Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bloodletting Prison Mammography

We left Mrs. Hillbilly Mom tied to the railroad tracks, awaiting the 11:00 colonoscopy. Oops! No, we didn't. That's just a nightmare baring its head in the light of day. We left Mrs. HM in the exam room with Doc, who jumped up and said, "Follow me." That's not always a good policy, but with Doc, it means, "I am done talking to you, and I will let you trail me to the front desk to schedule another appointment in six months."

While waiting behind a mom with two kids settling up for their athletic physicals, I silently congratulated her on her stellar parenting skills. Meaning that she did not let them run roughshod over the staff and comb the building begging for donations.

The bloodletting room caught my eye. You know how your subconscious tells you that things are not quite the same, that something is amiss? It was like that. The bloodletting room is usually open. You can look from the check-out desk past the bloodletters to the check-in desk. Doc has a double suite, and his own bloodletters. But on this day, that door was closed. It had a sign on it, printed on a laser printer in a 72-point font: DO NOT ENTER. This door is to remain closed during blood drawing.

Well, now. Had there recently been a rash of accidents of the bloodletting kind? Did somebody sashay through, resulting in a needle poking out the back of an elbow, or blood spurting uncontrollably like a Gulf oil well? Were patients freaking out and needing the tie-down straps? Because I don't think it's patient privacy they are concerned about, what with electricians and plumbers and window-washers roaming about willy-nilly with their hands in the cookie jar of confidentiality. Maybe I didn't tell you about that one time, when I sat in the exam room, and a window-washer went by. I got up and closed the shades, but they were those vertical blind thingamajigs, which tend to blow with the air conditioning vents. Glad my gynecologist's office was on the other side of the building, because not all of my visits are just about my thyroid. If you catch my drift.

I made my next appointment, and went downstairs to wait two hours for my mammogram. It was too hot to leave and come back, so I told the radiology desk that I was here early, and I would be staying until my appointment. Well, lucky me, one of my former students works down there, and had to call out, "Don't you guys go back to school pretty soon?" I told her that them was fightin' words, and one summer I cut off my mother's phone calls for two weeks, because every conversation was steered to how many weeks, days, hours, and minutes remained of my summer vacation. Student Worker apologized about as seriously as I had chastised her. The receptionist told me they would see if they could work me in. And Student Worker said, "But really--I think you guys are the first ones to go back out of all the schools around here." YES! YES WE ARE THE FIRST! I don't really like to think about it. It's bad enough seeing the backpack display at The Devil's Playground.

I chose a vacant chair grouping, and sat down to play a game of WordPops on my Hero. He hates, me, my Hero, which I know because every time I get close to breaking my personal record, he will not recognize my finger. That just burns me up. I'm stroking and stroking those six-letter words right before my screen fills up with letter-bubbles, and he refuses to recognize my finger. And the screen fills up and the game is over. It's a conspiracy, I tell you. At least that's what the #1 son told me, "Oh, everything's a conspiracy to you! Let me see it." And my Hero proceeded to refuse to recognize #1's finger as well, which made him declare that it was, indeed, a conspiracy. Same as when my computer Scrabble game disallows my legal word and then puts a 96-point word in the place I wanted to use.

Just to show him who's boss, I started a second game on my hater Hero. I quickly became distracted by a noise. It was familiar, yet not. Like jingle bells, but not. I tore my eyes away from my half-finished game to see a prisoner shuffling by. How did I know he was a prisoner? Oh, perhaps the personal escort in a uniform with a hand upon his elbow, or the freaking twenty feet of three-inch chain wrapped around and around his waist, wrists, and ankles. Just as I ducked my head back down to try and salvage my WordPops, another prisoner jangled into view. With his own escort and industrial-strength bling.

I don't know if these cons were from the county jail, or one of the three state prisons within a 30-mile radius. They were not wearing jumpsuits, or even the gray pants and white shirts of the prison work crews. Just regular clothes, like hillbillies around here wear in The Devil's Playground. They were headed to radiology. Walking in baby steps, or swaggering, was not a problem. No broken legs on these dudes. This made me wonder if, perhaps, the gents might have swallowed or inserted some object that needed to be found. They were nondescript 30-something white dudes. One had a pointy meth beard like that guy I backed into at the bank one time. The one who was adamant that we not call the police, because I only bent his license plate, really, and he could bend that back out, and he was ready to leave, no need to wait on the police, since he had his woman and his pit bull on a heavy chain waiting in the car.

On the good news side of my Even Steven clinic visit, the radiology department called me right back, jumping my appointment time up by 90 minutes. I was a bit apprehensive about leaving my purse in the mammography dressing room. But I don't think those dudes were there for a mammogram.


Kathy's Klothesline said...

Your title made me think that your mammogram was of the extreme kind!

Hillbilly Mom said...

I'm all about the sensationalism! Technically, the post gave what it advertised...a little bloodletting, a little prison, a little mammography. What more could a reader ask for? Except maybe some adolescent pests strong-arming patients for money. ;)