Monday, 6 February 2012

Another Première & Something About Being Kind

My previous post was about my Dad's 70th birthday, and as a première, I showed you a picture of my Mum (of course I had asked her permission first). Some were wondering why, in spite of it having been my Dad's birthday, I showed her and not him. Well, the reason was simple: I did not have his permission - which was simply because he had not known I had asked for it :-)
On the next day, my Mum told me that Dad has absolutely nothing against me showing him on here, and therefore, Ladies and Gentlemen, *ta-daaa* here he is, my Dad!!
The picture was taken in May last year, when we were watching the Horse Market parade in our town. As you can see, it was a sunny day; you can look at many pictures of the horses, carriages and groups in colourful costumes if you click on this picture. Pferdemarkt 22.5.2011 

Well, the title of this post also says "Something About Being Kind", and so I am going to tell you a bit about what I did last Wednesday.

Ever since 2007, when I had my first breast cancer scare (it was a false alert, and all the others since then have been the same, therefore I should not really call it "scare", should I!), I've had to have regular screenings. They only annoy me in that I have to go there, sit around in the waiting room for sometimes hours, and then I'm in and out within five minutes. There is one such test, though, that is not only annoying but also a little painful. Those of you who've had a mammography will know what I am talking about. What makes it alright is that it is over in the blink of an eye, and the discomfort and pain is instantly forgotten, especially if the result is "nothing", as it luckily has been for me so far.

Last Wednesday morning, I had another mammography scheduled, and was prepared for a long wait and a quick escape afterwards. The other women in the waiting area were, mostly, more or less my age and older; it is rare to see someone younger than 35-40 there. Some where flicking through the women's magazines, some had brought their own reading material, some were fidgeting nervously on their chairs, and a few looked outright scared. Nobody talked.
One lady in particular was looking about rather wide-eyed with fear, and trying to catch someone's eye - obviously in desperate search for someone to talk to and ease up the tension a little.

She looked at me, and gave a tentative smile, seeing that I was neither reading nor staring into my lap, and I smiled back. Then, before we could say anything to each other, I was called in.
Now, at the radiology clinic where I go, they call you in twice; first you have the mammography, then they tell you to sit in the waiting area once more until they call you in again for the ultrasound examination, by which time they already have the pictures of your mammography ready and give you the result.

When I came out after the mammography, the only available chair was next to the lady who had smiled at me, and when I sat down, she smiled again and said, "That was quick!" I told her that it had indeed been quick but that I was having to go in again soon. She then said that she was really scared because she had never had a mammography and didn't know what to expect. So I explained to her what it was all about, and also told her that, yes, it did hurt but it was over so quickly it was easily bearable, and they'd already have her results when they'd call her in for the ultrasound.
She was pending on my lips, and her relief at having someone explain to her what was going on was palpable. When I looked around, I realized that everyone in the waiting room was watching us and listening; nobody was reading anymore. Some of the ladies quickly looked away when they saw I had noticed they were listening, but some others gave half-smiles, and I seriously wondered what, if anything, their doctors had been telling them before sending them here.

There are many foreigners in Germany, and in our area where unemployment is a lot less than in some other parts of Germany, the number of women who do not speak and understand German very well is quite high. The lady I was talking to spoke with a heavy accent, so possibly she had not felt confident enough to ask her doctor about the procedure, or he/she had explained it to her but she had not understood everything.

Anyway, I am usually not a charitable or overly kind person, but I felt really sorry for the women, waiting there, alone with their fears, when a bit of explaining could have gone a long way. Unfortunately, for some of them, the fear will be justified, as not everyone will be as lucky as I, with it always being false alarms. Knowing that, when I came out the second time and put my coat on, ready to leave, the lady I had been talking to was still there. I briefly touched her shoulder and said that I wished everything would be OK for her. And I really do.

32 comments:

  1. Your dad is a handsome man. Glad he gave you permission to post his photograph. He and your mum look very happy together. I see where you get your sense of style; your mum is very well 'put together.'
    How nice it was of you to talk to the worried woman in the waiting room. So often we miss an opportunity for kindness. Glad you took one.

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    1. Thank you, Jill - both my parents will be very pleased to read your comment! And my Mum always dresses up, even when she does not "dress up"; she just loves putting together an outfit matching the day, the occasion and her mood. When, for instance, she makes jam at home, she puts on a t-shirt with cherries printed on it and wears matching cherry earrings :-)

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  2. Well done you (for befriending that woman). Over here, we have to wait, and get our results by post, even the "you need to come in again kind" (I've had one). Not nice!

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    1. Frances, I think it varies from place to place. The radiology clinic where I go is big and sort of central to our area; they deal there with peole with factory-like efficiency which, I'm afraid, makes them sometimes forget that these are actually PEOPLE.

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  3. Your Dad's demeanor looks so relaxed and reassuring. I would feel very comfortable with that.

    "I am usually not a charitable or overly kind person'. You may not think you are but your actions say otherwise.

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    1. Most of the time nowadays, my Dad is as relaxed as he looks there; the best thing he ever did in his life (apart from marrying my Mum) was to retire.

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  4. Just love your mother's outfit. If your favorite color is yellow, hers must be pink.
    xx
    julie

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    1. Wonder how you guessed that, Julie ;-)

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  5. Oh! I have to admit, I got a bit misty eyed reading this...It was very nice of you to give her a little comfort as you left. I hope that everything turns out okay for her too.

    My sister had breast cancer at 34 & it is for this reason that I get mammograms too. I am only 29, so like you I am one of the younger ladies waiting for results in the ladies waiting room. My heart goes out to her!

    Glad that your results keep coming back negative.

    e

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! But I am not one of the younger women - I am exactly average there, I'll be 44 next month, and when I had my first mammogram (looks like I've used a wrong term throughout my post), I was 39.

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  6. Che belli i tuoi genitori!!!Sono giovanissimi!E mi fa davvero piacere che la mammografia sia andata bene..baci!
    Cri.

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    1. Grazie, Cri! E sono bellissimi di fuori e di dentro! Baci anche a te!

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  7. Oh, I am so happy to see a photo of your Mom AND Dad! No wonder you look like a model, look at your parents!!!
    LOVE your story of your kindness shown in the waiting area, it might just be something small but you just don't know how that can make all the difference to someone.

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    1. Ah, Kay, you should see their pictures when they were young - not that they don't look smashing now at 67 and 70, but back then in the lovely outfits of the 60s and with youth radiating out of every pore they were just incredible :-)

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  8. Lovely photo of your mum and dad, and nice to see the sunshine.

    Bless you for speaking to the poor woman at the clinic. Sometimes medical people don't realise just how frightening the tests they do really are. I've had a couple of scares with false positives too. The worst was when I had the mammogram on Friday before a three-day weekend, and the technician cheerily told me that they were double checking the spot they'd been watching. This was the first I'd heard about there being anything to watch! And with the long weekend, I had to wait in terror until the next week when I could get in touch with my doctor! Finally after much humming and hawing, I was pronounced okay, but I have never been so scared. You see, my mother and her two sisters, plus my only female first cousin have all died of some sort of cancer. Of the five of us, I am the only one left. So you'll have to forgive me if these things scare me a bit.

    So on behalf of the nameless woman, and women everywhere, thank you, thank you, thank you for helping out. I know you don't feel it was much, but it meant a great deal to her I am sure. I know it would've to me!

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    1. Canadian Chickadee, your experience shows how insensitive medical people can be; I do understand that at some stage they have to create a barrier to the pain and fear they encounter in their work, or else they would not be able to do such jobs. But there is a difference between showing a reasonable amount of compassion and letting get things to them too much. How very sad and frightening for you to have lost so many close relatives to cancer. Esp. breast cancer is still, as far as I know, the most common cause of death in women in my part of the world, so being scared is certainly justified.
      Talking to the woman in the waiting room was no big deal at all; I am glad I could make things just that tiny bit easier for her, and possibly for some of those listening as well.

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  9. Came over to say hi to your dad! And then stayed on to agree with you about the medical sector's inability to communicate. Don't get me started....

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    1. I won't get you started, then :-) Thanks for saying hi to my Dad! My mum is, as I expected, quite pleased with the comments about the handsome fellow at her side :-)

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  10. Nice to meet your Dad, and he is indeed a handsome fellow.

    SP

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    1. SP, he will get all haughty if we're not careful :-)

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  11. Hoorah - Mum and Dad in consecutive posts!

    Having had a similar experience to yours (though not, as you will appreciate, a mammogram) I recently went out of my way to try to explain an angioplasty to someone waiting for one with me. I was surpised at how much she calmed down when it was all explained. Only later did the nurse tell me she'd been so worked up that they'd given her huge dose of tranquilisers. And I thought I'd been so succesful!

    May your results always be negative and your thoughts positive.

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    1. Thank you, Scriptor!
      Regarding the lady you were explaining angioplasty to - I like to think it was your explanation as much as the tranquilisers that helped her calm down.

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  12. Great to see your parents - now I know where you got your good looks. My wife has explained mammography to me and it makes me cringe. Not that I'm a fan of the old male prostate exam either.

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    1. Mark, thank you :-)
      Indeed, there are much nicer ways to spend one's time than having mammograms and other such exams of delicate body parts. But I understand it is all for my own good.

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  13. Hello Librarian, I salute you for being brave about talking to people about breast cancer. Perhaps you'll be interested in reading my post "Celebration" under "Health" Label. It was posted on June 9, 2008.

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    1. Thank you, Marco Pasha, I am going to check it out in a bit.

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  14. Your parents look just great! Healthy and full of life.

    Are you really not kindly and charitable? You certainly seem so to me.

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    1. Nan, they are! Health could be better, but they are generally keeping well and really looking after each other, and leading active lives.

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  15. Its good to have a dad. I miss mine. That said, there is no way I would put up a picture of him on here. Most likely it would be of him retreating over the horizon pushing a stolen wheelbarrow.

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  16. It is very good to have a dad, Pete, and I am glad I have pictures of my parents such as this one, and can share them on here :-)

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  17. Hugs Librarian - that was so sweet of you. Good on you! I'm sure good Karma coming your way x

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    1. Thanks, Diane - "sweet" is not often an adjective used in connection with me :-)

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