From the outside I look normal, so once I’m undressed the ultrasound technician is caught off guard. She eyes my tummy. There’s a ten inch vertical scar down the middle and a small beige bag affixed to the right side. Her eyes tell me she’s never seen an ileostomy bag. Since I rarely eat before these type of appointments the bag is empty, lying quietly against my stomach.
Her manicured nails are painted greige; the trendy new corpse-like shade. She has an accent, perhaps Russian and she’s fair with icy blond hair. Her boots are stilettoed, ankle-high, with laser cuts-outs. She’s by far the most stylish ultrasound technician I’ve ever had.
“Does it hurt?” she asks, motioning to my tummy with her head.
“Yes it does,” I pause, “thank you for asking.”
She offers a quick yet warm smile and I lap it up like a dog at his water bowl. I’m grateful for this little nugget of human connection, so often missing in clinical settings.
“This is going to be cold” she says.
“That’s okay, I’m used to it.”
As she probes my abdomen with the lubed-up ultrasound wand, I notice her coat hanging on the wall behind her. It’s pale blue, a menswear-inspired overcoat by Vince; probably made of a light-weight wool.
I’m relieved that I look decent today. My hair is freshly dyed red and my nails were recently painted a dark eggplant. Not that she cares, not that anyone in this medical office cares how I look, but it makes me feel a little better.
The wand is hard against my skin, then suddenly presses down deeply; like a penis trying to poke its way into an unwelcoming vagina. I start feeling a little anxious and pinch myself to re-direct my energy.
“Okay, I’m finished. You can get dressed now. You can wipe yourself off with your gown.”
My torso is covered in gel, reminding me of semen. I start wiping it off; like a woman cleaning up after a quick sexual encounter.
“Thank you,” I say.
“Have a good day,” she says, as she quickly exits the room, heels clicking down the hallway.
Inexplicably she leaves the door open even though I’m half-naked. I struggle to cover myself with the damp gown and close the door at the same time. I get dressed and leave, feeling like I just had a horrible one-night-stand with a man who will never call.
I think about the technician’s greige nails and decide that I will never wear that color. I have cancer for God’s sake, I don’t need my hands looking dead.