A Poet's Life

Mona Bethke

Home / Flashes Of Thought / It’s not just about a mammogram…

It’s not just about a mammogram…

Despite the fact that I have to finish my term paper that is due tonight and I was up all night working on it, I jump out of bed when my alarm chimes at 7:30am.  I grumble and groan on my way to the shower, make sure I don’t wash with perfumed soap or put on deodorant, throw on a tank top that doesn’t require a bra and plop down on my couch. It’s only 8:00am.  My 9:00am appointment seems like hours away and the only thing on my mind is my term paper.  My cell phone rings and I know when it’s that early in the morning, it can’t be good.  Everyone knows I’m not a morning person.  Yep, it’s bad news. A friend is in trouble.

At 8:30am, I head out the door and grimace at the cool blast of air that hits me.  It’s almost May, I’m in Florida, and now the cold weather decides to flow this way?  How is that possible when it was in the 80’s in February?  I wrap my sweater around my shoulders and walk to my car. Sigh, it’s still there, which means I have that same astronomical car payment due in three weeks.  Once I’m in the car, the warmth of the leather seat gives me a moment to pause.  While driving to the radiology clinic, I think some more about my term paper and feel a hitch in my throat because I can’t imagine why this last requirement has me in such a tizzy.  The challenge seems unbearable at the moment and I feel sorry for myself.  Don’t hate.

Once I get to the clinic, I’m pretty much processed, in my little blue tie in front gown, and waiting to have my breasts squished between two plates, in no time at all.  I open my Nook to delve back into the awesome book I’m reading when I’m called into the torture device room.  A friendly woman with warm hands and a smile to match, adjusts me and begins the process of searching for cancer.  That’s when it hits me. I’m here to make sure I don’t have cancer, and if I do to hopefully catch it early.  My eyes well up with tears and the lovely assistant from the save your life gameshow I’m in asks me if I’m okay.  “No” I say, “not really.”  “What’s wrong?” she asks.  “I’m just thinking about how many women can’t afford to have this done and how lucky I am to have found a program that provides this for poor women.”  She smiles at me, pats me on my shoulder and proceeds to push the plates together for one last shot.  We’re done and she tells me to have a nice day.  Now I just wait for the results.

After a quick stop at the bank, I come home, sit at my computer, and stare at my paper.  My best friend is in jail, another friend’s daughter is missing, women all over this country are dying from breast cancer, and I’m pondering why my life is so difficult because I have to write a term paper that I put off putting me in this crunch.  I feel the stupid look slide across my face and wonder if my friend can prove his innocence, my other friends daughter is safe and unharmed and if there’s a woman sitting at her computer pondering why her life is shattered because her results were positive.

It’s time to tackle my term paper and be grateful for what it signifies when all is said and done.

That is all.

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