Native Writes: Big issue, small talk

Anyone who knows me is aware that I don’t like doctor visits. This harkens back to a childhood when my dad called the doctor if I even so much as passed gas.

That’s not necessarily so, but it felt that way.

Recently, I have been forced to undergo many procedures and examinations I didn’t plan while my body forced the arrangements.

With mixed emotions I went in for a mammogram yesterday afternoon. I’ve supported the Stephanie L. Miner Women’s Imaging Center, but somehow hadn’t officially visited until my primary care physician ordered me to go.

Filling in blanks on a form when my heart needed a new valve in April, I noted that my mother and all three of her sisters were breast cancer victims and no I hadn’t had an exam for about six years.

No one at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs said I had to, though I was asked if my body had ever produced cancer cells. It had when I was 27 and remedial surgery was performed. I told them so.

What did my mom and aunts have to do with those cancer cells?

Amazingly enough, a great deal. Breast cancer has been proven to be hereditary; in fact, it’s a syndrome in some Colorado and New Mexico pioneer families.

The possibility was acute. My doctor said so and ordered me to go.

At the Imaging Center, which is nice, by the way, I learned there are several hoops through which one must jump to get in for a mammogram and I thought I had started upside down.

Armed with my doctor’s order, I just went in and sat down.

Not correct. I had to go through the front desk, then the admissions area, where I was given a bracelet to wear so the technician who ran the test could be sure of my identity.

To quote my comic hero, Eeyore, “Oh, bother.”

Finally, all hurdles cleared, I went to the waiting area in the imaging center. Several other women were there and small talk occupied the time.

Called, I walked to a room equipped with an imaging machine. It looked nicer than the last one I faced.

It was gentler and the technician was sweet.

As she positioned me, she asked if I knew what happened to Snippy the Horse.


She knew the story. The horse’s owner was her aunt and she just wanted to know where the bones are stored.

Small world.

She went to college with my mom, who was truly a non-traditional student, receiving her degree after age 65. She also knew my half-brother and his wife and small talk filled the air.

The exam required mechanically squeezing my breasts while they were filmed and she showed me the images. Nothing seemed remarkable, but a specialist would need to have a look-see.

As I put on my shirt, I asked her name and told her I would give her a call if I ever found out where Snippy’s bones are stored. I nearly fainted when she told me.

Driving home, I thought about the purpose of small talk, not gossip but chit-chat.

I may want to visit the doctor at some point.



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