I’m not nervous…I’m not nervous…I’m not nervous! Sigh! Yes I am! Breathe! Just breathe. Inhale. Exhale. I’ll be okay. I try to calm my nerves as I drive to the hospital for my appointment.
I turned 40 just a week ago. I find it rather strange, odd and just a bit humorous. I don’t FEEL 40. I mean…what EXACTLY does 40 feel like anyway? I feel like me. Maybe a wiser, better version of me. But ultimately I’m me.
I ALMOST slipped under the radar too! Almost got out of it for another year. The nurse, at my initial appointment, made a comment about my not being 40 yet so I had another year. Ha! I should have left that alone. Should have let her think what she wanted to. BUT NO! I just HAD to correct her. I replied, “I turn 40 on Friday.” DUH! Can I suck that back in? Take it back?!?! Gah! WHY do I have to be so stinking honest? Aagh! Curse that good side of me! Haha!
Fast forward…one week after my birthday… and I’m on my way to my first mammogram. Yep. If nothing else makes me feel old, this just might.
The receptionist is pleasant and tells me to come on in and go to the end of the hall and have a seat. So I do. As I’m walking in I notice an older lady getting called into the room. She’s wearing a pink hospital gown on top and her pants on bottom. I sit down. I want to keep myself busy but the TV in the waiting room is showing the weather. Why couldn’t they play something interesting? Maybe a light hearted comedy? Or a silly sitcom. Something to get my mind off the fact that I’ll be half dressed while a perfect stranger performs my mammogram.
Yes, I know. She’s a trained professional. And THAT’s supposed to make me feel any better about it? Not quite!
I stuff those thoughts back down. I’m okay. I can do this.
My name is called. I glance up. I grab my things and stand. She’s an older lady…maybe in her 70’s. She asks me if this is my first time. Um yeah! Do I LOOK old enough to have had one of these before? Never mind! I won’t be rude. That’s not who I am. “Yes,” I reply politely.
She directs me to the changing room and explains that if I have any deodorant on it needs to be wiped off and provides the cleansing wipes for me. Oh yes! As If I’m not sweating enough already? Now I have to wipe off any protection I had. Oh crap! I think I’m sweating more…
She tells me to remove all clothing from the waist up and put on the gown; opening in the front. Sigh. I nod my head. My replies are short. I don’t really want to be here. But I know I need to be.
You’d think I’d be completely fine with this after having been poked and prodded with 6 pregnancies. But for some reason it’s different. Uncomfortable.
Once I’m changed I go out and she’s waiting for me. She tells me that she’ll explain everything she is doing so that I understand. We walk into the room where the mammogram machine stands. She directs me to untie the gown. I do as I’m told. I try to be calm. Try to breathe. It’s impossible to carry on any small talk. My face is firm. I only speak when spoken to. I just don’t know what to say. Nothing I say can reduce the uncomfortable-ness I’m feeling. So I stay quiet. And I sweat…
She proceeds and explains exactly how I should stand. Relax my shoulders. Turn my head. Otherwise I’d hit my face on the machine. THAT one I could figure out all on my own! She positions me so the machine can get a good picture. I’m sweating. Now…without deodorant. That’s embarrassing. She steps back to her computer and takes the image. “Doing okay?” she asks. “Yep,” I say. Clicking and other noises commence. I breathe. I try to relax.
Thankfully it’s not painful. Just uncomfortable; being half dressed.
She takes 6 images; 3 on each side. In between images I pull the gown around me as much as I can. Pride has left me and I feel small.
She never made me feel uncomfortable. She was very professional. She did her job. She was quick and gentle.
I just want to get my clothes back on.
Finally dressed I have more composure. My face softens a little.
On my way out I stop to see a friend who works in the hospital. I can breathe again. I can relax. I can smile. We laugh about my being old now. She’ll be 40 soon too.
I survived. It wasn’t that bad. Just…uncomfortable. Sometimes doing things that need to be done to keep ourselves healthy is…JUST CRAPTASTIC…