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


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