Sunday, July 11, 2010

Medical Pitfalls of Age

I recognize that part of my journey here is growing old. I'm even okay (not thrilled, but okay) with the changes taking place in my body - boobs with no oomph, wrinkles upon wrinkles and a new daily addition of gray hairs. However I'm not okay with the necessary medical procedures that comes along with age.

When a person turns 50 the age appropriate birthday gift is a colonoscopy. However, since I don't like Doctors, hospitals, needles or adhesive, and let's not forget my fear of finding out there is something wrong, I chose at 50 to disregard the AMA's suggestion. Also I like denial; often living my life by "WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW WON'T HURT YOU". That being said I put it off -4 years to be exact- until Jo Lynn my friend and business partner who is dutiful when it comes to all exams, yearly and age appropriate, made herself an appointment. Acknowledging I was overdue I set an appointment to get it done. So last November I allowed my butt to be violated by a camera.

For the record the procedure was a breeze. You are sent into lala land and you are none the wiser. It is the preparation that is the real pain in the butt. You are given a list of things you must do the week prior. However it is the day before when it really begins to suck. There is no chewing allowed so food is off the table. Clear liquids only. For dinner you are blessed to dine on 32 oz of a thick flavored laxative drink. (Lemon lime will never be the same.) At 5:00pm you begin drinking this $%#* 8 ounces at a time, with an 8 ounce water chaser. This ordeal is to be completed within two hours. Exhausted you go to bed praying you don't mess the bed. Up at four to drink the breakfast of champions; 32 more ounces of flavored laxative, with water chasers. As you come down the home stretch your gag reflex begins to kick in and you are trying to decide which end really needs the toilet.

The only good thing about the ordeal was when the Dr. told me he'd see me in ten years. I replied, "Sure." While thinking, "Not!"

Another on the list of procedures is the mammogram. This is to begin at 40 with a yearly exam there after. However this also falls under the "WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW WON'T HURT YOU" banner. It wasn't until I was in my late forties that I agreed to have my boobs flattened. Yes, I mean flattened, and that is hard to do with the melons I carry around.

This year's mammogram may have been the worst ever. After removing my clothes from the waist up and donning a gown I was lead into "the room". The "I Love My Job" Technician instructed me to drop my gown off of the right side. Reluctantly off my shoulder it fell. She then placed my breast on the plate of this menacing machine, then she raised the machine forcing me on my tippy toes while pulling and stretching my breast even further over the machine's plate. Next comes the dreaded lid. It was lowered to flatten the breast, forcing the tissue to sprawl over the lower plate. Once it was tight and there was no way in hell for me to get loose she showed me just how much she loved her job by clamping it even tighter. She was bound and determined to flattened my breast tissue as thin as a Kleenex tissue. At this point I can't breathe, it seems like an eternity and finally my breast is released. But not for long. Now comes the vertical smash. Yes my breast is gong to go through this again, only sideways. I was laughing to myself thinking, I hope this will help to return my boob back the way it was before I stepped into this sadistic machine. However my laughter was short lived as my breathing stopped due to excruciating pain. Sweet relief came not a moment too soon as my toes were beginning to give out.

My eyes began to well when I heard her say, "Please drop your gown off the left shoulder."