Today in My History

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21 Sept 2017

There was a note on my calendar this morning that I had an appointment in the radiology department at Kaiser in Sacramento today.  I knew about the appointment, but I had completely forgotten why I was going.  Fortunately I can go to the Kaiser web site and get details about my appointments and was reminded that I was going in for a breast ultrasound.

This was to check a lump that my primary care doctor just discovered in one of my breasts.  Tells you how observant she is.  About 15 years ago, when I was working for Dr. G, we always referred patients to a company called Mammographia to get their mammograms.  Dr. G always called it the "Cadillac of mammograms."  After awhile I decided that if I was going to recommend Mammographia, it would be nice if I knew WHY it was the "Cadillac of mammograms" so I convinced Dr. G to get them to give me a free mammogram.

I have to admit that it truly was a cut above Kaiser....a big cut.  For one thing, there was a plush carpet and comfortable chairs in the waiting room.  And when you go to the mammogram room, the shelf on which your breast is poked and kneaded into place was actually warmed by a heating pad before you got there.  No icy metal shelf for us!

And I don't know why, but it was the first mammogram I had that didn't hurt.  That was worth the "Cadillac" rating right there.

They examined my films right away and discovered a lump in my breast.  They have a physician on staff who can address that right away and he did, with a full ultrasound of the breast.  They determined that whatever it was was benign and then found out that the lump was discovered on mammogram at Kaiser several years before that, but nobody had never told me.

I've had my current doctor for many years now and until they did all those scans the other night, she had no clue there was a lump in my breast.  She wanted another ultrasound which would be more precise than the one they could do in Davis, hence the meeting in Sacramento.

I headed off to Kaiser, figuring an hour would give me plenty of time.  I prefer driving through the city streets than driving on the freeway because there is a right lane merge that terrifies me every time.  I was trying to calculate if I had enough time to take the slower route when it suddenly hit me that it was a little before noon and my appointment was ONE-fifteen, not TWELVE fifteen!  So I had time to get some lunch.

I drove down to where the fast food joints were and drove past Stanton Optical company which has the consistently most annoying TV ads ever.  This one, with a guy in a pink tutu commenting on the woman's pink frames, runs twice each morning--the commercial, a commercial for something else, and then the Stanton commercial again.  It's been running for months but is actually LESS annoying than some of the other ads that ran forever -- like the pair of glasses in labor that gave birth to another pair of glasses.

I was craving tacos so I stopped at Del Taco, which I'd never visited.  Kathy and I went for Mexican the other day at lunch, but my stomach was a little unsettled so I just had a plain tamale and a salad.  It didn't solve my Mexican craving.  I can't say the Del taco was the best I'd tasted, but it was just what I was craving, though I was surprised that it was served with French fries!  Who serves tacos with French fries?

I knew that the Radiology Department was at the end of the building and was tickled to find a parking place right at the end of the building.  The wrong end, of course.  I had to walk all the way to the other end--why is it that when you are going somewhere for the first time it always seems much longer than when you are coming back?  It seemed like a mile I had to trudge to get to Radiology and then when I left, it was hardly any distance at all.

There were several people in line to register and two clerks.  One was v-e-r-y slow and the other was very fast.  The line finally started to move and just as it was my turn, the fast guy took his break.  I waited fifteen minutes (I timed it on the clock over his head) before the slow guy finished with the woman ahead of me.

But I eventually got checked and directed to the waiting room for mammograms.  It was kind of a cross between Davis Kaiser's cold, uncomfortable radiology department and Mammographia.  Everything was pink including a pink breast cancer design on the rug right in front of the door, in case you missed it.

The room was filled with ill-fitting gowned women.  I chose a cubicle to remove my shirt and get into a gown.

I noted, with chagrin, that they had only medium size gowns in the cubicle.  No way in the world am I a medium size, but  did my best and actually got it on, but then discovered that it seemed to have THREE arm holes!  I couldn't figure out what that was for (turns out that if you are a medium size person, your arm goes in the dangling sleeve there and the sleeve that is on my left arm is supposed to cross over in front of you so you can be more covered up.  There was no way that was going to work for me.

But there were several large sized women in the room so I knew there must be a large size gown somewhere.  I finally found one.

Then I sat and waited.  It was a chatty group and as each patient left either for the scan or to go home, we would all wish her good luck.

I picked up a copy of The New Yorker, my go-to waiting room magazine.  I never have time to read the articles but I like to read the cartoons.  Except I haven't seen a single cartoon in any copy of the New Yorker lately that is in the least funny.  I find them downright boring.  The other magazine I picked up, quite innocently, was one of Martha Stewart's and that had zero interest for me.

Finally my name was called and I went in for what I thought was an ultrasound, but which turned out to be another mammogram and if the lump looked suspicious, they would do the ultrasound.  The mammogram tech greeted me with "how is your pancreas?" (which is more than my doctor would do)  She was a theater lover and when she found out I was a critic, we had lots to talk about while she pummeled my breasts into submission. 

When she finished, she sent me back to the pink room while she checked with the radiologist, and then came back to report that all looked fine and they didn't need to do an ultrasound.  Heck, I could have told them that!  But I was free to leave.

My plan had been to go to Atria but by now it was so late, I would get there too late to visit and I was sleepy anyway, so I came home and took a nap.

I usually get my mammograms done in October, so that's something I can cross off my list now since it's already done  And nice to know that my lump is behaving herself and not causing any trouble.  (The lump is almost as old as the breast itself!)


The birthday girl

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