We sit on a bench, all five of us, like birds on a wire for the shooter’s bullets. But our fates will be less dramatic. With blind obedience to experts who we hope really know better, we are set on the simple mission of finding out what a machine has to say about what our insides look like.
Because circumstance has forced us into each other’s company, we pleasantly exchange complaints about the length of time that we have been made to wait. It is almost noon. Three of my companions haven’t had breakfast yet and have swallowed eight glasses of water each for the procedure. We laugh when the oldest among us makes a mad scramble for the comfort room because she has already partially peed in her pants. We laugh harder when she gamely returns with another giant bottle of water and begins drinking again. The sign on the door says in all caps, “DO NOT URINATE.”
The mood becomes even lighter when our water guzzler shares part of her story. She says that the other day, it was at the mammogram section that she had an appointment. She says that it was so damn painful that she swore she would never consent to another one even if her illness killed her. Her seatmate counters that her mammogram was not as painful and that perhaps it was because she had a generously endowed front. We then make what could be a misguided conclusion--- that all frontally challenged females are at a disadvantage with mammograms.
More amusing stories pour in from the others. I am only half listening. The life growing inside me and perhaps the hormones involved in its growth seem intent on beating the living daylights out of me. I still continue to shoot bile projectiles and the infection that is the result of my rising sugar levels has made every moment seem like a trip to la la land. But my companions, without even knowing my internal agony have a way of dispelling my distress. They start to talk about their ailments.
Two have large breast masses. One has four myomas in her uterus. The other one has a bleeding, inflamed cervix that has grown so large that even her doctor has a hard time recognizing it. Three of them hold on to previous medical reports with the words “malicious” and “suspicious” printed on them. The strange part is that they all continue to laugh while they tell their stories. They laugh too at the suggestion that women seem to have hordes of ailments to watch out for. The one with the bleeding cervix sums everything up by saying that worrying can do nothing. What else is there left to do but to laugh?
I am the only one among us who is pregnant and not seriously sick. That puts things into perspective.
There it is again. Despite being 100% Filipino, this Filipino penchant for laughing at everything never ceases to amaze me.
*Photo from Free Stock Photos
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