I am sitting in the waiting area. She has gone in to have a mammogram and an ultrasound. I wish I was in there with her, but guess there are probably privacy issues, what with all the breast exams going on.
Mammography shares a waiting room with GYN. It’s filled with women, and they seem to fall into three types. The first are the women here for GYN. For the most part they are young, either pregnant, toting newborns, or still carrying around some of their pregnancy weight gains. They seem by turns enthusiastic, tired, or a bit worried. The second group are young, professional women going into mammography. They are for the most part sharply dressed either in professional attire or in neatly matching gym clothes. They look fit and sound perky and determined. I imagine them here for their breast exams – not exactly thrilled with the prospect, but pleased with themselves for handling their preventative care.
The third group is older women going into mammography. They look tired and past their prime. Their hair is messy, their clothing isn’t well matched. And when the door opens and the nurse comes out and call their names, their expression as they look up is akin to a person staring down the barrel of a gun. I know why they look that way I think. She looked that way when the nurse called her name. She was very brave – stood up, smiled, chatted a bit with the nurse on the way to the door. But I could see it. The nurse could see it too.
There are a few men in the waiting room. Mostly they came with a woman and one or more children, though I see one man there with just a newborn. They’re young. There’s only one older man, like me, in coveralls and a gimmie cap. He spends his time quietly, in a corner, mostly with his head down, though it snaps up every time the door to Mammography opens. I know this because he is sitting directly across the room from me, and I see his head snap up every time my head snaps up when then door to Mammography opens. I imagine us as mirror images, going through the same motions.
My cell phone chimes.
“It ain’t good,” she writes.