Numb today. On purpose. Stayed up way too late.

Go to the radiology office.

Don’t forget your elf. She has been with you for every bad hospital stay, and she fits in the pocket of your pants where no one will know she is there.

Take your clothes off and put on the gown. Don’t think about it. Rub the elf.

Follow the tech back to the room with the equipment. It’s nothing. The equipment pinches more than the last round. Move your pump out of the way. Hold your breath. Breathe again. It’s nothing.

Reposition for the side image. Arm up. Hold your breath. Breathe. It’s nothing.

Go back to the waiting room. The doctor will read the images and go over everything, and if they need more images, we will do it today. Rub the elf.

Will it be a short wait or a long wait? Are the women sitting next to me going through the same thing?

Short wait – just five pages of my book. They need to do an ultrasound. Is it still nothing?

Follow the tech back to the room with the ultrasound equipment. Open the gown, position yourself. Wait for the doctor. It’s nothing. It’s nothing. Is it nothing? Why do they need an ultrasound?

Lean a little farther back. Squirt the gel – it’s gross.

Watch the screen with the live pictures. Nothing looks solid. The doctor is saying it just looks like “an island of benign tissue”. Probably benign. They will need to check again in six months just in case.

Feel the tear slip into your hairline. You’re glad the room is dark. Surreptitiously wipe it away.

Wipe off the gel – eew. Touch the elf.

Go back to the changing room. Take off the gown. Take a deep breath. Hold on just a few more minutes.

Get dressed, throw the gown in the hamper. Hold on. Make your way out to schedule the next appointment. Hold on. Run into the tech who helped you today. She was very kind. Yes, everything turned out ok, but I need to come back in six months. Hold on.

Wait while the woman checking out in front of you explains that she can’t do that date for her next appointment because she is taking a trapeze class that day. Hold on.

Schedule the appointment for November. Laugh while the lady explains that her computer is slow. Hold on.

Make your way out of the office. Find the elevator. Step off the elevator. Feel the knot in your throat growing. No one’s around but the car is just a few steps away. Hold on.

Unlock the door. Get in. Close the door.