There's a scorpion in my bathtub. We lived in Tucson, AZ for eight years, and I never saw anything remotely resembling a scorpion. But, since moving to New Mexico, I have had close encounters with several of them, both inside and outside the house. And everyone in the Southwest knows the only good scorpion is a dead scorpion, in a paperweight, which proves tourists will buy anything. Bless their hearts.
So, this morning when I stumbled into the bathroom with one eye open and one at half-mast and saw a scorpion merrily running around the bathtub, I was beyond annoyed. What disturbs me the most though is that I no longer feel the need to scream like a girl and run the other direction when I see one. I simply sighed, wearily retrieved a flip-flop, and quickly dispatched the offending critter. I can’t believe I’m getting used to this.
Now, I told you that story, to tell you this one. I should have known when I started my day out squashing a scorpion, that was some kind of sign this was going to be a bumpy day. Then, it dawned on me while I was pouring water into the coffeemaker that this was MAMMO DAY! Oh, crap. Ever since I started getting these things, I have yet to make it out the clinic door without having to get re-takes or an ultrasound, as if the original squishing wasn’t injury enough.
The good news is, or so I’ve been told, as you get older your breast tissue gets less dense, so mammos get somewhat easier to endure and easier to read. That’s just a nice way of saying, “Those puppies are headed straight for the floor, sister, and there’s not a cotton-pickin’ thing you can do about it.” Well, one thing I know for sure. Gravity works on me. Parts of my body have already headed south, and it's not even close to winter. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "the land down under."
I briefly contemplated re-scheduling the thing, but I decided I might as well go ahead and get it over with. So, I headed over to the hospital about 30 minutes before my appointment time because you always have to do paperwork.
Within a few minutes, I was called back to the exam room. Then came Snag #2. The technician held out her hand and said, “You did bring your previous films with you, right?” I don’t know about you, but I don’t keep my hooter films on hand. We moved four times in four years, so that’s four different clinics, and trying to get the films yourself takes an act of Congress these days, patient rights notwithstanding. Although the technician decides to deliver a small lecture on how this is much easier and faster if you have previous films to compare, she does say they have a release form I can sign, and they will unearth one for me. I skip the snarkasm and murmur my thanks, not wanting to tick off the woman who would be in control of the vice grip. My mama didn't raise no dummy.
So, off we go to the exam room. Get undressed, put on this silly paper open-front crop-top thing, which the technician immediately removes from one shoulder to get the left girl on the plate. Put your arm up here, shift your shoulder back, turn your head to the left (which she has to tell me twice, because my brain is fully focused on what’s about to happen to my girl on the plate and not what she’s saying, so I turned my head to the right), and lean back slightly. She retreats behind the protective barrier, depresses the footplate which puts the plates in motion, and tells me to hold still, as if you could actually move with your girl in that vice grip.
In a couple of minutes, she reappears and tells me to get undressed again. We have to redo all the films, not because they saw something suspicious on them, but because the processor suddenly went berserk and chewed them up. Of course it did. So, we go through the whole process again, I get dressed and finally get to retreat to the waiting room.
In the waiting room, there are two more women waiting with that “look” on their faces, so I try to reassure them by saying, “She’s good! It was practically painless, and I survived!” Upon hearing this, they both smiled widely, as did I, even though we all knew I was lying.
The technician appears at the little window and tells me I need to fill out the release form so they can get my previous films and I’m free to go. She, due to her recent birth, has no idea why this sets off a round of laughter. The woman next to me offers up the reading glasses, while the smart woman who actually remembered to bring them says, “I think I’ll just hang around here today and make a few extra bucks by renting out my glasses!
One good thing is I did remember to take all the info about the clinic where my last mammo was done, so I was able to quickly fill out the release form. The second good thing was that the print was large enough that I didn’t have to borrow the reading glasses to complete the form.The third good thing was the questionnaire they wanted us to fill out and make suggestions as to how their service could be improved.