Because Ray got called in tonight… because a hurricane can even wreak havoc on our schedule from about 800 miles away and because when my aunt asked if I was worried about our home in Virginia and all I could say is, “It points due east, hopefully the trees will take out the neighbors redneck pool instead of our house.” I’m going to tell you what happened to me when we on the day we got that beloved TA.

Now, you know I might as well be a homegrown Memphian. I grew up not far from here, loved coming to visit my aunt here in the summer and I do love it here. One of the reasons that I love it dearly, is the characters. The good people over at tricare prime were shocked that I wanted to be seen on base, particularly when they had already sent my children to a family practice in town. I trust navy medicine, and it helps that Ray is usually right smack in the middle of it. I’ll admit that I was shocked when I started going for appointments and other than the sweet boys that check me in, no one is in the navy.

Last week I went for my check up so that I could get some much needed boosters before heading to the far east. I sat in my paper gown and in walks a little lady that was maybe five feet tall on a good day. She did not have on a lab coat. She was wearing one of the brightest pinks from head to toe, literally right down to her hot pink sequined shoes. I immediately loved her.

My new friend was as sugary sweet as her favorite color. She wanted to know all about Jack, China and how on God’s green earth we were adopting a boy from there. I proudly told her all about it from many awkward positions. I spare you the details of her giant oops and leave you with the funny stuff.

This was by far the fastest exam I have ever had in my life. I had to stop her to ask about the worrisome mole… a friend’s cancer scare made me be sure to ask. Her answer, “Does it hurt?” “No.” “It’s probably nothin’ honey. If it gets bigger or hurts you gotta come back and tell me.” “Umm. Okay.” I proceeded to show her a knot on my leg that I was pretty sure was a varicose vein but Ray worried it might be a cyst. She poked at it for a second. “Does it hurt?” “No.” “It’s probably nothing. I think it’s a varicose vein. If it gets bigger or hurts, you gotta come back and tell me.” “Umm. Okay. What about this 16 hour plane ride?” “Yeah, go ahead an take some aspirin before you get on the plane.” “Umm. Okay.”

Then we get to that part of the exam that always dread. Always. The last time I was on base they talked me into a birth control pill that was different than the one I had been taking. The pharmacy didn’t stock the pill I was taking. After months of headaches and then migraines, I stopped taking it. Now imagine this sweet little old lady patting my bare varicose vein leg asking me what on earth I’m doing. I was as pink as her sparkly shoes trying to explain that I would rather be throwing up from a pregnancy than throwing up from a birth control pill. She runs back into her office to get her toys.

The first was a new IUD with these cute little strings. This is what she says to me, “I insert it. There’s a little risk that I’ll rupture your uterus. It’s a small risk though. It just stays in there with a low dose hormone. You shouldn’t get those headaches. If you do, we could just yank it back out with these strings. Now these strings can get lost, we’ll just use an ultrasound to find it…” At this point I’m thinking if it takes an ultrasound to find that sucker how on earth are you planning on fishing that thing out. She goes on, “Now one time, I think this girl must have already been pregnant. It came out ahead of the baby and the baby was fine.”

Folks it gets better. She whips out a little green ring big enough to wear as a bracelet. She rolls that circle up into two smaller circles and starts describing  how I should insert it until I notice that lovely monthly meeting time has rolled around. Then, I’m supposed to pull it out, wait it out a week and throw a new one in. I looked at it and then I looked at her. That thing is pretty big. You mean to tell me that it’s up there for three weeks and I’m not going to feel it? “Well honey, I don’t think you’d notice it all the time…”

I took her pamphlets, shoved them in my bag and waited until I could get dressed. She poked her head in and said, “You’re all set to go see Kenny. They’ll look it up and give you whatever shots you need.”

I saw Kenny. There is now a large knot on my right arm and a severe headache to go with it. He hooked me up though with a smile and told me I could hold Ray down for his next round of shots. I love Memphis! I love the characters that work on the base.