By Sheila Moss – Humor Columnist Blog
I talked rapidly as my doctor looked over my chart, hoping that he would not notice that I’d not had a mammogram in two years.
“How long since you had a mammogram?” he asked. I had to admit to the truth since he had it right there in front of him anyhow.
“The nurse will make you an appointment,” said the doctor, knowing I’d probably never get around to it.
“Do you perform monthly self exams?” he asked. It seems you can’t just go to the doctor any more and get a checkup. They always find something else that needs testing or checking, so you have to go back.
I arrived at the women’s clinic on the appointed morning feeling a bit like a watermelon before a Gallagher performance.
“I don’t have you down for today,” said the receptionist. Oh, good, maybe I can get out of this after all. “But we will work you in,” she continued. Just my luck. I don’t know how I got mixed up about the day. Selective memory, I suppose.
I filled out the mountain of paperwork that they required, answering all the highly personal questions again, even though I had been to this clinic before, and even though I was there only two weeks prior to this. Why they need to know how old I was when I had my first child, or whether I’m allergic to latex? I’m still trying to figure it out.
Anyhow, they finally called my name and I went in the little dressing room and put on the little cape, in preparation for my grand entrance. I’m sure I looked fabulous in the latest designer medical attire.
“No history and no specific problems? Just a routine exam?”
Yes, I nodded dumbly, wondering why I just filled out all that paperwork since apparently nobody looked at it anyhow.
As I went into the room with the torture machine, my brain told my body to run away, out through the waiting room, past the other grim-faced women, and out the front door screaming, with my cape clutched tightly around me. But all I did was bravely step up to the machine and wait for Nurse Gallagher to perform her sadistic duties.
What man invented the mammogram machine anyhow? It had to be a man. No woman would invent a machine that feels so much like medical malpractice. No, I don’t want to have cancer, and I know about all the women whose lives have been save by a simple mammogram. So why am I afraid?
“Do you perform monthly self-breast exams?” asked Nurse Gallagher, as if I could think of anything other than being smashed with a giant mallet.” This will only take a few minutes,” she promised, as the machine hummed and I held my breath, waiting to pass out.
At last the ordeal was over and I gratefully returned to the dressing room to check out the damage.
“We will call if there is a problem,” said the receptionist. “Your doctor will have the results by tomorrow.”
So, I’ll return to my normal routine feeling a bit black and blue in unspecified places but otherwise none the worst for my ordeal. But not every woman will. Of the eight women in the waiting room, statistics say one of us will have breast cancer at some time in her life. About 40,450 women were expected to die from this disease in 2015.
As I strolled smugly out the door, I was very pleased with myself for taking care of my health. I felt a slight twinge of pity for the women in the waiting room diligently recording the history of their life, which will most likely never be read.
Now that it is all over, I can’t imagine why anyone would feel embarrassed or afraid. Why are we silly women so nervous?
Copyright 2003-2016 Sheila Moss
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