Saturday, April 7, 2007

Good News and Bad News

Which do you want first: good news or bad news? Good news is better, so I'll start with that, but you can read this entry from the bottom up if you prefer the opposite, right? That's me: accommodating readers since 2002! (That's actually when I started writing online, although at a now-defunct place.)

The good news: I had an appointment Monday for a mammogram, which I look forward to with all the anticipation of Christmas Eve. I think the worst part is not being able to wear deodorant, powder, or perfume; I feel so unclean without all my girly stuff. I kept hoping I wasn't giving off visible stink rays in the waiting room, although an elderly woman kept eying me suspiciously. Actually, the whole experience is one assault on my dignity after another, I suppose. After I'd changed into the spiffy front-closing gown and walked into the x-ray room, the technician asked me to open my gown and show her my boobs so that she could see whether she needed a different size film plate. There's no graceful way to flash a complete stranger, you know? The request threw me a little because no one's asked me to do that when I've had mammograms previously, and I almost asked her if she planned to toss some beads at me. I restrained myself and opened my gown obediently, but I did turn beet-red when she said hurriedly, "Oh, yeah, I'd better change plates!"

The second worst part is the Positioning of the Breast on the x-ray plate. You'd think after enduring 30 years of pelvic exams; going through labor and childbirth at a teaching hospital, with my lady business on display for every doctor, nurse, intern, and janitor in a 50-mile radius; and breastfeeding in front of a variety of lactation consultants, I'd have not one shred of modesty left, but clearly I do when a strange woman is hauling my boob around like a sack of oranges. I noticed that after the technician pressed the button to take the picture, the plates separated automatically to release my breast from the death grip. What a cool feature, I thought, and said so to the technician. "Oh, I know!" she exclaimed. "Can you imagine if it didn't? What if I fell over in a dead faint after taking the picture? You'd be trapped there!" We stared at each other for a minute, with that image crystalizing, and then burst out laughing. That's the funniest mental picture I've had in a while, and we both kept giggling and snorting while she finished x-raying my other breast.

The results came in the mail yesterday, and I opened the letter to find this sentence at the top in bold print: We are very happy to inform you that no evidence of cancer was found in your mammogram. Isn't that sweet? They're very happy--and so am I.


And now for the bad news: My cat Picard is gone. I noticed last Monday that I hadn't seen him all day, but I was on my way to the hospital for my appointment and worrying about visible stink rays and all. Later that evening, both Kevin and Daniel said they hadn't seen him all day, either. We searched the house, looking under beds, in closets, and all his favorite hiding places. Kevin took a flashlight down to the basement and poked around in the crawlspace, where Picard likes to prowl around sometimes. No portly black-and-white cat anywhere, though.

The few times Picard has gotten outside in the past, he's always stayed nearby. Once he climbed the neighbor's tree and had to be coaxed down, and another time he ran up on the roof, and Kevin had to climb up there and carry him down. So we checked likely places outside, but no sign of him. I put up a few flyers, but no one called. It's been almost a week, and I've about lost hope. He's such a sweet, friendly cat that I'm hoping he's wormed his way into a new family's affections. I keep thinking I see him parading by out of the corner of my eye, with that cowlick he always had near his tail sticking up. It always reminded me of a scruffy little boy. Or I imagine I hear the floor-jarring thud as he jumps down from the windowsill, where he liked to gaze hungrily out the window at birds. Every time I walk into my bedroom, I expect to see him curled up on the corner of the bed. I miss you, big guy. If you come back, I promise you daily catnip for life.