Monday, January 31, 2011


I'm not really sure why I feel compelled to share stories of my bosom and the myriad insults and indignities it has endured. Perhaps this topic choice has to do with a date I went on recently. Hmm. Something to ponder.


Oh, stop it. We've all had a date who reminded us of a mammography machine. I'll tell you about it later.

No, later.

Moving on.

After the Rob-ectomy was performed [and sadly, no breast lift was done at the same time] I went about my business. It wasn't terribly exciting, just the usual blah blah blah of life and work; I just wasn't encouraged to play tennis for a bit. Not that I play tennis. I'm just saying. Everything was fine until a few days after the procedure. There was redness. And a bit of heat. And, well.... There was a bit of swelling. No, not the fun kind. Just on the one side. Yes, I was listing to starboard.

I'm sure you know, dearest invisibility, that this is a classic billboard for post-operative infection. I wasn't worried about it. Of course, I also wasn't too worried when Robbie could have been malignant, so maybe we shouldn't place to much weight on my level of concern. But I knew such a situation was relatively commonplace and in this day and age, an easy fix. I called the surgeon's office and learned that I could be seen by a surgical PA [physician's assistant] who just happened to be in my building's walk-in clinic for the day.

Now, I'm sure you also know that when a woman is...listing, the medical provider must examine...the whole darn prow. It's not enough to peek at one boob to determine if swelling has commenced. You gotta check out the whole rack. For propriety's sake, the PA, whose name is John, had with him a medical assistant, whose name is Rochelle. Rochelle is also a dear friend of mine. We had the exam. Antibiotics were prescribed. I was given privacy to redress myself. All very ho-hum stuff. Then I left the exam room and stopped to chat with Rochelle, and this is where it got entertaining.

Rochelle told me that she didn't think I had caught it, but after leaving the exam room with the PA, she'd said to him, in what I can only assume was a gentle and loving fashion, "John. When you're performing an exam on a woman and she's naked to the waist, don't start the conversation with, 'Well, I'm not impressed.'"

My dear friend was correct, I hadn't caught it. And even through my shrieks of laughter, I knew what John meant. Plus, I work in the same health care system, so we weren't too worried about my feelings being hurt. After regaining enough control to share this delicious kernel of silliness with four other coworkers and another physician, PA John came out of the office area to face the roars of laughter. He was a wee bit pink in the cheeks, but was a good sport about it.

A few days later, I had the follow-up exam with the surgeon. Unable to resist sharing, I told her what John had said. Let us remember, this is the surgeon who, when I brought her chocolate cupcakes, laughed delightedly upon hearing, "You're about to cut into my breast. I want you to like me." After the punchline, I can only imagine what people in the hallway outside my exam room thought. When she walked me down the hall, we ran into John, who had just finished up with another patient. My surgeon grinned and said, "Yeah, I looked at her, too, John. I wasn't impressed, either."

You have to love a good sport. On my birthday card, PA John signed his name beneath the words:

Happy Birthday, Lisa Marie. And I'm still not impressed.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Now, when I say obvious....

Yesterday, while working in another lab, I noticed that there were two urinalyses ordered on the same patient.

"Why are there two UAs ordered on Jane Doe?" I asked indignantly, almost as if it were a personal affront.

"Uh..." James the float answered. "Are they both from today?"

"I think so. One's a stat order." I snorted derisively. "As if they're going to get the results that much faster."

"Well." James paused, thinking hard. He may have scratched his head; I was looking the other direction. "It's probably a duplicate order."




Ungh. Sigh.

"Yes, dear. I think I figured that one out on my own."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I know, I know...

I'm a terrible blogger. Disappearing for weeks at a time. Yes, of course. Get the stick. I accept the beating as well-deserved.

No, I will not wear the little outfit! Sheesh!!


I'm toying with the idea of doing what my dear friend Karina did, and that's a 30-day blog challenge. A blog a day for thirty days. I could do that, right? Right?

Oh, shut up.

If I did do such a thing, despite lack of support and encouragement from certain unnamed people, it would coincide nicely with another writing goal I have for my current work-in-progress. Wouldn't that be marvelous?

The downside that has planted itself firmly in front of me, and is glaring at me with its arms folded across its skinny chest, is that some of the blogs that will get published might be a bit...unfiltered, shall we say. I cannot tell you the number of times I have typed up a blog, saved it, walked away from it and discovered upon my return that some maniac was obviously typing away. Yes, some of these trains of thought have slipped through the filters and crashed into all of our computers with such a vengeance that tiny little disaster teams in itty-bitty hazmat suits were called in. At this point, however, there's really nothing to be done about this tragedy of a trainwreck except call the local news station.

Oh, what the heck. What are they going to do if this sucks, take away my birthday? Pfft! And we won't call it a blog challenge. We'll call it...a nice chat. Yes, we will. Yes, we will! Because I said so.

All right, then. Let's chat about...mammograms!

As I have mentioned before, my very first mammogram didn't have the results I might have expected. I expected my usual round of boring information, "Everything's fine, nothing unusual, see you next year." This did not occur.

I had my very first mammogram after doing the 3-Day Walk for breast cancer. I mean, jeeze, who wouldn't, after that? Plus, I was 41. It was time. So I went in and experienced my first boob squish. Ooo, such fun! Hard plastic plates squeezing my grumpy boobs into pancakes. Yay!!!

What's that? Oh, the grumpy comment. I always feel my girls look depressed. I do. I say to them, "Would you perk up, already? People are talking to you!" But there they stay, stubbornly and morosely staring at the ground.

What to do?

Anyway, after that initial squish, I got the call from the breast center at the local hospital. Everything was fine, they said. There was no reason to worry. But, gosh, they just wanted me to come in again and be resquished to be absolutely positive that everything was fine and there was no reason to worry. My thought upon hearing this?

"Oh, my God. If I have breast cancer, I'm going to have to do that f__ing 3-Day Walk again!!!"

Yes, this was my primary concern.

So I had another squish. And I had an ultrasound immediately afterward, with an ultrasound tech who had evidently been trained never, never, NEVER to use the word "mass" to a patient. Bless her heart.

US tech: [remarkably cheerful tone] Okay, let's just take a quick look at this doohickey!
Me: [struggling not to snicker] All right.
US tech: [after a period of quiet, but still, REMARKABLY cheerful] And now we're going to Dr Whatshisface take a look at the doohickey!
Me: [remembering to respect this woman's adherence to training] Uh huh.

So the radiologist came in, a man who did not include the word "doohickey" in his conversation. He was mildly disappointed that my mass was not a cyst and would in fact require a needle biopsy. I think he was also a bit surprised that I said those words, "needle biopsy," before he could.

Before we go further, let me say, I am delighted, nay, thrilled that numbing medication was injected before the needle biopsy occurred. I would hated to have that procedure performed without it. But....YOWZA. Ow ow ow ow OW!

Now, as we all know, my mass [yes, I can call it that] was not cancer, was in fact a myofibroblastoma. I called it Slacker Tumor, because unlike cancer, it had no real goals. In the cancer family, this is the adult child who won't get off the couch, get a job and move out. My coworker named it Robbie after her worthless ex-son-in-law.

I did have to have a complete Rob-ectomy, which was super fun. After the surgeon felt me up and couldn't locate Robbie by touch, she instructed me to go back to the breast center before the surgery, have the folks there jam a wire into Robbie, then drive to the surgery center and yank him out.

All technical terms. Feel free to write them down.

So today, when I was bopping around the radiology department and happened to mention to Liz, the WonderTech, that I needed to see her for my four-months-later yearly squish, I felt a little flutter. After all, in my mind, mammogram = several squishes + ouchy bits + Rob-ectomy.

I have a skewed frame of reference.

Strange. You don't look surprised.