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End of year tune-ups: from motor to mammogram.

Posted in Aging, Health, and Women's issues

How I felt

I took my car in for its service the other day. Turns out I was 5000 miles over the due date (seems I had misunderstood the word annual in the guarantee) and the front brakes needed replacing (on a 3 year old car). So the free service cost me over $500. That’ll teach me not to read the small print.

This week I’ve been for tune-ups all round. Crack of dawn visits to the Radiology dept for the yearly compression of my small boobies into slabs of ham, the oral hygienist for a pick and scratch and the dentist for the final appointment in an epic root canal/crown rebuild. I rounded out these sips of joy with my absolute favourite: the Gynaecologist – who cheerfully spent 20 minutes hunting for my ‘shy cervix’ while I obliged with pornographic yoga poses.Which he felt would help with ‘uterus presentation’.

As he beavered away (hah) , he chirruped: “You’ll only feel a little discomfort”, “A tiny scratch now”, “Won’t be long”, “You’ll only feel a little pinch” ….. all immediate contenders for ‘understatement of the year’. Once we’d got that right, Happy Doc waved an internal probe at me: “Just a little pressure, so breathe out for as long as you can.” That didn’t fit properly either, so my exhalation lasted 10 minutes.

I walked funny all the way back to radiology. Swinging one leg out sideways like a Rodeo Clown. Trying to ease the “wee bit of discomfort” in my lala.

The Machine

When I got there I found my mom ensconced in her robe. That’s how we Wildish women do things – no frilly spa days for us, we combine practicality with quality time. The mother/daughter mammo-date. We went our separate ways – her to the big machine, me for a gloopy wand and a double check ultrasound. We met up again in the waiting room., where we paged through Hello Magazine and discussed Rod Stewart’s love life. Our Technician appeared, chipper and beaming – “you and your mom are both fine” she announced, “No evidence of any irregularities.” Which was nice to know, there’s always that tiny frisson of dread.

As I drove my cancer-free self home, my cellphone kept pinging … the credit card medical payments hitting my bank. SA has so much corruption, our financial institutions operate like anxious parents: desperately trying to locate a past curfew teenager, out on her first date with a serial killer she met at krav maga. We’re alerted every time there is some fiscal action against our account. I did a quick calculation and discovered that the past few days cost more than I earned this month.

Instant joy kill. I was glum as I drove home.

6a00d83451ac6369e20133f59b0b28970b-600wiI needed some meds for the cold I’d woken up with, so I parked up at our local Spar shop. A grimy man slid over as soon as I got out, and launched into the usual long story about a dead parent, a child with TB, the wife needing burial … and I stopped him. “Just tell me what you want, ok? I’m tired and I’ve got a cold. So no crap?” He steadied himself on my shoulder, breathed last night all over me and said: “Listen lady, what I want is a moeeersa house and a lekker car and a fris white cherrie like you. Not going to happen, izzit? But if you got twenty rand, I’ll let you buy me a drink. That will cheer you up.”

So I did. And, you know, he was right. Happy Thanksgiving.

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  1. Wonderful Wild Web post! Love that you and your mom go together-my mom and I agree that the whole process is rather like smashing the ‘girls’ under a garage door while laying on the cold concrete. Bravo to you both for doing it together. As for the twenty rand…when you least expect it, those puppies tend to show up when you need them the most, in the pocket of coat or trousers, stuck in between the cushions of the sofa. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that an unexpected windfall is in your immediate future. 🙂

    December 7, 2014
  2. OMG – the Shy Cervix! I love it…male gynaecologists come up with some wonderful stuff: ‘oh your cervix is facing backwards/sideways/upside down etc’ c’mon guys you’re supposed to be experts and should have seen every possibility before, don’t give us ladies a hard time. Also, could I just say that if men had their bits squashed between two plates whilst pressed up against a torture machine as someone took a ‘testicle-ogram’ they would be much more sympathetic about designing such equipment and also not dismiss the procedure as an easy and ‘painless’ examination.

    November 29, 2014

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