There’s lots of things to say about time, besides its being an artificial construct by which we measure the “daily” rotation of this little ball of dirt so fragilely encasing a seething ball of magma around the sun. (Think about it, sometime. All that stuff, just under the surface, and yet all that stuff we just go and plaster on top, blithely assuming things will stay where we put them…)
Physicists, metaphysicians, hell, even Oprah, all sorts of folks have weighed in. And there are cliches galore.
Time is a river.
The time ran away from me.
When you’re waiting, it does all of those things, all at once, like a bad student film. You need neither science nor fiction, no slingshots ’round the sun nor blue police boxes to know– every second that passes while you wait for more information lasts infinitely, unknowing and cold no matter how many blankets the ultrasonographer gives you after eight extra films (eight, you counted, that’s a lot of boob smooshing, it hurts like hell, damnit).
Every moment in which you try to distract yourself with nonsensical magazine features speeds by too quickly, your absorption interrupted just as your mind starts to get off the reason you’re waiting and the gooseflesh on your arms because hospital johnnies, they’re really not warm. The things I now know about Lady Antebellum and their songwriting habits, because I couldn’t bring my Nook into the interior waiting area, it’s brain space I may never be able to devote to recalling that one killer line of that Billy Collins poem about trout amandine or what was that name of that book about…
The tech calls your name.
At least the ultrasound gel is kept warm.
The young Indian radiology fellow is younger than my little brother, and he maintains eye contact except when he’s got to look, the poor dear, while the johnny makes it impossible to maintain any “decency” of the right breast whatsoever, not without clutching things closed which I can’t possibly do, not and make it possible for him to do the ultrasound right, as I clearly would prefer him to do. It’s an altogether ridiculous enterprise, so I settle for watching the ultrasound screen– instead of staring at the watered-down pastel of A Lane Near Arles that hangs on the wall. Because it’s a rip-off of Van Gogh– no one would want that much emotion in a room that can easily tip into the fraught, or so I imagine. I almost want to ask him to explain why the gel always smells like baby powder, a scent I detest, but I suppose the answer is it’s got to smell like something, and baby powder’s as innocuous a smell as anything else– unless you’re getting bad news about a baby, in which case maybe it’s not a dumb question at all. Lemon would be a good, neutral smell.
You see, how time runs away?
As he works and the image enlarges, the wand slows, presses, bears down, I can see.
Little, round, fluid-filled sacs. “Simple cysts,” he says, which I can see, because I’ve got PCOS and have seen my ovarian cysts on a screen, know what they look like, have seen those little internal black pearls, so benign for so malignant a look. I can feel time snap back into whatever it’s supposed to be doing that it wasn’t doing before because it was saying something else– something I now can file away until next year’s screening (with added bonus screening MRI because the Attending agrees, I am in that risk group, though everything’s “just fine this year, just fine,”) knowing that there’s a chance again that I’ll be called back.
But at least now, there’s this water under this bridge.