Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blue Skies Smilin' at Me

File Photo:  I didn't snap any pix at Lubbock Radiology...
Today, the Meems and I went for our annual Mommy and Me Mammograms.  Here's the drill:  The Raider Ranch bus drops her off at Lubbock Radiology.  I meet her there.  We get mammograms.  She buys me lunch.  It's a tradition that began back in 2010.

Mom was taken back for her mammogram before me.  It took a long, long time.  I mentally "undressed" her...NOT LIKE THAT...more like...take.  off.  one.  shoe.  take.  off. the. other.  search.  purse.  for.  a.  kleenex.  blow.  nose.  It's a slow, methodical process.

After about 30 minutes, the technician came out to fetch me for my turn.  On the way to the changing room, she told me that they found a little place in Mom's  right breast that wasn't there last year.  Mom was waiting to go in for a sonogram of the spot.

Mom refers to her right breast as her "real one."  Twenty two years ago, she had a malignancy in her left breast.  It was removed.  She then had reconstruction.  All those years ago, my sister and I tag-teamed the nursing duty.  I was there for the mastectomy.  Kathy was there for the reconstruction.

I actually "won" that coin toss.  Back in "the day" at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas, the patient's room was kept toasty warm for 24 hours after reconstruction surgery to help with blood circulation or somesuch something.  It was summertime, and Temple, Texas, was sweltering hot and muggy.  All they had to do was open a window.  Nope.  They jacked up the thermostat.  So, when I called the room to check on Mom, Kathy answered the phone panting.  "It's SOOOOOOOO HOT in here!"  She gasped, "I'm about to strip down to my bra and panties and lay down on the tile floor.  It's got to be cooler on the tile floor!  I'm going to stretch out to see how much surface area of my body I can make come in contact with the floor.  In a little while, someone is going to have to come flip me like a pancake."  I hooted with hysterical laughter.  At her sweaty expense.

While Mom was waiting for her sonogram, I had a quick and uneventful mammogram.  Not counting the relative discomfort that accompanies the process.  I love it when the sweet technician tightens the screws until the skin on my neck is being pulled down to my shoulder and then asks, "You alright, Hon?"  "Yes.  Couldn't be better.  Nope.  Couldn't be better if I tried."

After the Big Squeeze, I put my shirt on and went down to sit with Mom who was then waiting for the doctor to tell her the sonogram results.  She was still on the table with a little white hand towel spread across her chest.  When I opened the door, she started awake.  She never misses an opportunity for a good 5 minute resting of the eyes.

Mom was as cool as a cucumber.  I was staring wide-eyed at the sonogram monitor thinking that if I concentrated really hard, the problem would pop out all plain as day like a picture in a Magic Eye book.  I got nothin'.  "Are we going to go eat when we're done?" the cool cucumber yawned."  "Of course!  You promised to buy  me lunch!" I replied trying to sound all cool and casual and jovial.  Kathy would have nailed cool, casual and jovial.  "I want a croissant," said she.  "I don't know, Mom...remember how long the line was a La Madeliene last time we went there around noon?"  "Oh, yeah.  I forgot."  I knew good and well that we would head to La Madeliene along with the lunch crowd, and I would stand in line for as long as it took.

In walked the doctor.  "Looks like you've got a 11mm (a little less than 1/2 an inch) mass in your right breast that you're going to need to get biopsied."  "Oh.  OK.  Are you going to do that now?" Mom asked like she was standing in line waiting for a croissant to be heated in the microwave.  The doctor explained that the biopsy would be done at the cancer center.  That's not scary, is it.

I asked a few questions trying not to sound concerned.  Mom simply laid on the table silently.  The doctor left.  I helped Mom get dressed.  I teased her like I always do.  "Don't worry!  I won't peek!" I said removing the hand towel from her chest.  She's always been a very modest Methodist girl.  "Oops!  Just kiddin'!  I totally peeked!" I then said.  She chuckled.  I fake chuckled.

We took 1000 baby steps to the car.  I buckled her in.  After I started the car and pulled out of the parking lot heading to La Madeliene, I heard her softly singing next to me.

"Blue skies....smiling at me....nothing but blue skies....do I see..."

My little 88 year old mother has seen many a dark, stormy sky during her lifetime.  Two of her three children are already in Heaven.  All 3 of her chocolate-pie-with-mile-high-meringue-eating brothers have also passed.  She is a breast cancer survivor.  She fully recovered from a broken hip and brain surgery - which she said was easy as...well...pie.

I joined in singing with her.  Neither of us could remember any of the other words to the song, so we just sang the same ones over and over during the short drive to La Madeleine.  Meems is a win-win kind of girl.  She will be happy every day she is on this planet.  She will be euphoric when she someday dances in Heaven.  Nothing but blue skies will she see.

I'll keep you posted.  For now, we will tag this situation as an "inconvenient circumstance."  

Here are the rest of the words to the song.  Read them in Willie Nelson's singing voice.  His is the best version.

Blue skies smilin' at me 
Nothin' but blue skies do I see 
Bluebirds singin' a song 
Nothin' but bluebirds all day long 

Never saw the sun shinin' so bright 
Never saw things goin' so right 
Noticing the days hurrying by 
When you're in love, my how they fly 

Blue days, all of them gone 
Nothin' but blue skies from now on 
(Blue skies smilin' at me 
Nothin' but blue skies do I see) 

Never saw the sun shinin' so bright 
Never saw things goin' so right 
Noticing the days hurrying by 
When you're in love, my how they fly 

Blue days, all of them gone 
Nothin' but blue skies from now on 
Nothin' but blue skies from now on