Thursday, December 17, 2009


I've always been good about doing the basic health care thing. I get my annual, I take my vitamins (mostly), I eat my veggies, I wash my hands. I guess I've always figured that there were enough things out there ready to kill me without my assistance, so I should do my part to stave off the preventable.

I turn 40 next month which of course you'd know if you were paying attention. My birthday is a national holiday in 17 countries. I celebrate it for a week at least because- hello- IT'S MY FREAKIN' BIRTHDAY! There are many thing about turning 40 that I'm happy about and some that suck. Today I got to experience another on the ever-shrinking list of rights of passage- the mammogram. Now I had one back in my 20's which was uncomfortable but no big. Maybe it was because I was perkier then- both in flesh and in spirit. Maybe the machines were different. Who knows.

My first clue should have been the smell. The pink flowery waiting room (which, sidenote, I don't get. Just 'cause I have boobs doesn't mean I necessarily love pink or want to ready back issues of Ladies Home Journal. Can I get an amen?) didn't smell flowery or pink. It smelled like a locker room. Actually, like a locker room outside a vet's office. I was surprised but just figured that the person before me must have been one of those New England granola types who eschews bathing in the winter months. I now know the truth: that smell was fear. Those who had waited in that chair before me knew what was lurking behind the pink (no joke) door and their individual fight-or-flight responses were kicked into overdrive. They knew what was coming- the squishing and massive ouch and the totally "whatever" attitude of the chick manhandling the Girls. The knew, but just as I did, They Went Anyway. 'Cause that's what badass chicks do.

I can't help but think it's irresponsible to come right out and say that the mammogram is my newest (and # 1) entry in the "sucky" column on my list of pros and cons about turning 40 because that might inadvertently convince someone *not* to get their mammogram and then, when this random reader succumbed to cancer, her family would sue me and I really don't need that. So let's put it this way- it sucked, but it sucked less than a mastectomy or chemo or radation or, you know, DEATH.

So get out there and get squeezed ladies. Flat is the new badass- hadn't you heard?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alive & Kicking

Yeah, I've been quiet lately. Bet you wish you knew what I was up to? (Enigmatic smile...)

My Grandma's in the hospital. Now, she's 94 (almost 95) so that's not all that surprising. She's at that age where stuff starts to happen. Actually, she's way beyond that age. She's well into the "wow" age, when people look at her like she's crazy when she tells them how old she is, 'cause she looks 80- trust me, at 94, that's a complement- and she's still the same person inside that she was at 25. (Sidenote: the phrase "sharp as a tack" is just as offensive as "pretty good for a girl" and I refuse to use it. So there.)

Grandma can kill snakes with a hoe, knows how to fire a shotgun, and once stayed in her bed (rather than going to the basement) during a tornado because she didn't figure it would be a bad way to go. In short, Grandma kicks ass.

So, as I said, Grandma's in the hospital. She's doing well and will be home soon so we're not really concerned. She had an uber close call a couple of years ago and we all discovered the ugly reality that is Being Old in America- aka "sign this form so we don't have to take care of you very well because you're old and taking up space and don't you want to not be a burden to your children?"

They came at her with the form again when she got to the hospital. They wanted her to sign the DNR and the Living Will stating that they shouldn't go to extreme measures and they gave her the "don't be a burden" speech and good old Grandma told them in no uncertain terms to go to hell. She draws the line at persistent vegetative, but otherwise she figures that she worked hard taking care of everyone else for most of her life and if she wants to be a burden then she'll damn well be a burden and the people around her should thank her for the chance to serve.

Now that's what I call badass.