It’s been a while since I’ve had to visit the friendly ladies at the University of Maryland Women’s Health department. And after today’s appointment I can only bet that their office is a lot less awkward now that I’m officially post postpartum. It practically began the moment I hit the door.
Because their administrative team is trying to be, you know, ethical and all, they needed to see my driver’s license, which Zoey had apparently relocated in my wallet while playing “make Mom even more disorganized” this morning. When I tried to give them my Loyola ID the darling behind the desk educated me, saying the card was “way expired” and that I look very different now. My guess is she didn’t mean this as a compliment, unless she’s really into nylon headbands and neck acne. My follow-up about being an amateur identity thief didn’t speed things along one bit.
Once I passed this first test, I was brought to a shoe-box sized exam room. All I can say is it’s like my social ineptitude has claustrophobia. Things quickly plummeted downhill, starting with the scale and what on paper would look like an easy set of directions: “Step up.” Well apparently you have to step up not a milisecond too soon or too late. Let’s cut to the chase and say this took about five tries and a personal coach.
And I couldn’t let the poor nurse off easy. She had to endure a little more discomfort before the doctor could relieve her. While I have no fear of needles and would easily place if vaccinations were a professional sport (worth noting here: I do not do drugs) getting my blood pressure taken sends me into full-blown crazy. Feeling a little vulnerable from the cognitive scale test I had just failed, when she strapped the cuff on my arm and turned on the machine I naturally grabbed her hand for comfort. This is one of those things you can’t really back out of once it happens. We’re here. We’re weird. And we’re committing to it.
Where I should have reeled it in was complimenting her hair, adding “I could never pull that off”, not a necessary insight since it was a weave and I am white.
So that’s where they should have escorted me out, but they didn’t. Once the nurse left I had time to sit and think. TIme to relax. Is that ever what I do? No! Because once you get me in one of those exhibitionist’s moo-moo’s I turn hyper vigilant. I swaddle myself so tight, tuck all the ends in around edges, and just wait for night to come… I’m betting this routine looks much like that of someone trying to smuggle an illegal substance onto a flight by way of her pants. I just count the minutes until I can jump back into my jeggings.
I could hear the doctor in the room next to mine. Sounded like she was really laughing it up with this lady and her newborn. Of course, my objective then moved from getting some pretty serious questions answered to entertaining my midwife. I felt like I did a pretty good job with this. I was winning the “Most Liked Patient” contest until she started talking about a Vitamin D deficiency that I impulsively rolled my eyes at and then received a lecture on sunscreen and S.A.D. and something about the tilt of the earth. Moral of the story is I’m two days late to catch rays that would do me any good now that we’ve officially entered fall. Drat.
I was free and clear. Just needed to get dressed and make my way out of the office. But before I could reach the front desk a nurse stopped me to talk about a survey I might be receiving in the mail. Thing is, I’ve been a consistent client of this medical center for two years now, I have yet to be randomly selected for this survey, and I’m starting to feel a little bit snubbed! All of this was said out loud. Except for the last part where I started tripping myself up and instead of finding “snubbed” landed on and went with “snuffed.” So for my last act, I announced to a room full of Baltimore inner-city residents that I felt snuffed. Knowing it was not right and possibly offensive, I grabbed my complimentary (minus the $500/hr doctor) Breast-Cancer Awareness Month themed peppermint patty and made my exit.
Dear Clients and Staff of University of Maryland Women’s Health,
I am so, so sorry that you have had to manage me for the last two years. And I am so grateful for the work you do and for the peppermint patties, which I think are awesome. Just like you (and I would be happy to write this out if you would send me one of those precious little surveys.)
(as the I.D. will confirm) Katherine Churn Cashin