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IT’S NOT A TOOMER
When the (rather cute Heath Ledger doppelganger)
radiographer told me to take off heverything except for my hunderpants,
I realised the wisdom of the mother's urban myth that you should always wear
clean undies in case you get hit by a bus. My Elle McPherson G was not
chosen with the intention of showing it off to interns and emergency staff,
but it did help to redeem some self-respect as I swanned with as much pride
as a breezy swamp-green gown will allow through the hallways on my way to an
The irony of my bumper sticker (“I’m a one-eyed Swans
supporter”) was not lost on me as I drove into Bunbury to visit my GP. She
sent me immediately to the town’s only ophthalmologist, where, upon my
arrival and reading my referral letter, the receptionists fast-tracked me
into see him, ahead of the waiting-room plebs sitting under the sign: “We
apologise for the wait”. I stopped myself from royal-waving them, as
judging by the cobwebs the poor darlings had been waiting a while.
At that moment, I had never experienced an outlook so bleak – even though Imaging The South have capped its fee to below the Medicare benchmark as a conscious contribution to the community well-being, the inequity in affordable health care between city dwellers and regional folk is outrageous. Despite the fact that rural and metropolitan Australians pay an identical percentage of their income in the Medicare levy, an equal level of service is not supplied. If the South-West region has a growth rate three times that of the national average, why hasn’t this region been issued with a Medicare license already?
Questions like this ran amok through my head as I was lying prone inside the MRI machine. I was also trying to not think about elephants – it was easier than not moving my head or eyes for the whole two hours I was in there. I also “window-shopped” for a new glass eye in a contrasting colour, I wondered if my skin care program was working (and if so, why don't I look twelve?), and went out of my mind with the Van Morrison music playing out of time with the machine’s click-click-brrrrrrr-boom-boom beats. Anything rather than think about the hideous tumour that I was sure, by now, was growing behind my left ear giving me three months left to live.
A few hours later, my ophthalmologist rang with my results
saying, “You don’t have Multiple Sclerosis, you are not at risk of
having a stroke, and it is not a tumour,” but all I could hear was Arnold
Schwarzeneggar in Kindergarten Cop yelling, “it’s not a toomer!”