Preventive maintenance.

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.                 ~ Mark Twain

Yep!  Today is mammogram day.  As Mark Twain said above, I’d rather not.  Even though my chest doesn’t look like the woman in the cartoon, it feels as if it does.  Mammography gives new meaning to compression.

I don’t remember when my exams started to fall in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I guess it’s a good thing, though, since I have many pink bows and public service announcements to remind me.

As it happens, my doctor’s office is in the same building as the imaging center, so I decided I should go upstairs and get my flu shot.  Back in September my doctor told me to just drop in, that I wouldn’t need an appointment.  I took her at her word.  Unfortunately, the staff didn’t get the message.  Or maybe the doctor didn’t understand all the steps one must go through before being inoculated.  More likely, some of the staff were anticipating the weekend and they put their brains away early.

I did my dactyloscopy check-in.  Then the young woman at the desk asked for my name.  I’m not sure why they have to ask for your name once they’ve checked your hand print identification.  It took about two more seconds to figure out that the poor child was clueless.  Long story short — I went from the front desk to the nurses’ station to the front desk to the nurses’ station.  At one point a woman in check-out asked me if I was checking out.  I said, “No, ma’am, I’m just going in circles.”  She said, “okay” and gave me a sweet smile.  As I was leaving twenty minutes later, I stopped to check out and she informed I didn’t need to check out.  Go figure.

So here I am, immunized and aching all over.  Flu shots always do that to me.  I have serious questions about whether they’re actually effective, but I keep going back year after year in the hope that they are.

Oh, and the nurse who gave me the injection apologized for the confusion and told me the woman who checked me in is soon to be moved to a department more suited to her skills.  I’m happy for her.  And for the patients.

Note:  My spell check suggested I might need cartography, not mammography.  Hmmmm.  Maybe I do.


Waiting–pages from my diary.

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. ~ Marie Curie

Tuesday, October 11–I went to a new primary care physician today.  She’s an intelligent doctor and she did a thorough examination and asked all the right questions.  My reason for this visit was to check out the possibility that I might have an ulcer.  I was having symptoms that indicated that might be my problem.  I had been  miserable for quite some time.  Dr. M agreed that she, too, thought it was probably an ulcer.  She gave me meds to tide me over while we wait for the blood test results. No surprising news there.

Part of my physical was, of course, a breast exam.  She stopped midway through the examination of my left breast and asked, “Have you felt this?  Do you do self-exams?”  I confessed that I only occasionally do the self check.  She had me feel what she was talking about and yes, there was a mass that I had  not detected.  She ordered a diagnostic mammogram.  And now the waiting begins.  Radiology is to call me to set up an appointment.  Why can’t I call them and set up the damn appointment!

This is one of those times when it’s difficult being divorced and living alone.  I tried not to cry as I drove home.  As soon as I got inside my house, I sat down and let it all out.

Wednesday, October 12–The doctor’s office told me to call scheduling today if I hadn’t heard from them.  I waited until after lunch and then made the call.  They were as helpful as they knew how to be but told me they had no order for my mammogram and since it’s a diagnostic mammogram, it has to come from the doctor.  All this after jumping through the usual telephone acrobatics that go with today’s medical services.  I called the doctor’s office and told them of my findings.  And then I think I made a bad decision.  I told her to cancel the order to that hospital and send it instead to the other hospital.  My reasoning was that apparently the first one didn’t have their act together and my doctor’s office is a part of the second hospital so that would keep all communication in the same house, so to speak.  Little did I know.

Thursday, October 13–I’ve cooled my jets all day today.  Don’t want to be obsessive about this.  After all, it could be nothing.  But here’s the thing, I’m the type of person who wants and needs to confront the problem once I know there is a problem.  Waiting for other people to act curtails my ability to meet the issue head on.  Frustrating.

Friday, October 14–Okay I’m obsessing again.  Called scheduling at the second hospital.  Was on hold for longer than I liked, with constant recorded reminders that they would be with me soon and they respected the value of my time.  Finally, a live person who told me they had not received the order.  Sigh.  Back to the doctor’s office to ask why.  Fortunately I don’t have a problem with high blood pressure as I can feel myself getting strident as I speak to the first person who answers the phone.  Sorry.  The third (I think)  person I talked with sorta/kinda explained it and said someone would call me back today.  It’s 4:30 and I haven’t heard a word.  But it’s okay.  I’m chillin’.  I’m cool.  No telling how long said spot has been there.  It can wait a while longer. 🙂

6:00 pm–Went to the Latino band rehearsal.  I do this every Friday evening so I can prepare my power point for Sunday morning.  The side effect is that I feel totally at peace when I’m in that place with those wonderful people.  They even let me sing along from my computer station in the back of the room.  God is good.

To be continued.