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The Mammogram


I am very fortunate to be healthy.  And I thank the Lord everyday for that fact.  I am also thankful for wonderful diagnostic tests such as the mammogram.  I know several ladies that have been saved by this early detection.  That being said I would like to reflect upon... The Mammogram For every woman it is one of the most dreaded times of the year.  No not spring cleaning or summer vacation from school.  The time for your yearly Mammogram.  You notice that I treat it's name with the reverence that it's impending discomfort deserves.  I really feel that it should be capitalized for sake of it's sense of forboding.  Have you ever seen how women react to the word "Mammogram".  If you tell another woman you have to go to have one they wrinkle up their nose, squint their eyes and say "Oh a Mammogram...oooh".  It doesn't exactly conjure up images of an aromatherapy session at your favorite spa now does it!

I have long equated the number of syllables in medical terminology with the degree of discomfort experienced during that particular procedure.
    Now take for instance "blood test".  Two syllables.  Not bad especially for a woman use to the sight of blood.  Urine test...now you have added a syllable and you have stepped the inconvenience scale up a notch.  That brings us to Mammogram...3 of those babies.  Right up there on the pain and the "I really don't want to be there" scale.  To drive my point home I give you vasectomy..a 4 banger...and the grandaddy of 'em all... colonoscopy. ...5 BIG ONES..you just get weak in the knees saying it....now you understand my thinking? Well I make my appointment for The Mammogram during my lunch hour.  I have this thing about punctuality so I arrive 15 minutes early to process the paperwork.  Our local hospital has implemented more stream line processing measures for the comfort and convenience of the patients.  When you walk in the front door there is a nice lady that inquires what you are there for.  I politely tell her I am there for The Mammogram.  She says I will need to report to the front desk.  I report to the desk and the lady takes my information.  She tells me I am lucky because there is only 1 person ahead of me for registration.  She then efficiently  physically walks my paperwork across the hall to the registration office.  She then gives me a buzzer pager and I take a seat in the waiting area.  I wait and I wait .  A couple of people I know stop by to ask if I am sick.  I tell them know just there for a Mammogram.  They wrinkle their nose and squint their eyes and say "Oh I had one last month." much like a bad case of the flu.  At this point I have waited 45 minutes.  That lucky fellow ahead of me has now exited the registration office and I wait for my buzzer pager to give me the signal.

     After about an hour the registration clerk verbally calls me into the office.  She proceeds to take down all the information that the FBI would ever want to know about you.  She makes sure to get at least 2 names of next of kin.  I assume this is in case you die and the insurance doesn't pay the bill they want to know where to start collecting.  I hand her my doctor's order for The Mammogram and my insurance card.  She then tells me she will also need my driver's license.  Now I would like to know fine member of the terrorist group that is willing to stand in for me and take my Mammogram...speak up..where are you when I need you!  She proceeds with more of the usual questions and asks if this is a routine screening Mammogram and I say "Yes".  Then the question comes....from the outer stratosphere....the sucker punch that drops the champion to the mat never knowing what hit him.  She asks me "do you have a living will?"  My brain screeches to a halt.  I am here for a Mammogram and she asks about a living will...what does she think could happen?  My over exuberant imagination takes over and I have these heart stopping images racing across my mind.  I then look her straight in the eye and say "Well...I can tell you this.  If I get stuck in THAT machine...forget the living will...I just want you to shoot me!"  She probably looked as astounded as I did when the question was posed.  She gave a nervous chuckle and then physically carried my paper work (probably with the notation...needs psychiatric evaluation) across the hall to radiation.  I then am asked to return to the waiting area.  I look at the radiologist and she finally "buzzes" my pager.

      The rest of the story is pretty routine for you ladies that have run the course.  I couldn't help but think the entire time I am voluntarily submitting my chest to be smashed between 2 bricks ..."what if the power goes off...what if there is a fire alarm?"  The lady in registration is going to come in here with a 44 and draw down and put me out of my misery.  With that thought I could rest easy that no undo suffering would be incurred and my specified wishes would be followed... Smiles from down on the farm...

(c) 2013 Ellen Wilson-Pruitt
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