Wednesday, 21 March 2012

"And the magazines are in date..."

I received a call from the breast clinic to make an appointment for me to come in and have some tests. I was told by my line manager that in her case she was booked in for a whole day and as they proceeded with the tests you were eliminated along the way dependent on your results and when I say eliminated its not in a "shot 'em up' computer game sort of way but in a more gentle, "Get your top on your rack is fine" or "Plop your stack on here and see what's lurking in them there titties". Not that either phrases were used to me but I think you get the drift of what can happen.

So you can imagine my confusion when I was given an appointment for 3:00pm on a Monday afternoon. What happen to the whole day of tests? Why was I only being given a couple of hours? Had my doctor given his 'benign' opinion (I mean my lump being benign not his opinion!) and that it was all fine and didn't need a whole day to investigate or was it so bad that they could cut to the chase and do the 'big' test last. Again having no idea how any of this works all I could do was let my over active mind work overtime yet again. I had now moved on from the main roles in the made for TV tearjerker and had begun to cast supporting roles. I won't share this now as my friends may read this blog and I want them to stay my friends. I also don't want anyone to feel that have been miscast though I did have in mind Graham Norton, Joan Collins and Minty from EastEnders (don't know the actor's name but one of my friends bears an uncanny resemblance!) - to be starting with - though I will let my friends work out who in which role.

A lovely friend of mine took me to the appointment. I warned her about the series of tests and the elimination process before we got there so she could be prepared for a wait. I arrived at the clinic which was pretty quiet - I think me and maybe another couple of people (and I think a couple of them were from the WRVS cafe - the tabards should have given them away). Soon after arrival I was called in by a  nurse who I have to say seemed pretty cold and not very reassuring. I had it in mind that anyone who worked here would be incredibly warm and effusive because of the nature of the place (and as well because of my limited experience of these things I expected them to be a bit fluffy and pink and full of reassuring words and upbeat mantras like the people I had encountered on the Race for Lifes I had done - I know, I know - one is fundraising event and the other is a hospital - I have worked that out for myself since) because of the nature of the place but I suppose like any place you become immune to it all and frankly how warm and effusive can you be when you've been doing it for years and its the end of the day and you're sick to death of looking at another pair of tits!!! (unless of course you work in the world of adult entertainment then I suppose you'd be brimming with effusiveness and if indeed not warmness you'd expect warm hands!)

I tried to lighten the conversation by asking a series of rather inane questions but she wasn't having any of it and did her best to answer in as few words as possible if any at all. She told me to take my top off, lie on the coach and gave me some flimsy scratchy oversized kitchen roll in that lovely hospital blue colour to put over my breasts. She then went off I assumed to get the consultant but it could have been the hospital porter, tea lady, receptionist, car park attendant, passing stranger or all of them for the amount of information she imparted. Thankfully as this 'journey' sorry 'gap year' has progressed I find that a) I have only ever encountered her once since [thank god] and b) she is certainly the exception rather than the rule.

I lay on the coach in a state of flux. Part of me wanted the consultant to hurry rush in and give me the lowdown but the other part wanted this moment to last longer to suspend the inevitable so that I could just continue to be the pre-lump me - without a health worry in the world - and that all of this would just be silly little blip or should I say cyst that would go away and all would return to normal. The consultant came in to break my mind's meandering and introduced himself and started the examination. He quickly found the lump and confirmed this. He then asked me to get dressed and said he would return. Once dressed he came back and confirmed (again) that there was a lump (no surprises there then!) and that I would need to have a mammogram and followed by an ultrasound to confirm any findings. I had assumed this is what happened so no surprises there and expected to move to the next stage before hopeful elimination. But no the surprise was that I had to come back on Wednesday (2 days time). I was shocked as had psyched myself up for it all happening today and to have come back again just threw me. Also Wednesday was the day of the General Strike for all public sector employees over pensions of which I was intending to strike and go on a march in Brighton. I was also concerned about whether staff would be available but the receptionist reassured me that they had to be here to as it this is an essential services.

The appointment lasted no more than half an hour. I went back into the waiting room to find my lovely friend having a veritably wonderful time with a late lunch laid out in front of her and a stack of magazines. She was in mid mouthful looking like she could be happily enscounsed for the next few hours. She saw me and expectedly asked whether we were done. I said we were but that all he done was confirm there was a lump so really no further news but that I had to come back for more tests on Wednesday the day of the big strike - what rubbish timing. However hopefully I'd be done quickly in time for marching in the late morning.

She finished her lunch and gathered our things and as we left she said, "What I shame it couldn't be all sorted out today for you. I had hoped you'd be able to get an answer.". "So had I. I'd pinned so much on today and knowing more and all I know it was I already know. Still I'll know soon enough." We walked to the car. "I'm sorry it was so quick as you looked nicely sorted for the rest afternoon with your lunch and all those magazines." I said to my friend. "I know I thought you'd be awhile and can you believe it this never happens but all those fantastic magazines and they were all in date. When does that ever happen" One satisfied customer at least. Hopefully another to follow on Wednesday...

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