(Last week I had a mammogram.  Tuesday, June 12, it was.  I wrote most of this post then.)

On the morning of the mammogram there was a murder of crows cawing on my house roof as I went to the loo in the early morning.  The day before I’d seen a huge black crow fly onto a neighbour’s roof with a lump of  meat in it’s beak – not  a torn piece, but a pink, glistening square, almost like someone had fed it a lump of cut chicken breast.

We see a lot of crows in winter.  Not like I was looking for omens or anything…

I wasn’t scared of the mammogram, this was at least my third, maybe my 4th time.  I’d asked for one because of my sore right nipple in the cold weather.  And it was two years since my last mammogram anyway, so I was due for another scan.

But the room was so very hot.  First image, no problem, boob squished, picture taken.  The image takes a little longer than usual, the radiographer was explaining to the trainee, because my breasts are so very dense.

I’m in position for the second image, but then suddenly

“I feel very dizzy…”

…and then…

…I’m crawling on the floor, shouting at the people I don’t recognise, people wearing hospital uniforms, and I think I’ve been admitted to the psych ward again.  “I don’t where I am, I don’t know where I AM?!”

“It’s ok, dear, you were having a mammogram and you fainted, it’s okay…”


It’s not okay.

It’s embarrassing.  But it’s nice and cool, here on the floor, so I think I’ll just stay down here for a while and keep saying “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry…” while they bring in the doctor and cover me up with the paper gown and put the pulse-oximeter on my finger. (Wireless pulse-ox, very cool!)

“96%” I hear someone say in the distance. “Ma’am, can you get up off the floor now?

“Um, it’s nice and cool down here, it’s so hot in the room, I think I’ll just stay here a little longer.”

“Okay, try and get her up on the bed, do the ultrasound when she’s ready and the rest of the films today if you can” and the voice leaves the room.

The young radiographer leaves with the doctor to check the films and the trainee gets me a glass of water once I’m up on the bed.  I keep saying how embarrassed I am. I joke that it’s just one more experience for her training.  She tells me that I will probably have a bruise along my jaw and chin where I hit the floor – they couldn’t catch me, they could only try to stop me hitting myself on the equipment as I went down.

Eventually we get on with the ultrasound (goop, ugh) and then when I’ve wiped myself down, we go back over to the squishing machine.

This time I the radiographer says she won’t do any explaining, “just in case we have another incident” and I try to reassure the poor trainee that it really wasn’t her fault.

We get through it, I get dressed, and leave.  I sit in the car for a while and rummage around in my bag for the emergency muesli bar I know is squished somewhere in there.  Once I’ve eaten it and feel steady enough, I drive the five minutes back home.

And I don’t sleep at all that night.

Or the next.

I pick up the films on Thursday and of course I read the reports despite the “CONFIDENTIAL X-RAY REPORT ENCLOSED. ONLY TO BE OPENED BY DOCTOR” sticker sealing the envelope.  No malignancy, just a 6 mm cyst where I knew it was hurting.

I see my kind and lovely GP on the Friday,  and she laughs and says everybody opens the envelope, you’d be mad not to.  So now we wait and see what happens – no point doing much unless things get a lot worse.

But I’m still having trouble sleeping – because when I fell, I really hurt my hip again – and my knee, and my neck, and I think I flared up my back injury from when I fell and fractured my L2 vertebrae 10 years ago.  The pain is baaaaaaaaaaad.

So my sleep patterns are more out of whack than usual. Which is upsetting.  And worrying.  And because I had a recent depression I am anxious about having a manic upswing, which can happen when you don’t get enough sleep, and it’s all a bit chicken and egg because sometimes not sleeping is a symptom and sometimes it’s a cause…arrrrrgh!

I have a couple of weeks to try and get my sleep patterns back to something better… and then the new semester starts.  And the class that was going to be in the middle of the day on Thursdays has been moved to an EIGHT A.M. START on Friday mornings.  Go ahead, laugh, everyone who knows me knows how bad I am at mornings – this is really going to test my commitment to this course.  To get there for an eight am start I need to be in the car no later than twenty past seven, which means I have to be dressed and eating breakfast at least an hour earlier than that because I AM REALLY BAD AT MORNINGS.

SERIOUSLY bad at mornings.

Maybe they’ll decide to move the class again yet….


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