boots, a pink shortie-kimono (size double-wide and extra-droopy, thankyouverymuch) topped off with a cute, chunky necklace (Hey! Hey! Eyes up here!!) – another memory of the music from my pre-commune days starts up…But for now, we’ll go on living separate lives! (Phil? Mr. Collins? Is that you?! Remember all the fun we had together? When we were both young and…perky?? Those were good times, weren’t they?!)
Catherine and I chat for a bit and get the requisite 23-kids-joke out of the way. By the time we get down to business, I haven’t quite finished my cup of coffee, and I find I’m vaguely disappointed about that.
You know what else I’m disappointed about? That I didn’t take Hubby up on his offer this morning to give me a ‘pre-screening’ (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). At least HIS hands were warm. Catherine’s hands are FREEZING as she’s touching me all over the private bits I keep under my pink double-wide. But all those years as a Poseable Barbie have paid off and I’m finally, FINALLY standing in just the right way, according to Catherine (no, no, feet FACING the machine, but head to the side). I’m barely breathing and can only see what’s going on ‘down there’ out of the corner of my eye. And what I CAN see? Looks like a startlingly white puddle of spilled milk that’s spreading out further and further underneath the plexiglass the more Catherine turns her dial. Good thing they give you that hand-grip-thingie on the side of the machine! It must be the modern medical equivalent to biting on a bullet for the pain!!
I’m in the middle of wondering why someone with cold hands would wanna spend all day graphing mammos when Catherine asks if I’m going back to work after this.
Really? Really?!? Even HERE I’m not safe from that dreaded question?? “No. I’m a stay at home mom. Having 23 kids makes it hard to hold down a job. Heh, heh, heh. But thanks for bringing it up!” stink eye, stink eye
As I’m getting changed afterwards I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It looks like I’ve been beaten about the neck and chest. Which in a way, I have been. Those red marks are from all that pinchin’, squishin’…Lovin’, touchin’, SQUEEZIN’ eachother… Whaaaat? Steve Perry and Journey?? You’re here TOO??!