if you are at all squeamish or embarrassed about things of a female nature, or feel that there are things in the secret world of females that you prefer to remain ignorant in; Do Not Read On. Or, if you just think that you'll never be able to look me in the eye after you know the intimates of what my Doctor drags me through; Do Not Read On.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Ahhh, that annual physical is the gift that just keeps giving.
First, there was the very enlightening experience of the internal ultrasound. I learned about gadgets and gizmos and procedures that I am fairly confident I could have happily lived out the remainder of my days not knowing. Still, there's nothing to keep things fresh like constantly learning new things. Now, with that behind me, all that remained of the required annual physical tests was the mammogram- and who hasn't accidentally backed an SUV up over one's own breast at least once before in their lifetime? That's old news. I'm an old pro at the mammogram machine, and already know lots of creative ways to roll and tuck flattened tissues and still look fabulous in a gown.
I'd had plenty of training.
So, I wasn't too worried about the mammothflat.
Mostly it became a practical matter of booking the time off of work and seeing what other birds could get shot on the same day.
Sam's follow-up neurology appointment.
He could sit in the open-the-gown-to-the-front cubicle and play on Micah's gameboy while I got my breasts anvilled. Shouldn't take too long. Then we could hustle over to Children's Hospital to get his noggin examined. A foolproof plan.
We got through the first waiting room, and into the changing waiting room. Sam did great while I shivered in my drafty greens and got through the squashy vicegripping procedure of radiology. The technologist asked me to wait in my changing room for a few minutes before changing so she could be sure that she was pleased with the images. I heard her excuse several other women hiding behind their drafty curtains in their own cropped gowns.
I waited for my cue for departure.
"Joyce? We'll want to take just a few more pictures..."
So we did. I was getting kind of intimate with the machinery by now; but I hoped that my tissues wouldn't explode all over the floor and walls, they looked awfully clean.
Back to my fitting room; feeling a little deflated.
Some more waiting; some more women given the green light to get back into the safety and security of their undergarments.
"Joyce? Just a couple more pictures...................."
"This is going to get a little tight. I need to get in and get a good, close picture."
oh. goodie. Those other pictures felt so far away.
more like landscape photos.
Aerial photography; really.
Time to get in nice and close.
And back to the curtain room. (Sam has tired of the gameboy. He's moved on to drawing pictures of weird faces and creatures with three mouths. Probably trying to process the trauma he senses all around him...) I wait. I begin to suspect that my radiologist wanted to be a wedding photographer and is living vicariously through my breasts. I wonder if I'll ever know the security of underwire again or if I'll be asked to live out the remainder of my days dashing between the curtain closet and the compression chamber.
I hear more women being excused.
I hear my name being called.
"Joyce? We'd like to run an ultrasound. We can fit you in in half an hour."
(Nothing surprises me at this point. I remember thinking I was going for a normal ultrasound last time and landed up feeling like I'd just had a tryst with hospital machinery. I wonder how they will manage to make the seemingly innocent ultrasound machine invasive this time. Oh, but I have great faith that they will.)
Back we go to the original waiting room. I consider forming relationships with the other occupants because my life in the real world, what with its closed shirts and undies; is beginning to fade from my memory. Besides. I wonder if I shouldn't warn them?
A short wait and then off to a brand new fitting room. Nice to know that they do their best to keep things fresh and interesting. Sam has moved well beyond the three mouthed faces by now. He is doing remarkably well for a young boy who has been shuffled from cubicle to cubicle with nothing but a paper and pen to entertain him. He hasn't had nearly as much stimulation as his mother.
Not that I had any idea that all that anvil pounding was only a warm-up for our real exercise in radiology. The ultrasound. Did I mention why we were going to such great lengths for these has-been symbols of my femininity? Something about a mass. and not the type with liturgy and candles. Did I mention just where that thicker area was located? Just behind the right nipper. yup, that's what she said.
Let's do a thorough, thorough exam on that particular area(la) now, shall we? Let's get that ultrasound gadget working on those parts. Examine. Re-examine. And examine. And one more time..... a little to the left........ little to the right.... higher......lower.......And one more time. Enough to make a grown woman want to cry. (or giggle uncontrollably). I'm now feeling so intimate with ultrasound that I'm thinking of bringing back polygamy. Conversely, I'm thinking of never visiting my Doctor again. I'm thinking that I've got a sign on my back that says: "ULTRASOUND ME" and I want to get it removed. Who do I see for that?
Probably not neurology at Children's.
(When I do figure it out; I'm thinking of replacing "ULTRASOUND ME" with "Wait! Come back! There's a part of me you haven't violated yet!")
***just to get a little serious for a sec- everything is cool. It's just another case of the fibrous thing that I seem to be so good at. Fibroids in the uterus. Fibrous breasts. The ultrasound confirmed that the mass was simply an area of thickened tissues. Now, you really didn't want to know all of this but seriously. THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!! And at least you'll have been warned.
We've got to laugh about this stuff, sistas.