Monday, January 24, 2005

Momento Mori

CT Scan this morning.

I don't mind CT scans, especially when, like today's, they don't require wearing a hospital gown or drinking contrast in instant lemonaide. I had an appointment for 9:30, got there by 9:10. I didn't know if I'd have to drink contrast, but I knew if I did, they have to wait twenty minutes after I'd drink it to do the scan, so I thought if I got there early, I could drink it and have a shot at getting out in time to take my mother to lunch.

Luckily, no contrast to drink.

There is a kind of waiting room culture. A set of behaviors. There were three people in the waiting room, all sitting the requisite two or three seats from everyone else. As a waiting room veteran, I have a serious interest in what magazines are available. I checked out the magazine stacks but it was all Sports Illustrated and Time. My preference for waiting rooms is People Magazine. I think I've mentioned before that I like People because if I get called in the middle of an article, who cares? I may never learn what caused Brad and Jennifer to break up, but I can live with that. The other people there, all looking in their fifties and sixties, and all with their own hair, were wearing their coats and waiting with their hands folded. The waiting rooms are warm and I get very warm these days, so I took off my coat and hat (I was wearing a scarf under the hat but it was pretty apparent I have no hair.) I realize, in retrospect, that my behavior is screaming 'chronic condition'. Everything I was doing indicated that I was way too familiar with the $1,200 procedure I'm about to get. I sat down and they called me right in, before the other people waiting, which surprised me a bit.

The CT Scan, from putting coat and all in the locker, to getting settled and getting the IV to the actual scan, to back to the locker to get purse and stuff, took about ten minutes and then I was back out into the waiting room. As I walked through the waiting room, I was suddenly aware that every person in the waiting room was watching me walk through and out the door. Not subtly, but obviously. Staring.

A CT Scan is a diagnostic, a way of looking inside. People get a CT Scan to find out what is wrong. Bald ladies who know the drill are a vision of a possible future. The worst kind of future.

A walking momento mori.

It was very weird.


Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Any results from the CT yet?

January 25, 2005 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Maureen,

I really enjoy your fiction. Some of your novels, (Mission Child is my favourite), mean a lot to me. I check up on your work, from time to time, over the internet waiting for an announcement of a new novel. This time, I found your blog. I enjoy your writing. Please accept my best wishes, and sincerest hope for a speedy recovery.

A reader from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

January 25, 2005 11:16 AM  
Blogger Heather Mackin said...

Maureen!!! Your writing is so awesome. I love to read how you write about everyday things (well I guess none of this is "everyday" stuff). It gives me such strength knowing that you're out there just a few steps ahead of me. Thank you fo that! I get my treatment at noon on thursday so I too will be thinking of you at 1:30EST! Take care!

January 25, 2005 9:49 PM  
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