I have never met a person who thrills on going to a doctor’s appointments so why should I be any different? Okay, this is my way of saying I detest them…with a passion. I hate the way I feel after any kind of examination, especially the kind that require the ever-so fashionable backwards gown that shows off my azz and not in a good way. But, this last appointment was different…
I called twice before my physical. “Are you sure, absolutely sure you can do everything…?” I asked, drawing out the last word. It was that time of the month and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to get the abbreviated version of the exam just because of a little blood. I was assured twice that it was up to the patient. If I felt comfortable going through every part of the exam, despite the timing, they would do it. Twice I affirmed I was more than comfortable. Anything to get out of having to come back.
It’s the day of the consult and doc is feeling me up. And frowning. She moves away from my breast and fiddles with another part of my body – checking my pulse on my ankle, prodding a hip bone. Slowly she moves back to the same breast and frowns again, looking up at the ceiling, looking anywhere to be away from me. Again, she goes away to poke another spot only to return to the exact same curve of the exact same breast. I know what she feels. I’ve been sore there for weeks. While I haven’t spotted anything I know, professionally, she has. Finally, she pulls her hand away and asks if I’d been able to locate the two lumps in my left breast. No. I hadn’t. Haven’t. Because it’s that time of the month she wants to say it’s nothing but she can’t. She orders a mammogram and I smile weakly, “I’m due anyway. I’m 40,” I remind her. “So you are” she answers brightly. She refuses to do the pap. Damnit. I have to come back.
She doesn’t like other things going on – wheezing in the chest and HighAsHell blood pressure, but those things are ignored with a simple “I’d like to have blood work done as well.” Yes, ma’am. We are suddenly awkward with one another and she leaves me to dress. In the silence I am suddenly more scared of myself than I ever thought possible. I can’t look me or moi in the mirror for fear of falling down. My hand keeps drifting to my chest blindly searching for the elusive lumps. They must be tiny because I can’t tell. My hand refuses to find them. Somehow that doesn’t chase the anxiety off my face or the fear that knocks around my heart. Minutes feel like hours. With shock I suddenly remember where I am and finish getting dressed. It wouldn’t do me well to be still standing here naked. Nothing does me well right now. Nothing’s guarding me.
“I need to make a few appointments,” I tell the receptionist with a sigh. That’s right. I’ll be back.