Thursday, July 12, 2007

Playing the odds~


A woman's business-like voice on the answering machine said, "Good morning. This call is for Mrs. . . ., followed by a familiar pause while she struggled, and failed, to pronounce my name correctly.

It's much simpler to pronounce than to spell: Do let. Accent on the let.

Douillette. It looks awful with the French word "oui" in there with the two Ls and the two Ts. I make my fifth graders learn to spell it early in the year.

I tell them "oui" is the French word for yes, and I like to say "yes." I tell them I have three sets of twins in my name: Ls, Ts, and . . . can they find the other twins? (This is why I come home starved for adult conversation at the end of each day.)

"Mrs. Dow wah let ee. You have an appointment at the clinic tomorrow at eight," she said.

Eight! First of all, since when do I ever schedule anything that early? And second of all, now that the appointment draws nigh, I'm not so sure I will go through with it.

I have two tests scheduled. A mammogram, and a bone density screening, both scheduled by my doctor at my last physical exam. I thought, why not. I might as well know the state of my bones. As for the mammogram, I once lost track of time and went five years without one. When I found a lump, I vowed never to be so careless with time and my body again. Thankfully, after surgery the lump was found to be benign, but I've tried not to tempt fate since then.

But I find myself wondering if the mammogram might end up causing what it is designed to detect. Besides, cancer does not run in my family. Heart disease does, and I'm drinking my medicine at this very moment: red wine.

As for the bone density test, I just Googled it, and found out it's for woman over 65. What's with that? I have nine years. Maybe it's for a baseline reading, but what's the point? I don't want Fosamax.

I think of the trees I see on my walks, trees that have been eaten secretly by insects on the inside until they are honeycombed and fragile in their cores. They snap and crash in a zephyr after withstanding hurricanes for decades.

I don't want to be like those trees. I don't think I will be.

Besides eight a.m.? What was I thinking? I'll wait a while, sleep late tomorrow, think about this, Google some more, and maybe reschedule for a later time of day. Maybe I'll wait nine years.

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