Friday, September 18, 2009

I've Been Violated...

I've been violated. No, really. I have. Allow me to explain. First of all, this has been a particularly disappointing—albeit, not surprising—week for me. After years and years of irresponsible eating habits and sedentary lifestyle, blood work from a recent dotor's visit revealed that I am now diabetic. Of course, this means a whole new lifestyle, including diet changes and medication. It also means I'm the proud new owner of a glucose testing meter. Okay, not proud, but an owner nonetheless. My doctor also checked my feet and legs. She told me that the discoloration on my lower left leg—the discoloration I've been ignoring because it didn't hurt—is due to blood pooling in the shin area. That discovery led to a referral to have an ultrasound on my leg to check circulation. So today I went to the hospital to have the procedure done. After checking in and getting my obligatory wrist band, I was led to the imaging waiting room by a volunteer. Less than ten minutes later—just as I had become engrossed in a scintillating article in Rural Arkansas touting the virtues of canned okra—a woman I can only describe as "of Asian descent" stepped into the waiting room and called out, "Ah-yen? Ah-yen...Simpson?"
Yeah, that's gonna be about as close as she gets, I thought. I followed her back to the procedure area into a small, dark room where an ultrasound machine sat blinking just to the right of a stretcher draped with sheets.
"You take pants off, leave underwear on," she announced loudly before slipping into an adjacent room where another tech sat reading a newspaper.
Alright, then. I wasn't sure why I needed to take my pants off to ultrasound my shin, but whatever. So I removed my pants and took a seat on the stretcher. She returned a moment later and began entering information into the computer.
"You lay down," she said briskly.
As I lay back on the stretcher, she draped a towel over my waist, and I began to get the idea that maybe my shin wasn't going to be the only thing involved. Without warning, she squirted a sputtering line of warm lubricant down my left leg from crotch to ankle. I jumped slightly but quickly regained my composure. However, it wouldn't last long, as her next move was to jab the ultrasound probe into my bad place where leg and crotch meet and begin digging around the way one might if one were milling grain using a mortar and pestle. I grabbed a handful of sheet with each hand and froze instantly. I've always heard how, in the event of a bear attack, you're supposed to play dead. I always imagined that it would be difficult to not move, to completely disengage your body from your brain—which is telling you to run as if Satan himself were chasing you with a belt sander—and just lie there while this animal determines whether or not it's going to rip you to shreds. I can now say with a fair amount of certainty that it's really not that difficult to lie still. Your body and brain seem to simultaneously realize that you are in crisis mode and agree that it's best if they part ways for a while. The tech finally gave up on my crotch and began maneuvering the probe down my leg. Every ten or fifteen seconds she would step back and press a few buttons on the machine, temporarily stopping the pulsing electronic whoosh, the sound of blood flow. After what seemed like an eternity, she abruptly took the probe away, stabbed a few final buttons on the machine, and threw a towel in my direction, all in what seemed like one deft movement.
"We all done. You clean off gel, then get dressed and go," she said dismissively. "Go left at double door and go out through waiting room."
As much as I wanted to stay and thank her for a magical afternoon, I was more than ready to go. Cleaning the gel off took a little more time and effort than I would have imagined, as she had somehow managed to smear it from the waistband of my underwear down to the inside of my sock. I wiped off as much as I could, then quickly got dressed in the dimly-lit room and headed out into the bright afternoon sun to go home and take a much-needed shower.