So … There I am, my right cheek squashed against a perspex screen, my torso twisted at an awkward angle to my hips, my calf muscles quivering from a balancing en pointe for so long.
“Can you just lean in a little more dear?” the radiographer asks the back of my head.
My lips are puckered up for a sideways smooch of the perspex, but I still manage to silently mouth, “Fuck off!”
If she hadn’t just manhandled my boobs, I might have been inclined to be more co-operative – I’m normally so anxious to please, but considering that she’s been bullying me to “Just drop your shoulder a little dear”, and “Keep your hips straight dear” and pretending that by repeatedly calling me “dear” it makes okay that she
(a) doesn’t know my name,
(b) just yanked on my boobs like a fifteen-year-old in the bushes outside the Rivonia Hall Friday night Under-16 Social, and
(c) is a Little Miss Bossypants playing a twisted game of Twister and making me feel like a spastic because I can’t contort my body into the right position for her to jam her finger on the red button and snackwich my boobs in her medieval machine once more, well … it’s screw you dear. I’m not just another clipboard, okay. And it took me a long time to supress that memory, dammit. And various other ones involving tongues and in one particularly horrible instance, braces, in the bushes outside Friday night Youth Group, all of which assaulted me from the depths of my unconscious as I stood there in your grotesque bosom buster.
Only a man could’ve designed the ol’ Mammo-Masher though, so my adolescent rant there might be somewhat misplaced. Never mind. And that old codger, whoever he is, is right now getting sodomised by the latexed finger of his prostate doctor, before being wheeled in to theatre for his colonoscopy. Because that’s how karma works.
But I digress. Following the indignity of the mammogram, I am then hustled into the next room for a sonar, and not just of the mammaries – I am also having a liver scan due to elevated levels of some enzyme that blood tests have exposed. The enzyme (and I use the term as though I know what an enzyme actually is) is normally associated with alcohol abuse. Normally, I said. I drink like a bloody girl scout. Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: “That’s what all the closet binge-drinking alchies say, sweetheart”. It’s clearly proof that Dr Burt is after too – so he can finally force me out of the DENIAL stage.
So next thing I am lying on a gurney slicked from my breasts to my abdomen in KY Jelly wondering if this much goo is really necessary or if I’ve been assigned the radiographer with a fetish. And how sick is that? I am slimier than Lolly Jackson, more slippery that JZ’s spokesman at an Nkandlagate press conference, slicker than … okay, I’m overworking the metaphors. But although I glance once or twice at the door, I resist the urge to just run for it, like Forest Gump, man, while actually yelling, “Run Forest, Run!” in a Southern drawl, because today is the day I grow up.
To go for a mammogram or a scan of any kind is to admit to the possibility that something could be wrong. Up until now, I had no need for the routine screenings that mortals ought to submit to. And then last week I found myself at a funeral of someone who unbeknown to her only months ago wouldn’t live to see her 41st birthday, wouldn’t live to see this spring, her three children grow up, herself grow old. I listened as her husband struggled to put into words what she’d given them, what she’s left behind in her kids, what he’d learned in the little time they had had since she learned she was going to die, I realised how much I do want to grow old. So there it is. It is at the end that we find out that we don’t only have one body – we are only a body. Book your boob snackwich – or your latex sodomising – today.
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/walkadog/3973957693/”>Beverly & Pack</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>