Careful readers will note that yesterday I had a mammogram. Or, really, slovenly readers will too, seeing as I just said it yesterday, there, genius.
I tried a new place this year because allegedly–according to their ads–they have same-day mammogram results, but of course only after I’d transferred my files, my D Files, did I learn they do NOT give same-day results in Greensboro.
Greensboro. The city that makes you wait. For results.
But it was really close to work, and very sunny and pretty in there, and once I got called in, each locker where you remove all waist-up clothes was named after a famous woman. I chose the Cher locker.
Two women were in gowns, waiting, as well. “I’m Cher! Who’re you all?”
“I’m Marilyn Monroe,” said a 90-year-old woman, who is probably younger than Marilyn Monroe would be now.
“I’m Elizabeth Taylor,” said another woman, not remotely draped in diamonds. Perhaps she was wearing her White Diamonds. By Coty.
Marilyn, Liz and I waited to be called while I tossed back my hair and showed my ass to servicemen.
The mammogram itself went without incident; I told the person performing it how anxious I am about the waiting thing, and she was very nice. Of course I searched her face for signs of pity when she took the photos.
“She was so young. -ish.”
On the way back to work, I heard from Ned. Goddammit.
He was crying so hard, I could barely understand him. “A vet is coming tonight to discuss putting [NedKitty] down. I found a place that will do it at home.”
I knew this day was coming, and I had plenty, plenty, of salty retorts about chippies and why doesn’t he call a chippie instead of me and also salty chips sound delicious right now. But once I was faced with the reality that NedKitty is finally giving up the fight, I was without salt. “If today’s the day, I’ll come over there,” I said.
I’m the only other person NedKitty loves. She pretty much looks grumpily out at everything in this world, a position in life I can get behind.
I was at work maybe an hour when my phone rang. See. This time between mammogram and letter/email saying all’s clear is my very worst time. The phone rings, I jump. Because the phone call is never good.
“This is Breast Buy calling, and we gave your test to the doctor right away because you’d said you were anxious, and he does see something and wants you to come back in.”
“Today,” I said. “Please get me in today. I’ll lose every moment of all my shit if I have to wait.” So they did, which is really nice, and all I had to do was wait TWO DAMN HOURS to go back and get an ultrasound.
I called Ned, who of course I’d already regaled the “I had a mammogram today” story to, because he knows how I get, and he knew I was trying out The New Place and so on. “Call me when you get the answer. I guess that’s one way to get your results today,” said Ned.
Then? I’m not fucking kidding you, everyone in the WORLD needed to speak with me. I had get-this-done-now work things pop up, and could people not DO THAT? You never know when someone is two hours from a horrifying test.
Then, I swear to you, I heard from a person I dated in Virginia, who’d had a job interview near here, and he wrote to tell me he didn’t get the job. I had to feign interest in anyone’s life but my own, which could be the title of my next book.
Plus also too, I heard from this place I freelance for, with a very detailed message needing to know very detailed info from me RIGHT NOW, and finally? Finally? I got a call from my gym–yes, I have a gym. I know, right? We’d had a dispute, because my membership was up. And even though I called THREE TIMES, offered to COME OVER THERE, to make sure when it officially expired that they’d stop charging me? And they’d said:
“Oh, no, we’re not charging you after October, ma’am. We mean it.” Finally, I got them to email me a document saying my last automatic withdrawal would be in October, and
GUESS WHAT HAPPENED IN NOVEMBER?
So they picked then, that horrifying two-hour window, to get in touch to tell me I was right and they were refunding my money and in my head I’m all HOOO CARE EVERYONE LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE I’M TRYING TO PANIC OH MY GOD.
Finally I drove back to the place, and when I got back up to the lobby,
there was Ned. He was reading a book in that sunny waiting room, which was, in fact, less sunny cause it had been morning and now it was panicky afternoon.
“Ned,” said, finally tearing up.
We sat there silently for a minute, Ned holding my cold clammy hand.
“What are you reading?”
“Oh, it’s nothing.”
“For fucks’s sake tell me about your book or I will beat you with it.” So he did.
It’s a book about Buddhism written by a scientist, which is perfect for Ned because he’s incapable of being remotely spiritual, but science? You throw science at him, and he’s down with that.
“So far, it’s saying that we’re biologically wired to seek pleasure,” said Ned, who never does anything but seek pleasure. And eat salads. Which seems contradictory, but there you go. “And they’ve found that it’s the anticipation of pleasure that’s usually better than the pleasure itself. I don’t know what happens next. I just hope they tell us how to stop doing that,” said Ned, and oh, so many salty things unsaid. The sequel to my third book.
I wish, when I came up with a fake blog name 11 years ago and why the fuck am I still blogging, what’s WRONG with me, that I’d come up with a name you could also mispronounce, so you’d feel my pain. My name, my real name, is forever being mispronounced, and if you know my real name, it does not end in “field.” No, go look at it again. NOT FIELD.
It’s not Jerry Seinfield. It’s not the Zigfield Follies. It’s not Marty Fieldman.
NOT ALL NAMES ARE PRONOUNCED “FIELD,” GODDAMMIT.
“Good luck, sweetheart,” said Ned, and is it possible to want to feel grateful to someone while still wanting to punch them clean in the face? Is there a word for that? I mean other than “dysfunctional.”
I got back to the lockers, and this time I was Princess Diana, which I was hoping was a good sign. I didn’t chat up the other waiters this time, as we were in the diagnostic area, not the hey, it’s our everyday mammogram hoooo care area.
I did, however, have the wherewithal to snap this selfie, in case I lived till today to tell you this tale. I call this Portrait of Petrified. I was hair-i-fied.
Not that that was such a clever name, but do you know what annoys me? Artists who title their work Self Portrait. Wow. Thanks for the effort, there, Snappy.
While I was begowned, waiting, I checked my phone.
“Did you Facebook unfriend me?” my stupid-ass friend Mark wanted to know. He has no idea how close he came to making me stomp my phone to death. I wrote him back, explaining that I’d disabled my Facebook for now, and then he wanted to chat, and that is why I paid a hit man to snap the face right off my now-faceless friend Mark.
I was tense. Yesterday was tense. (Entire contents of my fourth book, actually just an index card, written by a man, because I wore myself out with words.)
Finally, they brought me into a room with an ultrasound, and then the ultrasounder said, “I’ll show this to the doctor and be right back.”
Here was my view, while I waited for the woman or, worse, the doctor, to walk in. I did not check my phone, because I could only imagine the inanity awaiting me on that thing. Instead, I just listened to my heart beating in my ears.
The door opened.
“I bring you nothing but good news,” she said.
Oh, Jesus Christ and all the pleasure-seeking Buddhas.
Seriously, she spoke for 10 seconds before I even caught up with the “good news” part. I was so determined to steel myself against the bad news that good news wasn’t even an option.
In summation, I have a cyst. And we all need to remove our Dust Mite Allergy Awareness pins and slap on a MAMMOGRAMS FUCKING SUCK BUT IT’S A CYST pins.
I stayed a little late at work to make up for the work I missed while I lay dying over at the Hootie and the Blowfish concert. Then I drove right over to Ned’s, where a pink-haired vet was assessing NedKitty.
“Well, her eyes are still bright, and she trotted down the stairs to see me,” said the vet. “Truthfully, I thought she’d be worse.”
Ned had on the coffee table the litany of pills and powders and ointments he uses each day to keep that cat alive. The vet laid out a plan to keep NedKitty comfortable, and a big part of that plan is that Ned is to no longer force as many pills down her cat neck, and she doesn’t have to have that goddamn IV three times a week. The point is for her to feel happy and not sick till she’s ready to go.
Of course, we all know my feelings on the topic. I’d have offed that cat back in February. But it’s not my cat, so I kept quiet, and meandered into the kitchen, where NedKitty was crouched, hoping for a treat.
I gave her about 472 treats. And girlfriend scarfed them. So.
I did not take pictures of her old, bony self last night. She wouldn’t want you all to see her this way. Let’s remember her as the fluffy white bitch she usually was–which incidentally is the title of my biography, to be handed out at my funeral. Which, according to the fine folks who saw way too much of m’boobs yesterday, isn’t going to be any time soon.
While Doctor Pink Hair and my ex-boyfriend discussed NedKitty’s exit plan, I picked up her old bones and held her. She won’t let anyone, not even Ned, pick her up and hold her, but she lets me. I kissed her smelly old head and stroked her cheeks.
She’s got a few weeks left, and they will be comfortable weeks. She still wears bags on her head and insists the tap be turned on so she can stick her head under the water like a lunatic. And when it’s finally time, I will be there with her, the one of two people she likes. Everyone else can fuck off. Which will be the engraving on my tombstone, where I will be buried with the ashes of my 79 dead pets.
“I’m so glad you’re okay,” Ned wept, as the vet left. “Can I take you to dinner?”
“No, Ned,” I said. “All I want to do is get into my owl pajamas, and eat toast, and watch TV.” Truthfully, I was fekking exhausted. I was drained. I was spent.
I hadn’t been home all day, which for me is rare. I almost 100% of the time come home at lunch, even though Edsel almost never pees at lunch, Edsel is a camel, or…some kind of other animal that never has to pee. Do camels pee? I have no idea. I mean, of course they pee, but…
Oh hooo care. The point is, it had been 11 hours that I’d been gone, and I trudged in like Ashley after the war, and hey, June, trot that example out for a change, why don’t you. I kissed Edsel, and fed everyone, except…
Where the fuck was Steely Dan? “STEEEEEEEEEEELY DAN!” I called out the front door. Then the back door. Then back to the front door.
Oh, great. This was gonna be God’s deal. I get to be okay, but I have to lose Steely Dan.
I thought of all the possibilities. He’d been run over. A family finally decided this robust, shiny cat was a “stray” and dragged him inside and locked the door. (Dear Family: Good luck with that. Soon he’ll be outside looking in the window at you, and you’ll have no idea how.) A dog ate him. He left me.
“STEEEEEEEELY DAN!” I called again.
THIRTEEN HOURS that cat was gone, before I heard the telltale THUMP that he’d just left the roof and was back on the deck, waiting to come in. For all I know, he was on the roof for all 13 hours.
I may have overreacted to his return. I may have swooped him up, felt his robust, youthful cat self, kissed his cold ears, and hugged him hard and cried like an idiot.
Dear Steely Dan: I am sorry I took all the emotions of the day out on your bastard self. But mom has a cyst, and she was never so glad to have a cyst in the history of cysts.