Wednesday, March 2, 2011

There's a First Time for Everything...

I left the house with no deodorant on. I'm not a particularly smelly individual--I don't think--so this isn't really a huge deal but it certainly wasn't something I wanted to do. Several weeks ago, at my annual girly appointment, my doctor and I decided to have me go in for a mammogram. I don't have a family history of breast cancer but I did have what seemed to be a cyst and we thought that a baseline would be a good idea. So I left the house with no deodorant. Because they told me to.

In a little over a month I'm speaking at a conference here in the valley. My topic is about not worrying and I have really been trying to practice what I'll be preaching speaking about. I can't even begin to tell you some of the horror stories I've heard about mammograms. Of course I've heard the standard lines about how they aren't that bad but those are mixed with tales of complete and total bosom carnage. I hardly knew what to expect. Would I be one of the lucky ones who felt merely a small discomfort? Not likely. I'm the girl who got her epidural while dilated to two. It seemed more certain that I'd be the one grinding her teeth under the sheer pain of mangled mammaries. So, on my way to the hospital, I tried not to think about the what ifs. What if it hurts like crazy? No, who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? What if it comes back that something is wrong? Don't worry! What if I get situated into the machine and the fire alarm goes off and the technician decides to save herself and flees the scene leaving me to burn to death, trapped by one compromised body part? Do not worry about your life...or about your body...

So I was not worrying. Except about the part that by then I was probably starting to stink. I was listening to KLove and driving along, glancing down, every now and then, to see how much time I had before the appointment. I checked the light in front of me and my rear view mirror. I passed a cop car coming toward me. I glanced at my speedometer. 50 in a 45. My dad's been a cop for my entire life. I know that 50 in a 45 will not get me a ticket unless the cop is a total crazy cake. The car whipped around, zoomed up behind me and put on its flashing lights. Cue immense amounts of sweat unprotected by a layer of deodorant.

"I'm going to be late for my incredibly unpleasant squashing!" I thought as I pulled the car over. It wasn't that I'd been trying to speed. I wasn't over the limit in an attempt to get there any sooner. I was simply not paying a great deal of attention to the speedometer. Instead I'd been busy pushing any thought of a chest massacre out of my mind.

The cop sauntered--in actuality he probably walked quickly but I was afraid I'd be late so it felt like sauntering--up to my car and asked for my license, registration and proof of insurance. I was driving Troy's car (not exactly a bastion of organization) so it took me awhile to find the registration and insurance card. "I'm sorry. It's my husband's car. It'll take me just a second," I said.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?" He asked.

"No," I replied. See, I really didn't think he'd pull me over for going 50 in a 45. So I thought things like, You couldn't see the ring from across the street and thought you'd ask for a date for Friday night. Because, really, I have zero business being a pastor's wife and occasionally even I don't know where my internal monologue comes from.

"Do you know the speed limit?"

"45." I stated.

"40." He replied. "And I got you going 53."

There was general confusion and the thought that I was going to miss the date with the smushing device and the sudden urge to cry so I merely said, "Okay. I'm on my way to a doctor's appointment." In retrospect I have no idea if this was intended to be a confession or a plea for mercy. What I wanted to say to him was, "Officer, I'm on my way to have a mammogram and I'm only 29! I'm too young to die in there, attached to a machine, while the building burns down and the technician thinks only of saving herself!" But, see, sometimes the line between speeding ticket and arrest for suspicion of recreational drug use is thin and I didn't want to give him any reason to detain me.

"I'll be right back," he said nicely.

When he returned, carrying "The Ticket" I looked into his eyes and thought, I've never had a speeding ticket, Officer. Never. Not once. In thirteen and a half years of driving. You're about to tarnish my perfect driving record. The second you sign your name to that piece of paper you are forever ruining my perfect record. Oh sure, it will be off in two years if I don't have to have another distracting mammogram but I'll know it was there!

And I realize that it's all my fault for being a distracted speeder--paying more attention to KLove and the Gospel of Matthew than the speedometer--but I wished that there was some way I could convey to him my pride in my driving record, just how much it meant to me that I'd never had a traffic violation.

"Here's what I did," he said, "I wrote the ticket for five over, instead of thirteen."

Now, here is where I have no business being a pastor's wife. A good pastor's wife would have said, "No, Officer. If I was going thirteen over, by all means, write the ticket for thirteen over. I deserve a punishment that fits the crime." What I thought was, Man, if only I'd had more time and wasn't worried about making it to the mammogram. I could have totally gotten out of the entire thing. I'd done absolutely nothing and gotten it knocked down 8 miles. A sincere smile, a tear, any number of acting techniques could have gotten me out of the other 5. What I actually said was, "Okay." And then he handed me my license back and I offered, "Thank you so much." What I was thanking him for I don't know, returning my license to me instead of suspending it for my great offense? Writing it for five instead of thirteen over? Giving me a ticket in the first place?

"You drive safe out there," he slapped the side of my car and was gone leaving me to ponder exactly what out there meant. It was more like I was suddenly driving in the middle of nowhere at midnight in a land filled with axe murderers and less like I was driving in Salt Lake county at one in the afternoon. It also made me feel like I'd been driving completely recklessly in the first place. Which, for the record--the tarnished driving record, that is--I hadn't.

I made it to my appointment on time. I disrobed from the waist up and experienced my first mammogram. Oh. My. Goodness...

The ticket was, by far, the worst part of the day. I have no idea why people tell horror stories about mammograms. The only time I felt even the slightest bit of discomfort was when one of my ribs got pinched up into the machine right along with the rest of my chest. It didn't hurt, it just made me feel like I couldn't adequately breath quite right. Otherwise there was no pain, whatsoever. In fact, I kept waiting for the pain to come, thinking that there must be more to it than that. When I got home, after I finished crying over the speeding ticket, Troy asked me how the rest of my afternoon was--the important part, the part where the hospital was going to catch fire and I was going to be left to die attached to an Xray device. I told him that I cannot believe there are people in the world who complain about them.

"Maybe it's different for people." the dear offered up.

"If you're thinking that maybe I have a higher threshold for pain, well," I turned my pointer finger around so it was facing me. "Girl who got the epidural at two, right here." That seemed to silence him.


  1. Yay for an easy mammo! But please don't tell me I read these words from you...

    "here is where I have no business being a pastor's wife. A good pastor's wife would have said, No, Officer. If I was going thirteen over,...."

    There is no such thing as "a good pastor's wife". you are your own version of a pastors wife and it's all good, ok?

    Kinda teasing here cause I know that you know better though. You're a lovely and wonderful wife and he is a pastor, that makes you a lovely and wonderful pastors wife. :)

  2. I'm impressed you managed to keep your thoughts to yourself!!! Whenever I've gotten pulled over (maybe 3 times) I always get nervous and start to ramble uncontrollably and before long the copper knows my whole stupid life story or something. I've never actually gotten a ticket though, and I'm not sure if it was because of whatever I said or if the cops just wanted to get the heck away from the overly chatty girl....

  3. Ok... I made it to 4 before getting my epidural and for ME the mammorgam I had hurt like HELL! Scientifically I think what it has to do with is breast tissue and the density. I wonder if it would hurt less now that I've nursed two kids.... density of the chest. I had my first and only mammogram to date when I was 20... DELIGHTFUL. UM NO! I'm fine putting that off for another 10 years... in fact that's one of the only reasons I'm not looking forward to aging... seriously.

  4. What were you thinking? Why didn't you happen to have Dad's business card in a plastic bag with your registration? Why didn't you hold said bag slightly out the window as you extracted your registration? I mean, it worked for me the two times I got pulled over in high school. Thanks, Dad!