While I waited, a young lady in a yellow dress and an old man that looked like an ex-marine got behind me. I huffed to the young lady, my elbow on the counter “I've been waiting here a while,” She nodded to something behind me, toward the receptionist; the big glass window had slid open without even a hiss and I was being glared at. Oh crap...
I leaned on the counter to get closer. I whispered, as if in a library, “Umm... Hello. I have a 9:15 appointment,”
The receptionist skipped hello and went right to the questions . She asked for my name; her voice seemed to echo – “What is your name? – name? – name?
I coughed quietly into my fist then said my name, she repeated it, and it also echoed off the walls. Holy cow lady, turn down the volume. We went through all my information in that same format: Loud question followed by a whispered answer followed by a loud repeat. So much for privacy. I wondered if she was always this loud or just perturbed at me for complaining about the wait. Finally she said, “OK, we're done, you can have a seat, sir.”
“Thank you,” I said, turning around, DONE!
“Hold on! Hold on! One more question...”
I closed my eyes and winced, then, with dread, turned back around to the window like I had given her a counterfeit $50.
“What procedure are you here for today?” she asked.
The young lady had moved up to the window and was right beside me. I couldn't believe I had to answer. I chewed my lip and scratched my watch.
“You do know what you are here for, right?”
I nodded my head. She gave me a look that said WELL, WHAT IS IT?
Why can't a baby cry when you need it? I pushed the glasses up my nose and cleared my throat. I answered so low that even I could barely hear it.
“Excuse me?” she said.
I scratched my nose. “Umm...Mammogram.”
“OK, sir... The mammogram usually comes with an ultrasound, are you getting the ultrasound?”
I nodded my head. She called to an assistant in the back, “Mammogram and ultra-sound for Mr. Laughinghouse.” She turned back to me, “You can have a seat and the nurse will call you.”
I hoped, MAYBE, no one had heard, I turned, and everyone’s head went down in unison like they were in church. I just wanted to sit down but I didn't see an empty seat. A bead of sweat tickled as it ran from my arm-pit and down my side. Well, the awkwardness is over.
I thought the awkwardness was over until my name was called. I was led to a room and told to take my shirt off. The technician asked my symptoms, and then she grabbed my ample boob and placed it in a tray and mashed it with a clamp. It was not actually painful like I had heard it was. She did both breasts from different angles. I had not noticed how fat I had gotten – with a wonder bra and a full day of waxing, I could have been a Lane Bryant model.
I went down the hall for the ultrasound. The lady said, “Take your shirt off and lay down.”
She splashed some lotion on her hand and rubbed it all over my breast. That conjured up some ancient memories of a bygone era. I felt a tad awkward and looked the other way.
There on the wall was a giant pink ribbon, and around it were pictures of women that had bravely battled cancer and lost – there was one man also. Would my picture be there one day? It opened a box in my head that I had been trying to keep sealed. My hands shook as I fumbled to get my shirt on. The nurse told me I would receive a phone call the next day.
All that happened yesterday. Today I wait for the phone call. Sitting here, I realized that I had worn a pink ribbon a few times, and was supportive of the cause, but I had never actually donated. I went online and found a cancer cure site and made a donation, but now I feel a little guilty that I had to have the gun to my head before I did it.
And I'm still waiting for the call...