Tuesday, October 21, 2008


When I saw that I was about to get old, I spoke with my doctor - Because that’s what you do when you start getting old, you begin to confer with your doctor about things. I told my doctor that old age was on the horizon and I needed to start nailing down baselines and whatnot. When you are old, you become concerned with baselines and whatnot. She agreed that I was old and it was time. I made vague, positive noises about a mammogram and so did she. We were in agreement, I needed to get one of those done. Now that I was old.

While I was conferring with my doctor, I made an appointment for my yearly physical and because I was not old yet, I assumed that we could get at least some of the baselines taken care of in her office. Okay fine. Well some of them. I dutifully went in for my physical and she did doctor things and I did patient things and then when I was getting dressed, I asked So. When we gonna get to that whole mammogram thing? And she said When you make an appointment for one.... Dayum. She gave me the paperwork and I toddled off to get blood drawn.

I called the number as soon as I got home. I made an appointment and much to my shock I got an appointment for the next business day. I thought That was fast. Do they know something I don’t? What the hell did my labs say?! Healthy women get these done every day? Right?

I did some research and my insurance won’t even pay for one for a woman under forty unless she has family history .Thirty-nine and you pay for it yourself, forty and it’s on the house. I think that’s odd as I know three women with breast cancer and only one was over forty when her’s was diagnosed. One was 34, the other was 36. I think an age requirement is short sighted and ill advised. I’m not saying that I think every thirteen year old girl needs a mammogram at her yearly physical, but I do think the net should be widened.

Any way. I broke it to my boss that I had another doctors appointment and I toddled off again to be patient again. I checked the site for the hospital and it said that it was the only campus that charges for parking. I made a note to stop and get cash ( they lied! As a patient, my parking was free). I got lost trying to find the right parking structure and then I stood in the elevator thinking it was broken for five minutes because I didn’t know what floor I was on and I had inadvertently told it to stay where it was. I finally figured it out and made it into registration. If you think white coat anxiety is a drag, wait until they slap an bracelet on you. If I wasn’t feeling ill when I went in there, I did as soon as they attached that puppy to my wrist. The bracelet looked so hospital-y, so in-patient. All of a sudden I transformed into a sick person. I also didn’t like being handed a map and told to go find Imaging Services on my own.

What is it about some healthcare facilities that makes them so grubby? I haven’t been inside a hospital since Tiny E was born and by comparison, that place was the Hilton.I didn't go there, I went to Wake Med. It’s a ginormous facility and every hallway looks like every other hallway and they all have scary signage Pathology Lab, MRI, Observation Unit, Chest Pain Unit, Wound Care. The really scary sign was for the hospitals retirement fund - AIG..

I had to wander the halls for a while to finally find the right waiting room.. There were three other people there when I arrived and they all looked like they had just been given very bad news. That’s it. I’m dying. . The woman at the desk checked my arm band and gave me a form to fill out. I had just copped to a family history of cancer and someone a few chairs away started to cry. I am so dying. The band on my wrist began to throb.

They called me in. My wrist band was checked again and we got under way. You know all the ugly things you hear about the mammogram experience? ALL TRUE! The nurse said it would be “uncomfortable” and it was, it is very uncomfortable and it was. It is very uncomfortable to have your tit in a wringer. I didn’t feel like screaming in pain or anything but a few good yelps would have been appropriate to the situation.

Do I suggest you get one? Oh hell yes!. If you haven’t had one, get one. If you aren’t old enough yet, make it clear to your physician that you want one when the time comes and if you have a family history you shouldn’t wait even that long. It takes maybe, twenty minutes out of your year and it could save your life. Getting you tits in a wringer isn’t the worst thing that can happen to them or you.


Cat said...

It's stupid that insurance only covers it when you have family history, as one of the predictors of breast cancer is... NOT having a relative with breast cancer. It isn't generally heritable, and yes, it should be covered by insurance for anyone over 35.

Cat said...

Stupid insurance companies.

Diana said...

This may be the year I make my deductable. Wake Med is Parkland with cleaner linolium.

Eduth said...

Reminder: the only "family history" I can think of is your mother's HALF-sister. I have always held to the belief that it was the PAGE side of the family that provided the Breast cancer, since that's much more comforting than thinking otherwise.

your auntie said...

Well, the mother/grandmother's side doesn't seem to have been very healthy, if you think about it. Prevention, as y'all've been saying, is the important thing. One way to prevent lung cancer (especially if, as we commenters all are, you are a woman) is not to smoke, not to drink to excess, and NEVER become a drinker-smoker.