Wednesday, 11 March 2009

the mammogram

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Well, on Monday I finally had the mammogram I thought I was having weeks ago. And after everyone telling me how painful it was, how horrid it is and various other interesting stories, I was a bit nervous I must say. But I was determined to have it, as it is another ‘control mechanism’. For me, any way I can take control of what my body is doing, is a good thing.

So at lunchtime, off I went - I arrived early by 30 minutes - and here is where everyone goes crazy. The RD&E hospital is amazing. I have had nothing but brilliant treatment there so far and I have absolutely no complaints about it…EXCEPT FOR THE PARKING!!! It is a total nightmare. Our jolly government are always trying to force feed us ‘public transport’ use. Yes, theoretically it sounds marvellous. But in reality, it sucks. It would cost me twice as much to catch the bus [not to mention changing in the middle of town, meaning standing around in the freezing cold and rain for ages] and anyway I hate being at the whim of bus drivers. They are never on time. And as for the bus stops? Ha! In the UK it is ALWAYS raining. So what do they do? They remove all the shelters with sides, and give us trendy plastic roof thingys that the rain can get to you from all angles. Idiots. They are about as useful as a third buttock.

Right - arrived early - it took me 40 minutes to find a space!! I had to stop in the middle of the parking lot and call the ward, as I was so stressed I was shaking like a leaf, worrying that they would think I was a no show and cancel my appointment. They were so calm…'not to worry – we know you’re here so just arrive after you find a space'. Oof - what a relief. And of course, 2 minutes later I did find a space. Then raced to the ward and sat in the nice serene waiting area. Yay - NO television!!

I do not understand why they put televisions in waiting areas? They are usually showing some idiotic program that makes one wish to shoot the screen or beat the person next to you over the head with a book. Non stop drivel or, [even worse], ER?? What?! Grr. Better to spend the money on a nice big bowl of Help Yourself Valium for the magazine table. Far more use to all of us stressed out and demented patients.

I hate television in waiting areas. Stop that. Have a library. And free tranquillisers. And a multi story car park.

But as usual I digress. I blame the chemo brain. So, on to the mammogram. It was not at all painful I am glad to report! A tad undignified having one’s boobs yanked about, but that’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. I seem to have ribs that get in the way, but apart from that, no worries. Here in the UK we have the ‘4 picture’ version. Good, more pictures, more conclusive results.

The Process. You go into a little room, and change out of the top half of your clothes [good to wear separates girls] into a Bat Woman cape. Of the UGLIEST fabric you ever saw. WHO are the Evil Designers of hospital garb?? As a designer myself, I would like to have a rather sharp word with them. Then. All your kit goes into a shopping basket! Hilarious. Then the radiographer knocks on the door, and off you go. With your trusty shopping basket. She is explaining a lot of stuff whilst shuffling you about into the machine, but mostly I was eyeing the machine and wondering what was going to happen, so she was wasting her breath, poor woman. Both boobs go into the machine twice – once straight ahead, and once on an angle. So four photos. It doesn’t take any longer than about 2 seconds for each photo [if that], so even if it had hurt [which it didn’t] it would have been easily bearable. Especially if it saves one from having a mastectomy.

Then one waits outside in the hall whilst the radiographer checks that the scans are good. After that, off to the little room, get changed and off you go. Four weeks max for the results to arrive. OK! Good work for Monday!

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