February 3, 2022.
7:07 the oven clock shown in the go color of digital green. My appointment was scheduled for 7:30.
“ I could be five minutes late,” I reasoned with the half-wit awareness of one’s sleepy brain.
“It’s been a long, long time,” I thought to myself. “I haven’t been late in a forever time.”
I stumbled, stretching my legs awake as my mind calculated the minutes I had to clean up.
I arrived 7:35 at the imaging center. Luckily, traffic flowed smoothly, parking was easy and the waiting line was nonexistent. I fastwalked as close to a run as I could down the hall.
“I’m so sorry I’m late,” I offered. “Springborn,” I stated in reply to her question.
“You’re just fine,” she smiled. “Registration was 7:30. Your appointment isn’t scheduled until 7:45.”
“Oh! Thank you,” I answered softly. She smiled again as she gave me simple paperwork to complete. These forms seem to come in duplicate and triplicate, asking and re-asking. Normally I would be slightly annoyed at the repetition, but I was grateful for the chance at mindless repetition. It offered a moment of calm.
The waiting room itself was calming with shades of sandy beige and green. Magenta dotted the room in varying faux arrangements. Seats lined the curved windowed seating area. A person sat two floors above mostly concrete and HVAC units. One tree grew on the hillside to the right of the view.
I sat, glad to be in one spot, relatively on time, and just to be quiet. Usually in waiting rooms there were pamphlets and posters, but here, nothing.
“Stephanie,” the technician called me. Only one other lady waited with me in this space. The evolution of the process struck me. I did not enter a womenswear locker room, but a room with the imaging equipment. A curtain divided the room rather unnecessarily, but it seemed like a polite, modest divide from entry to workspace.
She explained the process but it was no surprise. I signed for the 3D mammogram due to my family’s female medical history. Modesty seemed unnecessary. I could disrobe from the waist up, if only to speed up the process. But I waited.
No more removing jewelry. I unclothed myself, removing my sweater and brassiere. Such a strange room with low lights, yet incredible ergonomic design. Spots to hang your clothes and working areas to stand and move around the imaging equipment.
I wrapped the hospital gown around me. Nothing was cold or uncomfortable.
When she returned, we walked to the machine. On the floor were markers for me to stand upon. Foot pedals on either side were her controls.
“Right side first, please. Let me know if it gets too much.”
I am fifty-six years old. I know that the plexiglas looking holders will press my breast as flat as possible. I think to myself that i cannot understand why I don’t remember where to put my hands.
“Grab hold here,” she guides me. “And wrap your arm here. Raise your chin up to look over me.”
A strange stance, to be sure, but it was not painful. I then hold my breath for seconds in response to her instructions.
The plexiglas releases my flesh. I breathe. Next, she turns the holders to angle. Again we repeat the process on the right side.
In reverse, the whole process repeats for my left breast.
Forty-five minutes after my arrival I leave the hospital. Forty-five minutes.
I drive away, thinking of past mammograms. I think of one image which showed abnormalities. After retesting, the images were showing not cancerous abnormalities rather they were showing temporary folds in ducts. These findings were further analyzed to be normal.
I foolishly opened my jacket as I stride to my Jeep. I breathe once for my ill family member, once for my father and once for me. The air is sharp, a six degree January morning razor blade sharp.
But the sun. Oh, the sun is magnificent.
And I walk…
Lots of love, Luv.