Oh the joys of womanhood, by a confessed hypochondriac.

“Ooo, that was brutal.” The woman in the white robe dropped into the chair.

“Oh, it’s brutal alright,” the other woman in a white robe replies.

“I don’t remember it being that brutal.”

In a white robe, I glance up super quick and then back down to my journal. What was brutal?! It’s not my turn to be punished today, but I’m sure I’ll get mine sooner rather than later. From what I overheard at the check-in desk, they were all mostly getting mammograms.

I was the youngest person there, and the older ladies, perhaps feeling sorry for me, were smiling at me kindly. Oh, I wanted to say, don’t feel sorry for me. I’m only an imposter here. A sick person, yes, but only in the head, apparently.

Skip this paragraph if you don’t like womenfolk problems. I was there to get an ultrasound to check out my right armpit and breast lymph nodes because I have a lot of lumpy tenderness and itching inside (no rash) and some nipple discharge (no children). It’s not an infection, it’s like fibrocystic changes, except in my armpit as well. No need to be squeamish about it, it’s just life.

A notice on the door states that because of Covid, only the patient may enter. Normally I’m incapable of going anywhere by myself, but my fiancé and I had to part ways at that threshold. But even if patients were permitted to be accompanied, I think it would have been pretty awkward anyway.

A pathetic air permeates these facilities. The lot of women is pretty sad, when you take a step back and look at all these tests and medical procedures they have to endure. One wonders, how much of it is even necessary? But we are made to feel like our body parts are all dangerous, ticking time bombs, and we are the sum of these dangerous parts, even in situations where they’re irrelevant.

Doctor: “How are you?”

Patient: “I’m good, how are—”

Doctor: “D’you want a pap smear right now?”

Patient: “Uh… Can we do my eye exam first?

I doubt anyone would argue with the fact that outside of the doctor’s office, women’s bodies are over-sexualized and categorized according to their degree of sexuality. But in the clinical setting, this changes. The breast, for instance, loses any sexual (or maternal—society has long forgotten that quality) connotation and becomes simply a blob composed of some varying ratio of fat, muscle, ducts, cysts, nodes, and, as every woman fears, tumors. There’s no more need to be embarrassed, even in front of a male doctor.

The particular office I visited is designated as the “Women’s Imaging Center” and is separate from the rest of the entire imaging facility. Because it must be private for women, you see. The décor puts me in mind of an AI trying to decorate them to make them homier and more suited to what it’s told women like. But the attempts to make the place not seem so “clinical” fail pretty flat.

It tries to make the place more comfortable with carpeting and upholstered chairs, but they’re uncoordinated. The hallways are wainscoted, but they’re painted sloppily. The dark wood lockers are made of laminated particleboard. There was a Buddha head and a vase, both of which looked like they came from Pier 1. The AI probably heard that serving coffee makes one feel at home, so it added a Keurig machine, but forgot the coffee, water, and cups to serve it in.

As I was laying there during the test, there was country music playing quietly from somewhere, and I kept wondering, do people get bad news to this music? It’s not enough that you must deliver bad news, but you must deliver it to country music, too? Sorry, I’m in the northeastern US, that’s not gonna fly. But maybe the AI misunderstood the concept of soothing music. The lights were very low, but mainly I just stared at the ceiling A/C register that you only see in office settings.

I probably won’t have to go back there for a while, and while I should be grateful for that, I can’t but think of some of the sad faces I saw in the waiting room. Some of them were there for routine tests, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone that day went home with less than good news. Or, which is just as bad, if someone went home believing they were fine when they really weren’t because the unseen radiologist takes about forty-five seconds to read your test, and they’ll receive worse news later.

I’m reaching the point where I’m actually embarrassed for all the time of other people I waste on this. Maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, because lots of women were there for routine testing, so my test is legitimate in that way, but deep down I know what my secret motive is and it’s not getting a routine test. I confess to you that I secretly like indulging my fears and having a pet worry to nurse. If you take that away from me, what do I have left in life? Well, life, but that’s beside the point. Yes, I know I’m a broken record for any regular readers of my blog, but it’s my crippling obsession.

Ultimately, my results were fine and not very helpful. No answer to what my problem is. There was nothing to indicate anything suspicious is causing my discharge, but when I asked them what exactly IS causing it, they said that maybe my brain is telling it to. Okay. And y’all wonder why I’m paranoid.

So that’s about it. That’s my visit and my lament for the life of women. Women are constantly gaslighted by doctors and made to feel crazy while sitting in health facilities designed especially for women because of all their medical needs, half of which are probably manufactured to tantalize you with the promise of a cure for your hysteria-induced imaginary problem that you’ll be diagnosed with ten years too late.

38 thoughts on “Oh the joys of womanhood, by a confessed hypochondriac.

  1. Now that’s out of the way, antihistamines will make you itch. Reruns of “Marcus Welby, MD” or a daily dose of “Dr. Oz” will give you disease of the day and send off in quest of the miracle vitamin/holistic cure of the day. Best just to scratch the itch and if, sooner or later, it knocks you down, so be it. Concern over the uncontrollable is an immense waste of time. Dragging other people into it is probably a sin.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Puh-leeze Phil, you think a Google MD like myself watches that crap? I have studied the axillary lymph node locations and determined that the ones itching me are the humeral/lateral nodes. Only noobs listen to Dr. Oz. And it’s not sinful for other people to get dragged into it if they get to take me out for ice cream afterwards.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I figure the ice cream is a one way street misdiagnosed. Google is like an XL spreadsheet, it can tell you whatever you want. Dr Oz makes shit up to sell vitamins. How cool is that? Why mess with what science thinks when you can kill yourself with vitamin D for something that doesn’t exist?

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello Miss Who THe Hell Knows. I’m the bot scraping the Internet. I’ve returned to bring you good news: THE INTERNET IS ALL SCRAPED OUT. Thanks to me, all the dead tissues are scraped up and gone and put away. Oh, by the way, I read your travails of BreastLand. Sorry to hear about your problems.

    If I were you, I would’ve just waited a while and seen if the problem worsened. I think that’s the safe bet for most “problems” of the health variety. Even if there’s a temporary glitch in the body, it’s often self-correcting and will go away.

    I still can’t figure out why you commented in my “Sports” entry on my blog, though. That seems odd. Ah well. I better return to scraping the Net — oh wait, I’ve already done that. Us flesh robots forget easily.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve trawled a lot of comment sections before, but this dude wins best comment ever. I was going to comment on this post, but I’m now sidetracked thanks to Mister Catxman over here. So yeah, here I am. Also, thanks for this week’s story instalment, Hetty!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. We are all riding in the boat of procreation. Everything good and bad comes from that. Maybe clones and a highly regulated society might change womanhood. Don’t know. Otherwise, we just stumble on through history until it ends. Duke

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Paranoia sounds like a wonderful pastime. The world is only getting more deadly. Plenty to be afraid of.

    I challenge you to list all those, in order of likelihood, that you personally may die from. You can group them if you like. Tetanus from a rusty nail puncturing your flipflop while you try to stomp out the fire your celebratory bottlerocket lit while you were enjoying a picnic by the lake counts as a group, you know, of blood poisonings by impalement.

    Go!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey Bee. That’s exactly the type of thing I’m talking about. Rhetorical question–do I just give up all my checking for now and pick it back up again later because it doesn’t seem to matter in the long run? Will life just have its way with us whenever and however it pleases, all our efforts to prevent it be damned? Anyways. I am glad you’re doing better and I’m glad you understand what I’m talking about. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anytime. Guess what. I still ask these questions. Even more so now with the pandemic and all. Can I go to doc with this niggle or do I leave it. The doctors don’t seem to listen anyway until it’s too late. Maybe we should fight more for being taken seriously but I have no energy for that 🤗

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Glad you’re OK. And, whatever you’re doing, you just keep going, I see, and you’re kicking ass at it. If you have high expectations, you’ll either break your own heart or become deluded. And, as Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP said, “If everyone’s out to get you, paranoia is just plain good thinking.”
    One last thought, and the only one for which this comment was originally intended, if you have country music, then beer and your face planted in the ashtray can’t be far behind. Which has nothing to do with medical procedures. I mean, with any luck.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Roy. Thanks for your support. You’re right about expectations. We can’t stop the march of time no matter what we do, I guess. Don’t worry about me face down in an ashray. I’m impervious to country music.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am the rare soul born and raised in Northeastern USA who actually loves country music, and yet, I still think it is a strange choice for doctor’s office. You’d think the doctor’s office would go for something relaxing and meditative.
    My workplace also has a coffee maker and no coffee or cups. Maybe it was also badly designed by AI.
    This is a humorous read because I love your writing style, and yet, I know this experience was not at all humorous. Wishing you good health and less medical bureaucracy bullshit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much. I always find humor in everything even if I’m depressed. I have an insatiable hunger to make fun of things. Such as your love of country music. But yes, one would think that a doctor’s office, especially one very woman-centered, would have more relaxing music, preferably without lyrics. Like one time I was getting an ultrasound of lymph nodes in my neck and “Up Around the Bend” was playing, and all I’m thinking about is what if I get bad news to this piece of shit??

      Liked by 1 person

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