I spent a lot of time exploring my body. Hang on, that doesn’t sound quite right. What I mean to say is, I like to constantly be in touch with my own body. Okay, that’s not right, either. My body is a wonderland. I don’t even know why I just said that.
What I am trying to say is that as I have gotten older I have started to pay closer attention to my body and to my physical well-being. I think we all have to do that as we get older. We have to check ourselves out, literally, to make sure nothing has appeared or disappeared or grown or shrunk or tightened or loosened or sagged or ulcered or bulged or inflamed. I really hope you are not eating.
Once we hit forty our bodies go through a lot of changes. Even if we are in really good shape things start to slow down. Our metabolism slows down, our reflexes slow down, sometimes we become slightly more forgetful. I don’t want to alarm anyone who isn’t there yet, but you should know that a day will come when you leave your keys in the freezer and try to start your car with a bagel. You should also know that studies have shown that after age fifty there is a 97 percent chance you will pull your groin while putting on a bathing suit. It is a proven fact. You can do the research on your own time.
I actually pulled my groin after running a few years ago. I don’t even exactly know how I did it. All I know is when it happened I was right in the middle of a forest and it ruined everything. The problem with pulling your groin, besides pulling your groin, is that there isn’t a delicate way to treat it. Whenever I pull a muscle in my back, I get a massage to make it feel better. When you pull a muscle in your groinal region, it is much trickier. You cannot ask a stranger to massage it. That’s why I had to ask my male babysitter to do it. And I will be honest – at first, it was awkward. But then it was beautiful.
We have to take care of ourselves as we age and that includes getting procedures done that are invasive, uncomfortable, and at times what many would refer to as “third date territory”. One of those procedures is a colonoscopy. I had my first colonoscopy years ago because of reassuring intestinal pains. I am sure you all know what it entails, but if you don’t I will explain it as best I can. Basically, a colonoscopy is a procedure where a camera starts downtown and travels uptown.
I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I went in for my colonoscopy. First of all, because of my work schedule, I had to get mine done on a Saturday. Luckily, there was a little kiosk close to the place that did the colonoscopy. Next door was an ear-piercing place. Weird, I thought.
The first thing I had to do when I got there was put on a gown. I think it was by Chanel. I don’t normally wear gowns, but this was a beautiful one – open in the back and slightly off the shoulders. They made me take everything off except my socks. I guess they let you keep those on so that don’t feel totally naked. As it turns out, even with socks on you still feel totally and completely naked. I don’t know what they are thinking. Socks or no socks, all the important parts are still out and about.
After I was in my gown and socks, the doctor came in and greeted me. She was also wearing a gown so I tried to make a joke like, “Hey, isn’t it embarrassing that we are wearing the same gown?” She laughed but she was holding a needle at the time, so it suddenly felt like a scene from Misery. Right away she started to give me sleepy-time drugs. That’s the medical term. And all I remember after the sleepy-time drugs is saying, “I gotta get -” and that’s it. I was out for the rest of the procedure. When you wake up, it’s a little disorienting. You are not sure where you are.
Another routine procedure that every woman needs to get is a mammogram. Now, the word “mammogram” makes it sound like it is going to be a fun experience. You think a cute little grandma is going to show up at your door to sing you a happy birthday song or something. Unfortunately, that is not the case. A mammogram is less like a fun song and more like an industrial-strength sandwich press.
The difference between a colonoscopy and a mammogram – well, there are a few differences obviously. One takes place above the equator and one takes place below it. But the other difference is that with a mammogram you are fully aware of what is going on. You don’t need any drugs to knock you out because it is not a painful procedure. It is just uncomfortable and awkward, especially given the fact that you are standing face-to-face with the technician working the machine. At least, it is awkward for me anyway, because inevitably I have t make small talk. Talking about small talk: Don’t you think it is weird when a dentist asks you all kinds of questions while your mouth is stuffed with these cotton things and wide open and a million other things are going on in your mouth? Or the small talk the gynaecologist makes while he is between your legs examining you? One more question while I am at it: Does a trans-woman go see a urologist dressed as a woman or dressed like a man? Or does a trans-woman see a gynaecologist? I am asking for a friend.
I cannot believe they haven’t yet come up with a better screening process than the mammogram. If a man had to put his special parts inside a clamp to test him for anything, I think they would come up with a new plan before the doctor finished saying, “Put that thing there so I can crush it.”
I am getting away from my point. My point is, these tests are very important. And I don’t mind telling you all about my groin, my colon, and my breasts if it means helping you take care of yourself. I just thought of something else I could share with you. Would you like to hear about one of my moles? Okay. Moving on.