World’s Dramatic-ist Day

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.”

God

DAMMIT.

“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.

“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.

Happens to be a link to Amazon. I know! June shills, even in panic.

“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.

“Mrs. Gardeeens?”

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.

IMG_2289.jpgI 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.”

IMG_2290.jpgHere 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.

6a00e54f9367fb883401b8d08e6b51970c-600wiI 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.

6a00e54f9367fb883401b7c74b8f14970b.jpgWhile 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.

IMG_2294.jpg
That dog bed isn’t even Edsel’s anymore.

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.

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wat da fuk

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.

Love,

Jooon

Smashed

Well, here it is. The day of my mammogram, which careful readers will note is one of my very very favorite days.

I’ve talked a lot about careful readers lately. You know what else you are? Annoyed readers.

Back in aught eight, when I was already 43 and shoulda been havin’ mammograms for three years, I finally went with a group from work, at my old job, to get mammograms together. I don’t mean we disrobed and smashed out in front of one another. But they sent limos to work and served us sparkling cider in the cars, and drove us to the local mammogram place, so it was kind of more fun.

Heh. Yeah.

That was a Wednesday, if I recall, the week before Thanksgiving. I remember this vague, “Where’s my post card?” feeling that weekend, as they’d said that’s what they’d do. They’d send a post card saying everything was okay.

I wasn’t worried, though, till I got a call on Monday. “This is Ma’am O’Gram,” said the operator, who did not call it that at all, but maybe that’s what they should do: Give these places funner names. “Are you getting yours at Yes, Ma’am’s or are you going to AppleSqueeze?”

“Oh, my family has always gone to Booby Tuesdays.”

I like how they all have to be bad chains. Because eventually they would be. Someone would have a local, boutique mammogram place that would get bought out by The Man.

“Back when HootieFlats was local, their gowns were artisan.”

Anyway.

When Boob Evans called me the following Monday, my first thought was, I musta left my coat there. Because denial. It’s what’s for dinner. And of course I hadn’t left my coat there; if I had I wouldn’t be telling you this endless story. What they said is they found something and could I return for another gander.

And see, I was fairly new to blogging then, so I rushed back here and told y’all, a thing I’d know not to do now, because oh, with the horror stories, and then one of you said, “You need to know every detail. You need to call them back and find out what they saw.”

See. That was terrible advice. And I took it.

“Say, receptionist at Bad MaamaJaama’s, what all did the doctor think he saw?” I asked. And she read my report, which indicated a spiculated density, except the brain scientist receptionist called it a “speculated density.” “Aw, that’s okay, he’s just speculating that there’s a density!” she said brightly.

Oh, honey.

So not only did I Google spiculated density and SCARE MYSELF TO DEATH, I also had the mammogram place call my terrible doctor, who called me that night to say, “This sounds bad. Prepare for the worst.”

And that is how I spent 72 hours shaking and crying. In a fetal position. Because I’m nothing if not all the way with my dramatic reactions.

Then I went to a new place with a better reputation, my old images in hand, and they did an ultrasound and said, “You’re fine, but come back in six months” and Marvin can tell you. Oh, how he can tell you. I SPENT SIX MONTHS OBSESSING. I mean, that’s all I did. Oh, I Googled and I checked chat rooms and I thought and I worried and I carried on, and why so divorced?

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Speaking of Marvin, he just sent me this. This is what I made for him one Valentine’s Day. See, I’m not that bad. Sort of. That was our real rent at the time. Good gravy, man.

Then I was fine at that appointment, and hey, six months later, I went back for a regular mammogram and

GUESS

WHAT.

They called me back again. This time for the other side. When they called me that second time, I burst into tears and asked, “How could you do this to me?”

Turns out that was normal, too, but if I could describe to you the depths of my terror when they call me back, you’d be sitting here reading this post. Is what you’d be doing.

I’ve had normal results since then, but then for the last couple years I just didn’t go, because I was sad about breaking up with Ned and I KNOW THAT’S RIDICULOUS, but I was all, I feel bad enough without adding this terror, so I didn’t go.

I KNOW SHUT UP.

At the beginning of this year, not only did I say I had to get my finances in order, but also I had to get a PAP smear (another thing I’d been putting off), get my colonoscopy (I was two years late for that) and finally, get the dreaded mammogram.

PAP, check. Colonoscopy, check.

And that brings us to today. I switched places because their radio ad said they gave you same-day results, had my records switched over and everything, so when I get there the Bay City Rollers will be on.

I’ll be here all week.

But when I made the actual appointment, they said they “don’t do same-day at the Greensboro office” and FUCK EVERYTHING. So now I know I have ice-cold terror to live through for maybe, you know, a week.

Goddammit.

…I just heard a loud thump, which means Steely Dan is done being on the roof for now.

IMG_2286But I don’t see him. That was all jarring and annoying, but when I looked, there was nothing.

Kind of like how I hope today turns out.

Be happy

I just took my last prednisone that I was prescribed in order to try to break up my current cycle of migraines, and what’s more interesting than hearing about someone’s latest round of meds?

Anyway, maybe a month ago, the doctor also put me back on Topamax for migraine, June says, continuing her riveting diatribe on medication, and our goal was to slowly increase my dosage to a fairly high amount. But as of late, because of said increase in migraines, we upped it more rapidly than planned, and let me tell you. Ever since some point last week, I’ve been feeling what you might call a tad blue. Maybe a tinge under the weather.

I was not keeping my sunny side up.

To put it mildly. Good lord, I’ve been Sylvia Plath without the smooth hair.

Two years ago right at this time, Ned and I broke up, and I moved for six weeks into my friend Kayeeee’s place. She was in Connecticut, and very kindly offered me her house while she was gone. My idea was that I would take those six weeks to begin to sort of heal, to regroup, to figure out what went wrong. I decided I’d work out every day to get my endorphins going, and write in my journal, and never use “journal” as a verb the same way I’d never use “orgasm” as a verb, and do my best to get through those first six terrible weeks.

Of course, I spent those six weeks eating fish sticks and watching Eternal Sunshine till tears fell in my ears every night, and also got immediately on OK Cupid in the hopes that I’d meet someone else right away so I could stop Feeling Things.

You all know how that went. Hey, any relationship ever since.

But I DID meet someone. I met my friend Mark. He lives in Florida. In my extremely healthy attempts to not have to feel bad, I cast a wide net on OK Cupid. That site lets you tell it how many miles away you’d be willing to go to meet someone. I believe at that time I set my availability parameters to “anywhere.” Because, hey, dude in Rome. There’s real possibility here.

My friend Mark, and I’m using his real name and maybe I should change his name to protect the innocent.

…My friend Hamlet, and wow, Random Name Generator, was from Florida, which I’ve already said, and way to move the story along, June. “I know you’re in North Carolina, and we’ll never meet, but your profile is great,” he wrote. So I read his profile, and right then I knew. He was our people. He’s hilarious. You would love him.

And so a friendship was born. We talk on the phone old school, the way Romeo and Juliet did. We forward each other hopeless profiles of people who write us (Love2PutItInU wrote me and I STAMPEDED to text that nice gentlemanly message to Hamlet). I’ve heard about his romances he’s had there, I bothered him relentlessly during the hurricane (because who doesn’t want to get a link to Ridin’ the Storm Out by REO Speedwagon during a hurricane?), and he’s had to hear about my hair and also Edsel, and while I’ve had ZERO LEG via OK Cupid these last two years, I did get me a Hamlet, and I cannot complain about that.

The point of my story, here, is that he happened to call me Saturday. “Hey, how you doing?” he asked, and I burst into tears.

“I feel I may be in a lull,” I said.

“Be happy,” he told me. His daughter, when she was little, used to say that whenever things in life were terse. She thought it might just kind of cure everything, those words: lighten the mood, get her out of trouble, whatever. Be happy. It was so ridiculous that it did kind of make me laugh.

We talked awhile, and agreed I should leave the house, and of course that made me feel better, and then careful readers will recall that a hot young man of color made his move, and who wouldn’t feel better after that?

So, I’m glad I had a Hamlet intervention.

But then yesterday I got all dark tunnel again, and it finally dawned on me: It’s the goddamn Topamax. Any time I’ve taken it, I’m dark-cloud June.

The last time I took it was right after Marvin left. Oh, happy day.

And the time before that was in 2008, and it coincided with my first mammogram, when they called me to say, “We found something very suspicious, and it doesn’t look good, and prepare for the worst” and FOR THREE DAYS I SHOOK ON MY COUCH till my next appointment, when they said, Oh, this is likely nothing, but just in case, come back in six months.

Now, a normal person might, say, put that appointment out of her mind, perhaps, but what I did, because please see above–and by “above” I mean 10+ years of this not blog–and then you tell me if I strike you as a normal person. Because what I did was live under this DAMOCLES SWORD OF DOOM for six months, Googling and Web MD-ing until Marvin no longer allowed it, and then obsessing and so on, and in retrospect, I think part of my days of dark dark black dark doom, over there, were half attributable to the Topamax. I mean, that was a dark dark time of dark. Did I say that already? Have I expressed it was dark? Did I get the point across that it was a total eclipse of the dark?

So, I think I can’t take Topamax. I think it makes me sad. The end.

I’ve left a message for my doctor, she says, not The End-ing, and instead of taking two pills last night, I took one. Usually I take another in the morning, as well, and today I did not. I missed my doctor’s return call last night (he always calls me back during the Edsel walk, and I don’t know why I don’t remember to bring the phone, except I have that dog on two leashes now, plus poop bag, plus squirt bottle, and I’ve got a lot going on, man), so I hope I’m not going off this stuff too fast, but I think I am not wrong about this. Because I already feel slightly less Pit of Despair this morning.

Good gravy. Also, gravy sounds good, because prednisone.

Did I mention what’s more riveting than someone listing off her meds?

Rivetingly,

June, emerging from her pit of despair

 

Pain Bryant

I can’t really go into my headache study all that much, because of confidentiality and so on. But–and please don’t ask for more clarification, I can FEEL you all asking for more clarification–at the beginning of the study, I had to do a pain-threshold series of tests. Yes, they inflicted pain on me. Continue reading “Pain Bryant”

Pierce and Honeycutt

Dear Faithful Reader Paula:

You know that feeling you get when you wake up during the workweek, all on your own without the aid of your alarm, and you feel rested and you know OH FUCK, something is very wrong?

Continue reading “Pierce and Honeycutt”

Doctor Who?

Yesterday I got a new doctor.

If you consult your Big Book of June Events, you’ll recall that I have some…trouble with keeping medical professionals. Doctors are my Spinal Tap drummer. Continue reading “Doctor Who?”

Pom wonderful

Perhaps you’re wondering, “Did our dear friend June expire? Is she on the other side of the grass? Feeling the silk?” It always kills me when I say that and someone out there doesn’t get it. You’re dead. In the coffin. The silk-lined–oh, forget it. Continue reading “Pom wonderful”

Aura. And not one of mystery.

I have a ding-dang aura. If you are not a migraine person, and aura is this zigzag pattern in your field of vision, rendering you pretty much blind. It will go away after a while, but I literally can’t see the screen to type you. I’m speaking into my phone.

Also, Lily is in my lap, taking full advantage of the fact that I am prone.

Since I can’t see, talk amongst yourselves. What is the one thing in your life you wish you were doing differently?