This week I was so good…had my annual well-woman exam, a mammogram, and made an appointment to have my lipids checked. I work in the administrative department of the local hospital and there’s an OB/Gyn clinic literally down the hall from me. (Thank God I only need the Gyn services of the clinic…I’d have to kill myself if I needed the OB side! But I digress.) In anticipation of leaving this job when the house sells, I thought I should take care of some of these pesky things while it’s still an easy and relatively painless process. The mammography clinic is downstairs, as is the lab, so the excuse of having to leave work to get to these appointments doesn’t apply. Nice that it’s so convenient.
When I saw the doctor for my appointment, she went through all the routine questions, and since this was my first visit with her, asked the date of my last exam. I had to admit it was five years ago, shortly before we left Colorado. I know, I know…but I feel fine, and it’s incredible how quickly the years can slip by. And I’ve meant to get it done; I’m sure that counts for something. So now, I’m back on the straight and narrow. She made me feel a little better about my negligence. Told me it has been eight years since her last exam, so right away, I was reassured. I’m not the only woman in America who let this little life chore slip. And I was happy to report to her that I actually take supplements…flax seed oil, and the occasional Vitamin D, and now and then a calcium. Of course, I didn’t volunteer the frequency of my habit. Still, I must be doing something right. I have all the parts I came with, except wisdom teeth, but that’s a different professional visit anyway.
After the exam, my doctor announced, in confident tones, that I would live forever, providing I schedule a mammogram immediately, and continue to follow my excellent program of diet and exercise. I do so go to the gym! No, I came clean with her. She gently encouraged me to get into a more regular exercise routine. Three times a year is simply not enough at my age. Any day now I may wake up and have major issues. So far my knees are doing fine, thank you, and I have energy to burn. But the big M is just around the corner, and I have to be vigilant about my health. No more taking it for granted. Next time I see her the questions won’t be about my choice of birth control, we’ll be talking about the latest style in hormone patches and whether I’m experiencing my own personal summer.
I promptly scheduled the mammogram, was able to get that pleasure out of the way the same day, thanks to my ability to be worked in at a moment’s notice. The trip downstairs was just enough time to soothe myself, saying repetitively, “It won’t be too bad. How bad can it be? And besides, the waiting room is so well decorated!” Made me feel right at home, me being a woman, and as everyone knows, women appreciate the small decorative touches that take your mind off clamps pressing you quite mercilessly. The gown they gave me to wear during the exam had been thoughtfully warmed. The techs were extremely polite and pleased to note that, in fact, I had been a bit more responsible with my mammogram exams, having the last one only three years ago. I almost got a star on my chart. But not quite. However, the scolding was more in the form of encouragement to never again let more than a year and a day pass between these tests. I’m at that age, you know. And really, they meant well.
After so much confrontation in the same day with my approaching infirmity, I couldn’t decide if I should celebrate the fact that I’m this old and doing as well as I am; or if I should go out with a bang and do something really meaningful to mark the end of life as I’ve known it. I’m going south (the Alaskan phrase for going down to the Lower 48) next week and have made a pact with myself to eat whatever I want for the whole week. I certainly won’t be exercising, and I’ll probably be living dangerously in other ways…staying up late, shopping extravagantly. Hope I can take all the excitement!
So if I can remember to skip breakfast on Monday (that fasting requirement) to have a blood draw to check my cholesterol levels, I’ll be set for a while. Of course, I still have to get the results of the tests I just had…but I’m going with the assessment that I’ll live forever…or anyway, long enough to wear out some essential part of myself…maybe a tummy tuck or brow lift will be life saving procedures I’ll need before long…have to stay on top of this stuff, you know.
Now if only my cream habit doesn’t show up in my blood work!