I hate being late. I don’t know where this hatred of lateness comes from. I’ve gone through the worst-case scenario of what could possibly happen if I were late, and it usually doesn’t involve death or dismemberment. Usually.
But I have nothing to worry about today, for I have scheduled plenty of time to drive to mall, walk to the office, and check in for my mamm-appointment.
In the lobby of the Professional Building, tho, I experience the cold panic of uncertainty. This doesn’t look right. Is this where I get my mammogram? I can’t remember the name of the office, and the directory doesn’t list anything obvious, like Boobs Squashed Here or Slammogram Express. Shoot. I should’ve confirmed where the mammo-site was when I made the appointment. How do they expect us to remember these things after a whole year has passed and studies have shown that even recreational drug use can impair memory?
I do see “Midwest Women’s Health”; that must be it, right? There’s another woman waiting for the elevator, and because she has giant circus boobs, I figure we’re headed for the same place. Looking only mildly offended, she tells me she’s not, in fact, mammo-bound, but she agrees that the Women’s Health suite might be the place.
It’s not. The receptionist directs me to Nordstrom’s. Gosh darn it!
Nordstrom’s is wa-a-a-ay at the other end of the mall. Like, 17 miles away. I’m the fastest walker I know, but I’m no match for all the monster-truck-sized strollers that have suddenly materialized. Why are babies allowed at the mall? When I was a baby, I didn’t get to go ANYwhere. And I certainly didn’t get to travel in a stroller the size of a taxi.
It’s hot and humid. Let the sweating begin! But JD, I hear you say, surely you applied deodorant before leaving the house? No, smart-ass, I did not. You’re not supposed to use deodorant on mammo-day. Why? I don’t know. It’s not my armpit they’re shoving into a vice and compressing into the approximate thickness of a sheet of paper.
AND now it’s raining. I’m walking fast—really fast, and sweating. And I’m going to be late. Oh, God. LATE!
Once in Nordstrom’s, I see the “Mammography Suite” sign right away. But . . . the hell? The Mammography Suite is not only empty, it looks like it’s been deserted since World War II. A sign helpfully tells me the suite is moving upstairs on August 2, but it’s still July! Where are they? I poke my head in all the rooms but find only a crumpled-up paper gown.
Fighting back tears, I run to the perfume counter and ask breathlessly where the mammograms are. Upstairs? Even tho it’s clearly NOT August 2? Fine. Upstairs.
It’s a lie. There’s nothing resembling a mammography suite upstairs. I ask the concierge, who tells me the mammography suite is closed—CLOSED!—until August 2. I’m flummoxed. “But they told me Old Orchard!” I whined, noticing that I’m already 6 minutes late.
“Well, there’s the place on Woods Drive.”
Dammnit! THAT’s where I go. They call it the Old Orchard facility because it’s off Old Orchard road. Idiots.
I try not to speed, but that is my normal driving mode, so I simply try not to kill anyone. I squeal into the parking lot and tear into the building. By now I’m a sodden, sweaty, panicked mess.
“MAMMOGRAM???!!!” I scream.
Downstairs. The sign next to the elevator says “LL” but the elevator button says “B.” WHICH IS IT? Are they the same? You need to be more clear about this, building designers. Anxious, soaking-wet, sobbing mammo-patients do not have time to pick over these semantic details.
OK. I’m there. I’m 20 minutes late. The receptionist is extremely judgmental. She gets on the phone and says, “Your 3:00 is here, and your 2:40 JUST. NOW. SHOWED. UP. Should I have her wait?”
She tells me that I can wait and they will try to squeeze me in. I’m so flustered I don’t even make a bad joke about being squeezed in.
So I was late. Big deal. In the end, what was the worst that happened? I lost 4 pounds from sweating, I screamed at a couple of people, I burst into tears at Nordstrom’s, and I got a blister from speed-walking in flip-flops.
Oh, and I may have knocked over a baby stroller or two.