The Mole


It all started with that mole.
You see, a little time had elapsed since my last checkup.
You know how it goes.
You get a letter from your doctor and you and set it aside and you think, "Yeah I'll call her later."
And then you get another letter from your doctor.
This one says something about being overdue for a mammogram.
So, you put it in your purse so that you will be sure to call the number tomorrow over your lunch break.
And then you get another letter about that other procedure.
So, you put it with your other letters in your purse.
And more letters keep on arriving.
So, you decide that on your day off, which is next Friday, you will call that number and you will set everything up.
And then the next month another letter is delivered.
And you think, "Shit. I have GOT to give them a call."

And then your work announces that they are switching over to a new insurance company.
And then Spring arrives.
And then you get a new insurance card in the mail.
And then another Spring arrives.
And along comes another insurance card with your name on it from yet another insurance company that your work has decided to give a whirl.
And then one lovely Saturday spring morning, during a cleaning spree, the kind with music drifting out your wide-open kitchen windows and the furnace running, you throw away all those outdated letters that have been stuffed into your cubby located next to the fridge.
You promise yourself right then and there that the very next time you get one of those letters, you are going to call.
No stalling.
You will pick up your phone.
And you will schedule all those old age tests that you have been avoiding, as well make an appointment for a complete physical.
It is aggravating when those letters arrive.
Do you know what goes by completely unnoticed?
Aggravating letters that do not arrive.
One day you step out of the shower and start drying yourself off. And as you are doing the back shimmy with your towel you feel something odd.
You try to look in the mirror, but it is not a good angle.
So, you call your sweet Sven over and you say, "Honey, does that mole on my back look weird?"
And he says, "Yeah, it does. It's got a little thing coming out of it."
"What kind of a little thing?"
"Just a little thing. You'd better get that checked out. It looks like it might be alive."
Of course, this kind of news rarely occurs unless you are already in your darkest hour just trying to figure out how to come back to the light.
But I am no fan of mortality.
Especially my own.
So, even though I was super depressed and didn't feel like it, I looked up my doctor's number in the phone book, because I didn't have any letters anymore.
And I made the call.
Do you know what the guy on the phone said to me?
He says, "It looks like the last time you were here was in 2007."
"Really?" I must not have gotten any notifications," I said.
I promptly made an appointment for somebody to look at the creature growing on my back.
And as long as I was on the phone, I went ahead and scheduled a physical.
I felt so grown up.
Which is understandable.
I am sixty.
And then, almost immediately, the old Millie Noe made a doctor's appointment syndrome, kicked in,
and I remembered why I never make doctor appointments, unless of course I am sure that I am dying.
Now, I am not blaming the doctor's office, that I missed my hair cut. I knew that it was on Thursday. But it was on Tuesday. And it is also not their fault that I missed my dentist appointment.
Because I just fucking forgot it.
But too many appointments will mess a person up.
Everything is out of sync, including your alarm clock.
Because you have it set to go into work early, making it as black as night when you get up, because you refuse to stay late, in order to fit all of your appointments into your week and still come out with forty hours of work.
I took a long lunch on a Thursday, only to find out that the mole with a life of its own who was sitting on my back, was nothing more than a nuisance.
"It's not dangerous," the physician's assistant said. "It's just a harmless part of aging."
I could have scheduled to have the guy removed, but nuisance removal is not covered by insurance.
That was fine by me.
I was used to him anyway and it would have meant another appointment. But I thought her eyes were going to pop out and hit me in the face when she took my blood pressure.
"It's fine," I told her. "You don't understand. You see, I am upset right now. I was in the middle of a time sensitive situation at work and I had to leave on account of this appointment. And then I blew right by this building and I had to turn around. And then I didn't know where to go to pay my co-pay, since it's been a while. Not to mention that I was pretty sure that I had skin cancer, which would have put a wrench in our vacation to Punta Cana that is coming up in February. Because I love the sun and the ocean. And I would have had to spend the whole time in the rain forest, swatting bugs, next to Sven, who would be in all his glory, studying plants."
"Huh?" She says.
And then she told me that I would be getting a phone call about a setting up a colonoscopy. And then she scheduled me for a mammogram on the following Monday. And then for a blood pressure re-check, the Tuesday, after the following Monday. Even after hearing my fine excuse as to why it had landed in the hypertension zone.
That was a lot of appointments for Millie Noe.
And not one of them was a pedicure.
"You do realize that you are going to have to make up for all those years that you haven't been contributing to the medical system, don't you?" says my friend Bev at the picnic table on a warmer than average October day, the next afternoon.
"Maybe if I just cut them a check, they could leave me out of it," I said, peeling a perfectly boiled, boiled egg.
"That might work," she says, piling her Thai spiced tuna on a cracker.
"How much do you think it will take?" I said.
"A million dollars."
"When's your physical?"
"November twenty-first."
"How long did you say it's been?"
"Ten years."
"That's not good, Millie. You'll be coming out of there in a full body cast once they discover all the broken bones you've never reported."
My mammogram went fine, except for the results.
So, I had to schedule another one.
That went fine too, except for the results.
"They seem to be particularly interested in my right breast," I told Bev at the picnic table on another warmer than average October day. "It has always been the more popular of the two."
"Are you worried?" she says.
"No, the left one is totally used to it."
"I see," says Bev.
"They say I have some calcifications in there."
"I've heard of that," she says. "Are they dangerous?"
"I doubt it. I'm not a doctor," I said, "But it seems only natural to me that boobs as old as mine are, are going to start fossilizing at some point. They, however, are persistent as all get out. So, on Halloween I have to make a return appearance to have a biopsy."
"It won't be that bad. They say it's a lot less painful than carbon dating."
"Do you think I should dress up?"
"For your appointment?"
"My sister Louisa thinks I should go as a couple of fried eggs."


Like my mom likes to say, "Do as I say. Not as I do."

I say, Go to see your doctor.
Every year.
Even if you don't like it.

I have been assured that no matter what the results are from the carbon dating, I should be fine.
Because I got in early.

So, I am not going to make a mountain out of a mole hill.
Unless of course, that mole hill turns into a mountain.

And I will respect moles from here on out.

I am flippant by nature.
So, I mean no disrespect to all who have and who are suffering from breast cancer.

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