Tuesday, September 26, 2006

always in motion is the future

I've been a little preoccupied lately.

This is the season of job applications, the time when I take the first steps towards becoming a person with a real job. That is if all goes well. But, added to the stress of looking at the past 10 years of my life under a microscope, lamely bulleted on the pages of my CV, I also had a medical emergency.

What really prompted this was a scare that I had as I was lying on the floor watching TV. Maybe I was watching Dr. 90210, maybe I wasn't. In any case, I gave myself an impromptu breast exam, quite possibly my first ever if we don't count the exams conducted while parked in a driveway in the back seat of a car, when I thought I felt something on my left breast. Could it be? Was it? Aren't I too young for this? My future swirled before me eyes. Bandaged up in the hospital, surrounded by friends and family, I wouldn't have to finish my dissertation or go through any of the hassle of a job search. It all seemed terrible and wonderful at the same time.

It's surprisingly easy to convince yourself that you have a tumor.

I went in for my physical this afternoon, feeling vulnerable in my paper robe, and mildly obsessing about whether the protective sheet that I was sitting on had been changed since the last patient. I told the doctor that I may only have a few months to live and pointed to my breast, upon which she asked me to lie down so that she could pummel my boob with the tips of her fingers, taking little teeny steps all around, back and forth, without any detectable expression on her face.

After a minute of this she stopped and asked, "Why don't you show me where you felt it?"

I pointed to the specific spot and she probed around there for another minute, revisiting the same spot over and over until she stepped back at last and looked me square in the eye.


I took a deep breath. My heart paused. She didn't smile.

"What you felt there. Was your rib."

Alright. So I'm not dying. And she was sympathetic, saying that it was an easy mistake because I was thin, though I know she really meant... flat-chested. I guess I won't be trading in my 34A's for a pendulous set of double D's after all. It would have been such a good excuse. But at least this experience has confirmed a couple of things for me. First, I would have made a really crappy doctor. Second, I should go ahead and make that dental appointment soon because that root canal that I had been fearing may just be nothing more than plaque buildup.

I feel so relieved. And empowered. Maybe that comes from referring to my boobs five times in this post. Wait, that's six.