i go back to the doctor, to the adult doctor this time. it's resident season so everyone has a shadow. the nurse who weighs me, the nurse who does my blood pressure, the nurse who takes my blood-- all of them, in shadows.
i can tell you teach writing, the resident says, when i interrupt her for the third time to remind her that it isn't "pain"-- it's an "ache"; it feels "fizzy"; it "burns"; it isn't "in the breast" but "behind" it; it doesn't "hurt," it's just "discomfort."
the doctor stands back as the resident does the exam and, again, i ask, needing the reassurance: i would've noticed this if it has always been like that, right? like, i would've noticed that somewhere in the last 39 years...?
the resident is on one side, her fingers going up and down my perfectly normal left breast, while the doctor stands on the other side-- eyes on my clavicle-- and the doctor says, oh yeah, like, i can see it just standing here. you would have noticed that.
on all the forms i've seen, the midwife recorded that there was a lump was in the breast tissue.
her notes left the doctor expecting to see a lump in the lymph nodes of my neck. she is surprised to find a mass in my thoracic cavity that is a cross between an alien invasion and a protruding rib.
the resident and the doctor marvel at how it feels like bone.
i know not how my records are not yet stamped with that statement "IT FEELS LIKE BONE," i've said this so many times to so many different people.
for thirty minutes, i wait outside the referrals office, from which a masked woman periodically emerges to ask, wah wa waaaaa wah waw waaaahhhhhh?
we do that nine times at least before she brings me a sheaf of papers and referrals for the scans that have been ordered.
the communist has moved away so, this time, i walk the 2.8 miles home, listening to a podcast on the disappearance of chandra levy.
it's not yet noon. the day is cooler, the sun lower in the sky. still, it burns when i breathe. and the unwritten syllabi sit heavy on my heart.