Ever since COVID, I’ve gotten a lot of my health care through the internet. The doctor will see me now, as long as I have a camera on my laptop. I get phone appointments. I type messages and order drugs and promptly get messages and drugs back. My medical care has become mostly digital. I’m not complaining–it’s actually pretty slick.
Sure, some of my medical care was kind of digital before, but as far as I know they can’t yet stick their fingers in you through your computer. But I’m older now and my need to have fingers stuck in me has waned. The parts that used to be thus probed have retired, or declined in some other way, or possibly nobody really cares about them as much anymore, because they can’t get into as much mischief.
So at this point most of my complaints can be resolved without me getting out of my chair. I can take a photo of a festering sore and upload it to my dermatologist and I’m pretty sure he likes it better that way, too. I used to go in person and show him my festering sore, and he’d wince at some quarter-inch patch and take care of it, and then say “Was there anything else you wanted me to check?” That always threw me for a loop. Yes. Fuck. You’re a dermatologist, and it took me three months to get an appointment with you. Look at my entire body–that’s why I brought it with me. It’s not that big, and I can’t see half of it. If you need to shove anything to the side to see underneath, you go ahead on.
The rest of my Medical Care Team is stellar. You can do so much online! Yesterday I decided to book my mammogram. I picked a date and time and then it said “Almost there! First, just a couple questions.”
“A couple,” in my book, is two.
They wanted to know if I’ve had a mastectomy. Breast implants. If I needed an interpreter. Was hard of hearing. Needed a wheelchair. Was afraid of anybody at home. Could enable my device camera. Was doing anything Saturday night. Liked long walks on the beach. By the time I got to the SUBMIT button, I wasn’t sure I wanted to.
But I did, and then the site complained I’d left something blank that was required. It was the box that said “What would you like to have addressed in this visit?”
I’d left it blank because it was a mammogram appointment. It should be painfully obvious what I wanted addressed. I wondered: if I typed in that I wanted my chakras aligned, or my portfolio rebalanced, would it allow me to go on to the next step? Probably. Instead I typed in “I would like my breasts addressed. You may call them Lefty and Junior. Don’t mix them up–they’re not the same, they just live together.”
Apparently that did the trick. SUBMIT.
That’s when it occurred to me. The latest in online medicine! I’ve put on a few pounds. Already my laptop is mostly on my lap, but some of my lap-adjacent portions are now encroaching on the trackpad, and tacking toward the keyboard. I’m not super proud of this. But it made me think: could I just shlorp my jugs onto the laptop and slam the screen down and get a reading?
I gave it some thought and abandoned the idea. I might be able to get a good picture of Junior. For Lefty, I’m going to need a bigger laptop.
Have you been looking over my shoulder? Are you my more literate half? Have you been looking at me and reading my thoughts through your computer and mine?
No, but my jugs think you're hot.
I think mine are similar to yours!
What she said.
Fifty years ago I would have been appalled at this kind of information, but now it is a regular occurrence. Sometimes when I get together with friends we start out with an organ recital and then get on with whatever we were going to do. Thanks goodness my man boobs aren't squishable unless I gain even more weight.
Oh they could totally squish them. You wouldn't believe what they can do. Then you just hope the fire alarm doesn't go off.
They can totally have you on your tiptoes. Have you seen pictures of the Lakota doing their Sundance, suspended by hooks in their flesh about nipple-level from a big ole pole? Yeah like that without the hooks or pole. Or the spiritual high that come from torturing yourself. Just the suspension and the smooshing, the levels of which are determined by the sadism of the tech. Get your mammos girls. My last one picked up a tumor. Small but aggressive and malignant. I had surgery and now I'm having radiation, which doesn't hurt and so far – 16 treatments in with six to go – has caused no side-effects. I'm on an oral cancer drug for the next seven years. As much as I hated having it, that mammogram probably saved my life.
Goodness. I hope your prognosis is stellar. They sure are doing a better job of chemo/radiation these days at least in terms of side effects, from what I understand. And? I can tell I'm not a spiritual person because I'm pretty sure I would not get a high from torture.
I had a zoom appointment with a gastroenterologist who asked me to poke around on my abdomen and tell him if I had any discomfort. Apparently I'M a doctor now!
That's COOL! He told you where to poke and everything?
Doesn't that belong on the Dark Web?
Nope, no specific locations. Just generally poke around. Pretty worthless I think.
Don't you wonder if there wasn't someone else in the room and the doctor said "Watch this!"
It's funny. When I was a girl, just going through my menarche, one didn't mention anything about this kind of stuff to ANYONE. Definitely not guys, but not even younger girls who hadn't been through it yet. I remember going to my aunt's pool with my younger cousin, and telling my cuz I wasn't swimming because I felt sick. I had plans once to go to the beach with my male friend. Got my period and had to cancel because "I'm sick." I was told that tampons were "only for married women." Probably they were afraid that it might break one's precious hymen. ( As if. THAT was fucking PAINFUL.) At a certain age, the nuns in my elementary school took the females aside and talked about periods and told us that there were pads in the back closet. If we needed them, just go silently and get them. The boys concurrently had a talk with the priests. Fuck knows what THEY talked about.
Just last evening, Paul and I were having dinner out with another couple, and menopause came up. I mentioned how I NEVER had insomnia before that. The woman and I compared notes on menopause, but her guy seemed distinctly uncomfortable with the subject.
I think things are better now. My mom was perfectly lovely about it all and yet it was so obvious to me that this is just the sort of area we don't talk about that I made it through an entire period once with only one pad because I was too embarrassed to ask her for more. I still can't believe I did that, but I did.
Oh, jeeze… I had to get the "hospital pads" and use them frequently. I was a bleeder.
Believe me, one pad was not nearly enough. It was a situation.
Mom gave me a booklet. It said I would lose a “couple of tablespoons “ each month. Hahaha. I’m with Mimi.
That "2-3 Tablespoons" bit is absolutely standard according to the experts, and if you want to get a whole roomful of women laughing their heads off, you can cite that.
What I don't understand is how women "in olden days" dealt with this. They didn't have tampons or pads. I'm sure there must have been some "bleeders", even back then. My mom used to use a rag, some elastic, and some safety pins. And that was around 1930 or thereabouts. Did they even HAVE supplies to deal with that back then? Or maybe it was poverty that dictated what she used.. I'm just glad that I don;t have to deal with the damned thing. Yes. It IS a curse.
My mum had to knit her own pads and wash them daily, just as her mum before her and grandmother too.
Young women are laundering reusable pads again now.
LOVE your answers and "approach" to the mammogram. I wonder if office staff really read those questionnaires. (Having been married 3 times, for the allergy question, I wrote in "men." Not sure they got it.) Linda in Kansas
What do they have to prick you with to determine you have a Men allergy?
Another one for the Dark Web.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Okay, trying again – damned autocorrect! If one can choose the who, where and when to be pricked for the man allergy I will volunteer, having not had that kind of pricking for some time and sort of missing it.
Just going to leave that there. Let us know if you get a bite.
I've recently had a text message, an email and an actual paper letter asking me to book my mammogram. Under that request is a paragraph stating that "we regret that it may take longer than usual to get a screening appointment etc" so I've put it off for now because I really don't want a mammogram, but will probably make the appointment next week, now that I am fully vaccinated.
To quote (Saint) Molly Ivins: "Get. The damn. Mammogram."
Oh you readers, thanks for all the laughs!
Can you hear the appreciative guffaws from Portland, Florida, Arizona, Minneapolis;;; all points to which this post was directed by me? OMG you nailed it.
Thanks for pointing!
I chuckled at the clever photo idea! I have to have this done soon and no I won't be using my computer either especially since it isn't even a laptop 😀
Don't use your iPad for…never mind.
If only it were that easy to do the Mamo Online as you suggested… they cancelled mine last year saying they had suspended doing them due to COVID, so, I guess if you have any serious concerns about The Girls, you have to wait 'til COVID passes… AS IF it ever will at this juncture? I just got a new computer and it does all kinds of swell things the 30+ year old one that crashed couldn't do… I think they're grooming us to do everything Online.
I hate to ruin the mood, but I've never had any problem with mammograms. I had my first at 35 and was pretty nervous because I had tenderness issues (to say the least) and my doctor advised me to lay off coffee for a while. Problem gone. I did go back to coffee after a few years though.