The Brush

IMG_2063I had a bit of a scare yesterday. Spent a good chunk of the day at Massachusetts General Hospital, or MGH as we locals call it, wearing the lovely blue gown, open at the front, and the white plastic bracelet.

My friend Mary heard about my symptoms the night before. She’s an RN who worked in the ICU in this very hospital before her kids came. She offered to come with me but by Mac was also having symptom so I had to stop first at the Apple Store and sort that out and I knew she wouldn’t want to come along on that errand.

The Apple store guy pressed various buttons in various combinations as we did a little looking around in the laptop’s brain and all was well. I bought a second external disk drive because that’s what careful worriers do and I am for sure one of those. I mean what if I lost every essay I have written every week since the fall of 1980 – and almost 1500 blog posts? That would be so sad for me. Not for the world of course, but for me.

I got to hospital at last at 2:45, made my way up to the sixth floor offices of the Internal Medicine Associates, walked in –  and there was Mary.

She came in to the exam room with me as I described and then revealed the source of concern. I had just had a mammogram in April so what was this?

“We can do another mammogram,” said the nurse practitioner who was so cheerful and smart.

“And an ultrasound?” said Mary.

“Sure.  We can do an ultrasound. Let me see what’s available.” She scrolled and scrolled through images on her computer screen. “How’s 8:30 tomorrow in Danvers?” she said.

“Anything today?” said Mary. “Anything right now?”

It was by then almost 4pm.

“Let me see.” she said and disappeared briefly from the room.

Mary and I talked more with each other and then all three of us talked together when the nurse practitioner returned.

Then her phone rang. “Got it.” she said into the mouthpiece, then turned toward us. “If you go downstairs to the Breast Center RIGHT NOW…

We went and within 90 minutes both the mammogram and the ultrasound had been done and read and I had talked with not one but two radiologists who confirmed that there was no mass.

Mary and I parted with a hug, I drove home, pulled up outside the church that has been my spiritual home since that same fall of 1980 and breathed.

I called David who was eyebrows-deep in yard-work and so could not get away. “I’m going to get a bite at Lucia’s and catch my breath,” I said. I had peppers and onions and fragrant grilled chicken and a glass of Chianti Classico and three glasses of water. There was a young singer with her guitar in the room where the bar was but the room I was in had only happy toasting diners. People love to be together over food though, don’t they?

I read my book a little and though I meant to write in my diary I was too distracted.

I left the restaurant just as darkness became complete and took this picture of one of the ornamental streetlamps, hung as they are in summer with these wonderful baskets.

I put the picture up on Facebook later last night. “A beautiful evening to be alive in “I wrote under the picture and thought of all the people I know and love, who struggle now with illness or loss, and do not have the easy happy ending that was mine today.

streetlamp hung with flowers

 

Author: Terry Marotta

I am syndicated columnist, blogger and author who loves any chance to give talks about the ease of first-person writing.

15 thoughts on “The Brush”

  1. Terry, So happy for you and for all of us who love you and your writing. As Roricius said to Aeonius: You have watered our minds with the most pure fountain of your tender heart.
    Now get back to work!! -Frank

  2. So glad for you Mugs! i know all about the different endings with a dear one who is in the grips of Rx but with very good results. Thank the stars and planets and the fantastic supporters in her life. You know what I mean since you had Mary.

  3. Terry, so glad for your happy ending. I too had a scare that could have been avoided if the technician had put a circle sticker over a raised blood dot on my breast. The radiologist read it as something inside the breast and I was called back for another mammogram, which was done by another technician who did put the sticker on. Turned out they were the exact same place and I could breath free like you! I refused to pay for the second test, hoping my intransigence would prevent such negligence from happening to another woman.

  4. So happy that all turned out well! And, I always count my blessings when I think of how lucky we are to have access to the finest hospitals in the world!

  5. Terry, I’m rarely on anyone’s blogs but I am happy I did it today. I am sooooo happy at the good result on the breast! I’m coming up on 6 years cancer free and feel so blessed to have had such great care at Dana Farber. They also caught an aortic aneurysm which I have been in the care of a vascular surgeon at the Brigham and Women’s for almost 6 years. Time has come for surgery, which I will have later in October. We are all so blessed to be living near all our wonderful hospitals in Boston. A knee replacement a year and a half ago and feel so great better, thanks to the doctors at the N.E. Baptist Hospital.
    Love to you T on this great news.

    ML

    1. ML I somehow didn’t see this until now!
      Thanks so much for such a lovely warm message.. Just wonderful that you are now six years ‘out’!
      We are indeed blessed, all around. Hoping to see you very soon and learn more about your brand new hinge joint they are getting ready to give you!🙂
      Much love
      Tez

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