Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Letter from the Lab

The mammogram you received on February 24 was Normal.

And isn't that a blessing. But let's be clear: you did not "receive" that mammogram. It was imposed upon you. And you paid for the pleasure of having it -- please come back next year.

They tell me this smashing sandwich-plate used to be made of metal, but thankfully (like the other metal implements they assault us with) it is now Lucite.

Even if your technician is perfectly nice -- introducing herself and shaking your hand, telling you everything she is about to do in coded language (little pressure = don't try this at home!) and warms her hands, and speaks in soothing tones (but not so soothing that they start to be creepy), and tells you you're doing great (but again, not too often) -- even if all of that is in-line with standards and practices... you will at some point call out the location of the secret plans.

They also tell me they used to give you results in hand before you left, but now they mail them to you. Perhaps because they are mailed to a faraway land for evaluation.

The mammogram you received on February 24 was Lost.

I could not figure out how to put on the little shawl. Somewhere in the past 40 years the "Johnnie" became front-loading. We are supposed to be grateful for this, because our backsides no longer hang out, but when my gown fell open in the waiting area (thank you, magazine!) I thought... this would not have happened if I had been sitting on it.

The mammogram you received on February 24 was Hilarious.

And afterward, you feel a little shaken -- kind of nervous, like you might cry, or just need to sit down. But maybe it was holding your breath in such short bursts, or maybe you just missed your lunch. Maybe you are just so pleased that it is over -- this thing you dread, that you had to postpone once already for a blizzard, and which you have to drive to the city for. And for which you must reward yourself with a big lunch out and perhaps a midday wee spot. And while not the most uncomfortable medical exam you must endure (because the bar is set pretty high), it does require a lot of sensations you don't encounter in your ordinary day.

The mammogram you received on February 24 was Completely Annoying.

Dana Reeve just died of cancer.
The mammogram you received on February 24 was Lifesaving.

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