Yesterday I finally did what I had put off for two years--I skipped out of my office hours early (grouching all the way to myself about the work I needed to do) and headed to my OB/Gyn for that exam--you know the one--the one that's supposed to happen annually but the one we moms often put off because, well, we're awfully good about taking care of other people, but sometimes not so good about taking care of ourselves.
While I was there I learned two unexpected things:
1) My driver's license expired in August
2) According to my insurance company I'm a forty-year old MALE.
I had checked in and was sitting in the waiting room reading last month's Southern Living magazine when the receptionist called to me in that low, I'm-protecting-your-privacy kind of voice.
Uh-oh, I thought. What have I done?
When I got to the counter she leaned in conspiratorially and showed me a computer printout.
"Mrs. M.? Do you know that your insurance company has you listed as a MAN?"
I wished then, not for the first time, that I was one of those people who could pull off playing a big joke--just for kicks. If I had been one of those kooky, fun-loving people I so envy I would have said, loudly and for all to hear:
"Oh yes, that's because I once WAS a man--you know, before I changed."
This month is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and penciled into my calendar now, along with the printed sheet listing local radiologists my doctor gave me, is a handy reminder notice to schedule a mammogram; because, of course, I turned forty this past summer. I'm not one of those people who avoids doctors--in fact, I like to feel that I'm taking care of myself. I go to the dentist every six months, and I'm usually pretty good about routine screenings. But I'm also very busy, and juggling too much, and while I have no trouble staying on top of my children's health needs, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to remember my own.
So I'm sending a plea out to all you busy moms out there--all the ones who are spread too thin, juggling a million and one things, making magic happen every day, soothing sick kids, pushing deadlines, cooking up miraculous meals, opening your heart to the world, giving every inch of yourself: take time out to take care of yourselves for a change: get checked out, get screened.