The Farmer and I are on vacation. I would never want to leave you without something to read and therefore I'm offering you Stale Stories in my absense.
This is a story entitled "You've Got a Mammogram". It originally published on April 30, 2008.
I was mortified yesterday when I checked into the Center for Breast Health at the local hospital. The receptionist had me fill out some forms while she pulled up my records. Honestly, for the sake of my dignity I'm not going to share with you how many years have past since my last mammogram.
You know this is very dangerous behavior and certainly not an example I wish to set for my own daughter. It's more dangerous than riding Harley's and I gave that up years ago.
I could rationalize it and say that I've been occupied with other health issues but that's stupid. You're never too busy or too pre-occupied to do the basics of healthcare.
Previously the tests were done in the hospital's radiology department, but in the intervening years they've built a new office building which houses the Center for Breast Health. All I can say is WOW.
This was a literal Breast Health Spa. You need to understand that we live 9 miles from anything and 9 miles from everything. What that means is our small, rural communities are being overrun by advancing development. It's not just development but very, very affluent development. There is a definite culture differential which is demonstrated by this Breast Health Center.
I've been accused many times of having just fallen off the turnip truck. Heck, it happened just the other day when I went into Chicago. Even though I live in a simpler culture I've spent some time in five-star hotels and this breast health center rivaled anything they might offer.
If you live close to "the other half", you'll get a peek into their world. Let's just say my daughter-the-commercial-interior-designer would be flipping out over the fact that they've used all the high-end designer materials that she loves. There were amazing glass doors and windows. I've never seen anything like them. The front desk was beautiful and they had big bowls of Hershey's kisses. The main waiting area had a hospitality bar with bottled water, coffee, tea and snacks. There was a wireless computer available for use.
When it's time for your mammogram you're ushered back to another waiting room which is identically stocked with food and drink. The technician opens the door to the changing room and .....what's this???? Taffeta hospital gowns...in four sizes!! Taffeta! I had a taffeta ball gown once but I never dreamed of having a taffeta hospital gown. And they had these packets in the dressing room:
I tucked a couple into my purse because you never know when you might need one. It probably wasn't a good idea though because the label clearly states they're for "Professional and Hospital Use Only."
A problem quickly arose when I realized that there were men and family members in the waiting room. What I didn't understand (since I haven't been here in many years) was that they have a new program. There's a radiologist on site everyday and he reads the reports as quickly as they're produced and you receive the results before you leave the center. Oh my. They do the mammogram and if needed they do the ultrasound and if needed they do the biopsy. Do you know where I'm going with this? These women have brought their family members to support them in case it's bad news.
I didn't know about this program and now I'm sitting here alone, getting a little scared because my doctor felt something...not alarming, but something that needed to be addressed. What could I do? I had my cell phone. If things went badly I could call someone.
I turned these thoughts over and over in my mind. Would I want my husband, daughter or son there "in real time"? I don't know. Bad news would affect them also, and I'd find myself comforting them too. Wouldn't it be better to have some time to process the information and then share?
This visit raised an awful lot of questions for me. Luckily my tests were fine and I didn't actually have to face them head on. But I'll be thinking about this, just in the case the day arrives that throws me headlong into these issues.
Please .... ride a Harley, don't skip your mammogram!