17 June 2013

Between the website disappearing (yet again) into cyberspace and me doing a bit of jet setting, i.e. Ibiza, Holland, Paris, blogging has been sadly neglected – I do apologize on both counts. The thing was, one of my paintings, ‘The Last Supper’, was accepted for an exhibition in the Palais des Congres in Paris for the 18th International Congress of Cytology. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it – and it was and as you can see from the above photo, although I say it myself, my painting looks pretty impressive too! It was a bit of a task to get it there, particularly as the opening day coincided with the anti-gay marriage demonstration and most of the peripherique was cordoned off. However, with my sister’s help and wrapped in one of her duvets (the painting not my sis, although in her flamboyant youth I wouldn’t have put it past her) we managed to deliver it on time and then attend the opening ceremony. I have to say that cytologists seem to be very nice bunch of people and they are doing a wonderful job monitoring our cells and discovering cures, so power to their microscopes. I acquired some of the latest samples of the new, softer, kinder, albeit incredibly long looking brushes used for cervical smear tests. As women with HIV are more prone to abnormal smear tests, I thought I would bring them along to my next colposcopy appointment, although the sales rep said that the NHS weren’t interested in them because they were too expensive. What price pain I say. Fancy being a sales rep for papcone – as opposed to popcorn!

As I’ve been so busy I thought I would cheat and recycle this old blog entitled, “Mary Poppins and the Magic Flume,” about a visit to the dreaded colposcopy clinic.

I had to finally bite the bullet and attend my appointment at the colposcopy clinic for my six monthly check up, after first being on the receiving end of a bit of tapping and zapping. EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique as its otherwise known, is a form of acupuncture involving the tapping of specific acupuncture points with the fingers and can allegedly reduce physical and emotional problems such as trauma and recurrent bad memories of an unpleasant experience, which going to the colposcopy clinic, by anyone’s standards and by its very nature, is exactly that. The Frank Zappering, as I prefer to call it, did the job by actually getting me there, as I’d bottled out of my previous appointment using some weak excuse, but the truth of the matter being, I am a total wimp, or as Kenny Rogers the country and western singer might describe me, ‘The coward of the county.’ Well, I may be the coward of the county, but unlike that poor hillbilly ‘Lucille’ he also sings about, at least I don’t have four hungry children to feed (at least the last time I looked, although with that bottomless pit of a son of mine it sometimes feels like it) and neither do I have a crop that won’t yield. I suppose I could be likened to ‘Ruby’ that frustrated woman with the painted lips and dyed hair he wrote another song about, in the fact that I can no longer take my love to town – or anywhere else for that matter.

As it turned out, no amount of Frank Zappering could counteract the physical pain and discomfort, not to mention the indignity of the internal examination. The nice nurse who helped me into the ‘electric’ chair and whose job it is to talk to and engage us poor women in polite conversation whilst this torturous procedure is taking place, must have one of the most difficult jobs in the world.
“Oooh, your poor eye looks sore,” she said sympathetically, staring into my terrified red eye. For some reason, I’d woken up that morning with a very bloodshot eye, or maybe I should say a ‘shot of red eye’ seeing as this blog has started to take on a decided country and western feel. “Been doing any painting lately?” she asked me, trying to take my mind off the fact that I was being branded, or at least that’s what it felt like, as something equivalent to a red hot poker was inserted inside me.
“Yes,” I mouthed wordlessly, my shot of red eye probably standing out on a stalk.
“Anything interesting?” she tried to engage me in intellectual debate.
I shook my cowardly head and emitted a strange, high pitched, primeval noise.
“I’m sorry,” she apologized as if the pain I was enduring was her fault. Then realizing we were getting nowhere with this particular topic of conversation, shook her head, “It’s not working is it?”
“Try shopping,” I gasped.
“Have you been to the new Boundary Mill?” she valiantly offered.
But that didn’t work either. Now I know Kenny professed that it doesn’t mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheek, but when you’re being ‘rogered’ with a red hot poker, you can’t help but turn your cheek away.
“I need a bigger brush,” the head between my legs, which fortunately wasn’t wearing a cowboy hat, mumbled indistinctively, a bit like those undecipherable cowboys in ‘Brokeback Mountain’, who caused me to constantly enquire throughout the entire film, “What did they say?” What was he doing up there all this time and why did he need a brush? Had he been watching Mary Poppins and was now suffering from delusions that he was a chimney sweep? In view of what he was doing to me, the comparison seemed quite apt and caused a verse of a familiar cockney song from that very film to trill annoyingly in my head.

“Oh I choose me bristles with pride yes I do, A broom for the shaft and a broom for the flume.”

What’s a flume I wondered to myself and did I have one? It sounded like another one of those rude words to me. I knew that ‘shaft’ was, so maybe Mary Poppins wasn’t quite as innocent as she tried to make out. Come to think of it, I’d also heard Football supporters singing that same song, although with different lyrics of course.

chim chimenee chim chimenee chim chim cheroo we hate the b******s in claret and blue.

Having a newly acquired interest in flumes, as soon as I got home I googled ‘chimney sweeps’ and came up with a site called, ‘The Worst Jobs in History,’ of which justifiably, chimney sweeping was one. If you ask me, they should add colposcopy to the list, because just imagine doing that all day for a living. The profession of chimney sweeping produced the first known industrial disease called ‘chimney sweep’s cancer’, caused by soot attacking in the testicles. At least for once, HIV which can be responsible for most horrible ailments can’t be held accountable for that. Oh dear, what those poor young boys had to go through and the sad fact of the matter was, it was a complete waste of time being an apprentice to the trade, because after years of training, aside from having very sooty testicles, you would be too big to fit up chimneys. To encourage these often understandably reluctant lads to go clamoring up chimneys, lighted straw was often held beneath their feet or pins stuck into them.

Maybe someone could try that on me the next time I renege on going for my colposcopy appointment. It might prove more effective than Frank zappering. “Oh, chim chimenee, chim chimenee, chim chim chereee Good luck will rub off if you shake hands with me” No offence mate, but you can keep your mucky hands and your sooty balls to yourself – who knows what else might rub off and I’ve already been unlucky enough in that particular department.

For those interested in increasing their vocabulary, for crosswords, trivial pursuits and the like, a flume is an artificial water channel that leads water from a dam or weir – so not that different to the procedure I had to undergo at the colposcopy clinic, especially in regard to the weir – which I very nearly did, all over the floor!

Flumes are also used for gold mining. Could that have been what he was searching for up there? They are also used to transport logs and apparently, you can take a ride on a log flume and there is a ride for thrill seekers called, ‘Dare to shoot the flume.’ No thanks! Colposcopy was enough of a hair raising experience for me. Anyway, at least it is over with now for another six months. But needless to say, this lone cowgirl won’t be doing any line dancing tonight. I’ll be sitting at home nursing my ‘achy breaky heart’ and definitely not painting my lips and rolling up my tinted hair. I might be lighting up a Marlborough or two though. That’s after downing my familiar toxic poison, my meds. But as Mary Poppins would have us believe, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. All very well for her to say, but she didn’t have to take anti-virals, did she?


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