I asked for an early appointment, but not too early. I wanted the doctor to be fresh, but not still yawning from his night’s sleep. I wanted the nurse to still be enthusiastic about the patient, not looking at her watch to see how long before lunch, or before she got to escape home, take off her scrubs, and pull on her shorts and t-shirt.
As I signed the paperwork, received a few encouraging nods, and sat in the “special” waiting room, I noted the cheery paintings on the walls. Daisies. Pansies. Hydrangeas. I silently complimented the interior designer, but the room still felt a bit cold and sterile, perhaps because I wore only a baby blue smock over my naked chest, with an opening in the front.
But more energy filled the room when a 50-something brown-haired, gentle-smiled nurse/technologist walked in. She smelled like the summer air outside: fresh, optimistic, newly mowed.
I’m her first one today, I surmised as she introduced herself as Rose. My mood elevated.
Rose ran through the biopsy procedure with careful detail. Oh! My right breast was to be squeezed into the mammogram machine (“but not tight, tight,” she assured me) while the doctor, male, yes, but “he’s efficient, gentle, and so nice” guided a large needle (“but not too large,” Rose assured me, again) into the exact spot in my breast where they needed the cell samples.
In fact, I was never worried about the pain, or the related bleeding or bruising or necessary follow-up of 10-hour icing.
I listened to the soft murmur within myself instead: “you’re fine,” it said.
The doctor was all business until a deep well of humor burst forth from my mouth as he stung my breast with a numbing needle. Wherever did I come up with “I’d tell you a joke about a blunt needle but it’s pointless”?
Even though I couldn’t see him, since my head was squeezed the other way against the machine’s plate glass, I heard him chuckle. It seemed that I was the one relaxing him. Which, to give me credit, is no small feat with one breast squeezed in large hard cold impersonal plates of glass, part of a huge machine created expressly to find cancer.
I thanked the Spirit surrounding me for this technology, for Rose who patted me gently on my arm, for the doctor who laughed at my next pun when he was inserting a tiny metallic device in my breast (“so we can come back to the exact spot if needed,” he explained).
“Statistically…. 9 out of 10 injections are in vein,” I responded, still wondering about the source of these ridiculous puns.
No matter. We three made a team, and when the doctor and Rose were finished, they wished me positive results, ie, negative for cancer.
And you know what? A week ago, I got the best news. Benign.