April 18, 2007
I know, I know, it's sad. But what's even sadder is the fact that I'm 42 and the grind of medical testing has now begun. I just got back from an MRI and an X-ray. I know it's been said before, but MRIs are disturbing. That was my first and last one and um I don't like being even halfway inside a giant, narrow, horrible, deafening tube while laying perfectly still and listening to beyond obnoxious "music" on public headphones. I would swear that one of the singers was screaming "GET OUT" at alternating intervals with a tribal war drum pattern accompaniment. Am I supposed to relax and remain still or contract into a fetal position and scream for my mommy? Sheesh, how about some Beethoven or Carousel or the Sesame Street soundtrack? I know the attendant isn't an applied music specialist, but is she a sadist? One good thing I could hold on to while trying to drone out my blaring discomfort with happy thoughts was that I wasn't home cleaning up puppy pee-pees. That's the good thing about MRIs - you could be somewhere else cleaning up animal defecation. (Sorry Ruby...you've been a virtual urine fountain lately and I'm tired and limping and my hands are bleeding from washing them so much. Things will look up soon. Or else.) Anyway, I think they should provide little videos of your face during the procedure after it's over. I'd like to see what I looked like.
So why the Birkenstocks...or, better, Birks & socks? Well, I was at the podiatrist a few weeks ago and she told me I have bunions on all four places, big toes and little toes and I need orthotics. My insurance company chuckled. So instead, I bought these really ugly shoes. They let my toes wiggle and my bunions do whatever bunions do. I've had them before, in an especially hippy period, and then snapped out of it and decided that I didn't really want to dress that hippy (read: ugly.). Cotton embroidered tunics from India...groovy jewelry...Jesus sandals, yes. Birkies, no, not necessary. Well, as it turns out the old adage age before beauty is not just an insult, but also a good motto as life goes on. And Birkies win by a toenail! To my surprise and utter delight, Birkenstock sandals are not only making my bunions happy (I'm guessing here, I really don't have much communication with them beyond the occasional bemoaning, "Oh my feet really are ugly") they are also enabling me to walk almost normal right now despite this festering knee. Wearing sneakers or loafers4pain and limping, burning and swelling. Wearing Birkenstocks4very manageable discomfort and the ability to chase a puppy that is bounding off with my long winter coat between her needle-sharp teeth. They must align the foot and leg in a beneficial position, so hear it now: Birkenstocks - good. But let it be known: Birkenstocks with socks - bad. This morning I added the socks because it was very chilly when I left for my MRI and I wasn't planning on running into any old boyfriends or prom queens from my past.
Medical tests are fun. No need to go into the boring colonoscopy back in July, but...(gosh, there's all kindsa puns in that one!) The last eye test I had my doctor took a look at my prescription and mused melodically, "Do I hear 'lasik'?" So I got tested and though initially the examiner chimed, "Oooo! The perfect candidate! Blind, but not too blind!" my corneas were too thin for the cut they'd have to make. So it turns out I am in fact too blind for lasik surgery. Perhaps my tragic near-sightedness will stave off the far-sightedness of old age? I got a blood test last week for thyroid and sugar and cholesterol and today my left arm is black and yellow and greenish. As the nurse took the needle out, she absentmindedly pulled it to the side about one third of an inch. I think if we patients promise to be very pleasant, still pin cushions the nurses should promise to be ... careful? Do no harm, maybe?
Okay, so MRI...eye test...colonscopy...podiatrist...blood test...gynocologist...Now that's a good story! I love the midwife who delivered my first child, so I continue to see her for checkups. This time I had good timing. She had just returned from Africa and had pictures for me to view on her computer after our visit. (Coincidentally, she mentioned her camera and something about pictures at the exact time I was "taking the position" and she very nearly became my formerly loved midwife real quick.) In Africa, she took as many pictures of mommies and their babies as she could, people and animals. Elephants, lions, baboons, zebras and giraffes - even hippopotami-uses. (The late Mitch Hedburg once asked, "Is it 'hippopotamus' or 'real cool opotamus'?") The pictures were amazing, the stories were heart-warming and thrilling and she plans to go back and help out the midwife of the village she was visiting someday. The same hands that brought my Seth into the world might someday bring a Kenyan baby boy into the world. Brings a smile, doesn't it? Now, how often do you get to go on a virtual safari after your pap-smear? That was a gift.
Alright, so 1 mammogram and 1 knee surgery remaining and I should be good to go by this summer! Go where, I don't know. Onward into old-er age and further testing, I guess. Hopefully there will be no good blog-fodder from these future appointments, but one never knows. You take one small waiting room, a bunch of women wearing cotton smocks and carrying all of their belongings in identical plastic bags while trying to appear smug and nonchalant behind their magazines and you just gotta know something doubly entertaining could happen at any moment.