10.20.2014

and the tears came



i had my yearly mammogram appointment today and cried an hour later. as far as i know, everything is fine, but when i questioned the technician about the number of films she took, as in not enough, she said she had everything she needed. thirty minutes later i get a call and it was her. she said, "i'm sorry i misunderstood you. i didn't get one of the shots that i was supposed to take. can you come back in?" by that point i was across town doing errands and emotionally her call hit me like a brick. i wanted to scream "you jerk" into the phone, "what do you mean you misunderstood me when i questioned how many pictures you took and you said you had everything you needed" and then i wanted to throw my phone on the floor and stomp on it. 


i know the routine. i know how to count. i knew she hadn't taken the same number of films on each breast, yet she said "we're all good here" and opened the door for me. i walked away, breathing a sigh of relief that my mammogram was over. slipping back into my shirt and bra and smelling my armpits void of deodorant, wondering if i should use one of their little deodorant pads, but assuming the perfumed smell would kill me and that my body odor was a better option, i still wasn't sure she knew what she was talking about.

i'm not sure why my yearly mammogram "gets to me" the way it does. but it does. maybe it's because i grew up with a grandmother who had had breast cancer and a mastectomy or maybe it's because the words "breast cancer" unfortunately seem to be so terribly common. anyhow, it doesn't really matter why it affects me the way it does, it just does. 

incompetence affects me, too.

i know i should give her the benefit of the doubt. that i should be understanding. that i should maybe  believe that she has something going on in her life that was distracting her. BUT, i'm sorry. it was my fifteen minute appointment and a pretty damn important one and she should have been focused on what she was doing AND she should have listened to me when i questioned her. in the end,  did my tears gain me anything? absolutely not. but they came anyway. and i let them.

now i wait. and pray...that this year like every year, the phone doesn't ring and that the letter containing the  words  "your mammogram was good" arrives in my mailbox by the end of the week.


10 comments:

  1. There are so many ways that the medical system needs to improve! To see patients a people, with emotions, with fears, and with some reactions that don't fit into the routine and procedures that the technicians or the office think are so important! I get your frustration honey! All is well. You will get that all good letter soon.
    Hugs!

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  2. Every single test I have to take, even yearly screenings like mammograms, get to me. It is what it is, and we never know what, when or if something will hit us.. like a ton of bricks. My mother had breast cancer so I know the terror you feel. I also understand your fury at the tech getting it wrong. My only other though on this is.. they are human. Even though their job involves their patients being on their last nerve because of the nature of the testing, they are still flawed, fragile, imperfect humans like us. and as you said.. you never know what they're dealing with outside the square you see them in. Wishing you relief and a clean mammogram this year and for the next 40.

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  3. These tests are hard for most women. It's good that you honour your feelings, even your anger, even while knowing that the technician is a real person with a real life which may be struggling right now. I'm sure your tears benefited you more than you know.

    Enjoy opening that letter when it comes :-)

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  4. I do so understand, and I am sure many other women do also.
    A simple test, but at least for me a very emotional one.

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  5. You make me cry, you make me laugh, even through the tears! :) I've only been reading your blog for a couple of years, I don't really know you, but I love you! Someday I'm going to do a binge reading - got back and see if I can read through all of the posts I've missed! Hugs to you!

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  6. I'll say this, it's totally understandable, the worry, the tears and the frustration you feel at the incompetence. Good thoughts coming your way Beth.

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  7. I would have felt the same way. It's her job and she should have been paying more attention than you were. This year I had one who actually took some extras - I can't remember why, but I remember feeling grateful she was so nit-picky!

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  8. Beth, I understand and I have the same feelings -- probably for some of the same reasons. Certainly the loss of a parent and aunt with breast cancer feeds my anxiety. And yes, you were right and she was wrong. But the going back was the easy part. The hard part is the waiting. Sending good vibes and lots of prayers your way for an all-clear! (And congratulations on the Artful Blogging! I'll look for it!)

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  9. i had my first one this year and was a nervous wreck...i understand. sending strength, beth

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  10. You word the emotions wrapped around a mammogram so well.
    And yes, incompetence! I would have let her know how angry I was.
    Hope you get the good word. Really isn't there a better way than
    the crushing blow of that machine?

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