Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Well Woman

"What drugs you take?"
"What drugs. You take."
I am being cross-examined by the Kaiser nursing assistant who somehow skipped the role-play class where you learn to be empathetic to your client's need for privacy and tact.
“Yes.” I allow myself a little defiance, despite the “JESUS LOVES ME” in chunky letters around her neck.
“One drink a day,” she concludes and makes a note. How did she arrive at that? Is it because my hands are not shaking and my lipstick smudged? For all she knows, I’m hiding empty bottles down the back of the sofa.
"Er, female?"
"No. You have sex?"
"Every now and then."
No, sheep and pigs, is what I want to say, but I don't think my humor will translate well into Armenian.
"You put on gown, opening to the front." With that she disappears and I am left to wonder how to fasten the gown without strangling myself or cross-hatching my breasts whilst doing nothing to cover them.

The well-woman check-up is something I dread. It's not the physical discomfort (although I'm not a fan of the part when they sandwich your breast between two waffle irons), but the loss of dignity. And no one knows how to do that better than Kaiser.

"Next!" It's time for my mammogram. Holding the sides of my gown across my chest, I walk jauntily into the room. Got to put on a brave front, so to speak. The technician looks at my chest from under lowered brows, then without a word snaps the current plastic tray out of the machine to replace it with something that looks like it was made to hold earrings. Okay, I know I'm not well-endowed, but no need to make a big production out of it.

Back in the waiting room, I bond with the other señoras clutching gowns. "Ella esta muy mala," glares one of them at the technician who has just emerged from the room. The technician glares back. I leave as the señora is ushered away, grateful that I will be spared her screams.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way when they're checking me for a hernia.