Seen-it-all-and-call-it-as-it-is, ready-to-retire-and-counting-down-the-days nurse, with the broad Irish brogue, and the "don't-you-even-think-to-give-me-any-trouble-here" stance: So, well now Carol, just check a few details first? Date of birth?
Me: Twenty-five, twelve, (hold up, avert your eyes here fellow bloggers )
She (sad shake of the head): Ah, a Christmas baby, and as if life 'aint hard enough as it is, eh? Any recent breast problems? Pain, lactation, surgery?
Me: Other than when I breast-fed, you mean?"
She,(Lips pursed): I meant recent.
Hmph, Charming eh? Might as well just call me an old bag and be done with it.
Me: (peeved) I had a breast reduction four or five years back."
Me (pointing): Here.
She (long-sufferingly): No. Where??"
Me: Oh, right, sorry - in Liverpool.
She: Any implants?
Me: No, it was a reduction.
She: And any problems?
Me, (head tilted, eyes skyward and getting ready to launch into one): Oh my, yes, yeah, oh boy and how! Loads and loads.. Sheesh, you have no idea - "
She: Okay then, strip off to the waist for me.
(A wee bit put out at being cut so short in my lamentations, I reluctantly proceed to disrobe.)
She, (still filling out her chart): If you would just step forward to the plate, please?
(I do as bid.)
She (stopped short, eyes wide): Has your breast bone always gone in like that?
Me (puzzled, staring down at it): Yes.
We both assess my newly offending breast bone for a few moments.
Me: Well, the surgeon never seemed to notice it, no one has ever mentioned it before.
She: Aye, well, that's men for you. Maybe it's that that made the operation more difficult?
Me (indignant): Um, doesn't every one's breast bone curve inwards?"
She (scrutinising me more fully): Oh no, no, not at all, nowhere near anywhere like this.
Me (in defence of my now allegedly freaky breast bone): There was nothing at all wrong with the surgery, that was all fine as it happens, it was the nasty infection I got afterwards that posed the problem.."
She (lifting my right breast up and tugging it to the plate, almost yanking me off my feet as she does): So, are you prone to infection then?
Me (Giving that fresh boil on my bum urgent thought, worried I might need to further strip): Er, well yes, maybe, I suppose I could be.
She: So there you go then, no one's fault, just luck of the draw, eh? You most likely have that bug up your nose.
Me (WTF??): Eh?
She: Strephicilitus. It's nasty if it enters the bloodstream. You should always wash your hands.
Bloody cheek - as if I'd admit to picking my nose, and that's even if I do - which I don't, at least not as far as you lot are concerned, okay? Before I can draw the breath to refute these spurious allegations, she slams the top plate down hard on to my poor, tenderised breast, firmly mashing it against the matching holding plate beneath, successfully nullifying any semblance of conscious thought from my brain.
She (swiftly pressing a tightening button to better capture and mangle me all the further): Stay put, now.
Well, 'scuse me, being as how I am so firmly now pinned by the tit, am I likely to be running off anywhere soon? I allow myself a fleeting mental image of half of her ladies ripping their right breasts clean off, as they make a desperate lunge for the window..
As she steps behind a screen the seconds span out. To fill up the silence, I raise my voice slightly to share a reflection (no, not the last fleeting one, credit me with some sense).
Me: Wonder how the menfolk would like to have their John Thomas's slapped between one of these..?
She: (reappearing with a frown): Oh now, they don't have it that easy with their prostates, no, not at all. I mean, you know how homophobic most guys are.. they need to take a full two fingers up their arse, so's they do, it's not a very pleasant experience at all, y'know. Well, it's not for the most of them.
She thankfully unlocks my numb boob, and I take a deep breath as she repositions me to repeat the process on my left breast.
Me (squirming): Um, that's a bit too tight..
She (feigning deafness): Stay still now.
She scuttles off again. Ow, ow, ow, this hurts, I mean, it really hurts, it's slicing into me now. My poor little sisters are gonna' be returned home all bruised and squished by the time we get through.
She (re-entering the room): There now, that wasn't so bad was it?
It obviously isn't for her.
She unlocks me from her contraption and tells me to wait, she needs to check that the x-ray's haven't blurred. Scuttling into my best "doctor's-visit", A.K.A. "if-I-ever-have-the-good-fortune-to-get-lucky-with-Johnny-Depp" bra, I feel a sharp prod in my back.
She: Where do you think you're going? I am not done with you yet, get that thing off again, I'm not even half the way through.
(Apparently, you need to have a full set of vertical as well as the horizontal pictures taken.) I thought it might be worth venturing I have absolutely no history whatsoever of breast cancer running in my family..
She: That's nothing to get smug about, only five per cent of breast cancer is down to it being hereditary.
I grit my teeth and endure the (wo)man-handling as best I can, hugely relieved when I'm finally dismissed.
She: It'll be next year when we'll write you with the result.
Me (as eager for the door as a kid for Christmas): That's fine! See you again in five years time..
She (nailing me with a stare): No, it'll be in two years time, all being well.
Me (surprised): Huh??
She: The over 50's are at a higher risk.
Sheesh, yeah, and a very Merry Christmas to you too, you little ray of sunshine! And to think, I actually had the temerity to wake up quite cheerful this morning.
(Can hardly wait to see what my Gynaecological appointment with Mr. Divers holds in store for me, next week..)