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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Breasts and Other Hazards


It's been one of those weeks.... you know the type.  Where you take your car in to get the brakes replaced only to find you waited too long and now you need brakes, pads and calipers for $1,024 and change.  My mechanic, who is also our neighbor sounded remorseful when telling me the news.  I wanted to joke, "Don't worry.  I once owned a BMW and that's how much an oil change cost on it."  Instead I unsuccessfully consoled him and asked if he could still finish the job today even with this added development, he could.  

On Wednesday, as I pulled out of Dunkin' Donuts, my phone rang and I immediately recognized the number as Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital.  For one, they have a very recognizable number and we've been phoning one another since 2015 when my breasts first proved themselves to be a menace and the right one went in for day surgery that year to have a benign lump removed.  I answered the phone and learned that, not surprisingly, they wanted me to come back in to have the left one looked at more closely.  

"Left?!"  I questioned, surprised.  The right one now has scar tissue intermingled with the dense tissue that almost always warrants a second, closer look.

"Left." The woman confirmed.

So off we go to Beth Israel tomorrow.  The doctor who read my mammogram felt I could, "... benefit from a contrast mammogram and an ultrasound."  After that, I'll reunite with the Nurse Practitioner at my breast surgeon's office.  Beth Israel is a teaching hospital, which is something I appreciate about it.  I'm also able to see the humor in what's often humorless, like the time a young, female med student awkwardly maneuvered my breast for a mammogram under the watchful eye of an aged doctor who'd probably seen more boobs in his lifetime than Hugh Hefner.  He seemed bored by the whole thing, I was too, and then he pointed out what a shitty picture the student had taken.  More awkward maneuvering commenced while her fair face reddened and she seemed apologetic while resisting what I am guessing must have been an impulse to flee the room and apply for a job in the hospital gift shop.  Several weeks ago, during our weekend in NYC, our hotel was next to The Museum of Sex - - which we read was not worth the price of admission.  But I didn't pass up the opportunity to go to the gift shop, mainly to horrify and embarrass Andrea.  I bought this stress boob.  They sold brown ones as well (equal opportunity) and frankly, I should have gotten one of each.  A mismatched set.   Anyway. I joked with Andrea that I should take my squeezy boob with me tomorrow.  I can squeeze it during my mammo drop it on the floor with a groan.  Imagine the look on the student's face?  It makes me laugh to even imagine this.  The green, temporary tattoo on my arm in the photo reads, "Investigate." as I'd gotten it at IDCon.  But now looking back, it strikes me as some sort of foreshadowing.  After all, here we are, investigating my breasts.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining - I'm not.  Whenever I feel whiny, I remind myself that I am very fortunate to have money in the bank to pay for brakes, pads AND calipers.  How blessed I am to live near some of the best healthcare in the U.S. and to have insurance.  It becomes a mantra, "I'm blessed and grateful."  And kinda annoyed to be honest - I can be all three.  I wish I was one of those people who didn't eat in times of stress, but I do.  I eat ice cream and try to hide in my house, hoping against hope I don't bloom into one of those really large people who gets their own reality show.

This week, an employee of my company unexpectedly died at age 51, leaving behind a wife and three children.  In the face of it, how can I be anything but blessed and grateful.


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