The Big 5-0 is on sale for 99 cents.
Well, here I am again. I’m shamelessly promoting my books. Yep. It’s true my first novel, The Big 5-0 is on sale now through April 22 for only 99 cents.
I need to sell about 100,000 copies, but I’d be happy as heck to sell 1,000 or 100 or 10…ya know?!
Here’s the deal…I love to write books. I love this series I’ve started writing about Matilda Mason the bored, beleaguered, slightly bloated garden page reporter. I love Matilda, even though she’s crabby and depressed.
But I HATE trying to sell these books. I’m just not good at the marketing end of this business. I need some help.
Do you think you can help? Toyota Financial Services and I would be ever so grateful if you would share this post with your friends and encourage them to buy The Big 5-0 for only 99 cents. It’s available in ebook form on Amazon, of course…aren’t all books available on Amazon nowadays?
If you don’t have an ebook reader, that’s no problem. Amazon has thought of everything. They have a free download for your computer or tablet or phone so you can read all the ebooks they publish. Amazon wants you to buy The Big 5-0, too. 🙂 Download your FREE Kindle reading app here.
READ THE PROLOGUE & FIRST CHAPTER of The Big 5-0 HERE:
Cambridge Women’s Clinic, Cambridge, Texas
Buy a red balloon.
I scribbled one last item at the bottom of my TO DO LIST. The list was already quite full. But this addition to the list was important.
Have Pap Smear.
Meet Edie at Pat’s.
Cook supper for family.
Buy a red balloon.
But I’d forgotten to write down “buy a red balloon”. Adding the last detail assured me that everyone was taken care of…for today, at least.
I am a Libra. Astrologically, I am supposed to strive for perfect balance. I struggle with that…I tend to be a little scattered. I blame being scattered on having so many responsibilities…
I make lists to balance myself. I often scatter my lists, just like I’m prone to scatter my energy, so I’m not sure the list making works.
Perhaps I’m a little unbalanced.
Oh, well. I try.
I am Woman. I take care of stuff. That’s my lot in life. I take care of my family…my job…everyone…even when they don’t appreciate it…even when I don’t really want to take care of them.
I opened a magazine and waited to be called to my first appointment.
I looked up from reading the Southern Living magazine when I heard my name called. The nurse smiled at me and I nodded in reply.
I stuck the magazine under my arm, rose, and followed the blonde nurse to the back of the women’s clinic. Could this young thing wearing the Elmo scrubs possibly be a nurse? It seemed the nurses got younger every year.
I checked her name tag. Sure enough, the tag said Amy Wilson, LVN.
“Let’s check your weight now,” Amy the LVN said as she slid the measure up to the one hundred pound mark.
Obviously she hadn’t looked very closely at me or she would have started at one-fifty. Tactfully, she changed the scale to the one-fifty mark, slid it up to one-sixty, and moved it carefully back until she stopped on one-fifty-five.
“Looks like you’re up a little bit from last year,” she smiled. “How tall are you?”
Oh, for Pete’s sake, Nurse Amy, I thought. Give me a break. After all it’s my birthday. Spare me a little shame, please.
“Five feet two inches“, I answered with a little smile of my own.
She jotted both measurements in my chart.
Amy opened the door into the exam room and motioned for me to sit on the table while she took the blood pressure cuff off its holder.
“How old are you?” Nurse Amy asked
“Fifty. Actually…fifty today. It’s my birthday,” I said.
“Oh. Well, happy birthday.” She wrapped the cuff around my upper arm. “How have you been lately?”
“Oh…fine,” I said.
“Nope. None that I can think of,” I answered.
Well, of course I could have mentioned the problems. Like my temperature fluctuations: too hot or too cold … never just right. I could have told her about night sweats and insomnia. Pulling my quilt up to my neck, kicking it off, then….well on and on. But I didn’t feel inclined to discuss this with young, non-menopausal Amy.
Amy took my temperature and felt my pulse, gave me a paper gown, and asked me to undress.
“The doctor will be in shortly.” She rushed away to greet her next patient.
I changed, folded my clothes over the side chair, and continued reading the magazine. I was tearing out a recipe when Dr. Ayers came in. She was a petite, round woman of about sixty and I considered discussing my newly fluctuating body temperature with her.
“Lemon cupcakes,” I said as I waved the torn page at her.
She sighed, but smiled, brushing her gray streaked hair back behind her ear. She was struggling to have a good bedside manner. But still she gave it a good try. I can’t say that I blamed her. If I was in her position, I’m sure I’d tire of hearing the complaints of menopausal women, too.
Dr. Ayers looked at my chart and then cut to the chase.“Well, the blood pressure is a little high. Looks like you’ve gained some weight since the last time you were here. Pulse is a little fast, too. Shouldn’t be so high at resting rate.”
“Yeah, well,” I muttered.
“You need to cut out carbs and start exercising. You’re actually thirty pounds overweight for your height. I’d like to see you lose at least twenty pounds before you see me again next year. Do you use much salt?” Dr. Ayers looked up from my chart.
“Well, umm. Not that much,” I said.
“Cut back on that, too,” she said, looking at the chart again. “How old are you now?
Damn, didn’t they write these little tidbits in the chart? Nurse Amy had written down all the other pertinent information. Surely my birth date was written somewhere in the chart.
“Fifty,” I said. “Fifty today…in fact. Today is my birthday.”
“Oh, well, happy birthday. Take a deep breath,” Dr. Ayers placed the cold stethoscope under my little paper split-front shirt.
“Are you having any hot flashes? Any symptoms of menopause? Light periods, spotting, missed periods?” she asked.
Well, yes, that and a whole lot more, but I didn’t want to discuss it today. Maybe I should have told the doctor about this general feeling of malaise. Perhaps I should have mentioned the anxiety I felt building in me or the excruciating boredom I experienced day-after-day.
But Dr. Ayers had already pissed me off by telling me to cut out carbs and salt and to start exercising. (Oh, yeah…I was irritable and had rapid mood swings…I’d neglected to report that too.)
Stick a fork in me, I thought. I’m done. These complaints could wait until my next physical. I was already feeling a little old today. No need to complain about my waning ability to reproduce or my lack of enjoyment of life.
“Not really,” I lied.
“Lie back and relax, please,” she said.
Nurse Amy came back in with the speculum and KY. She smiled at me again while Dr. Ayers checked my breasts for lumps.
“Not too bad. Feels like you have some little fibroid knots. Nothing to worry about. Cut back on the caffeine. We’ll check it more extensively with the mammogram. Do you have one scheduled?” Dr. Ayers was nothing if not thorough.
“That’s my next stop today,” I said.
“Good. Put your feet in the stirrups and scoot to the edge of the table,” she said. Diligent Nurse Amy covered my bare behind with a sheet.
“Try to relax now,” Dr. Ayers said again as she inserted the speculum and took the smear with a very long Q-Tip.
Sure. No problem, I thought.
“This is always a very relaxing position to be in,” I said, trying to make light of my compromised position.
Dr. Ayers rolled her eyes and my joke fell flat. She had heard it all before.
The exam was over in minutes. The good Dr. Ayers snapped off her gloves and extended her hand to help me sit up.
“We’ll let you know the results of your Pap. As always, we’ll call if it’s bad news. Otherwise, you’ll get a letter in a few days. No news is good news.” She finally smiled.
I scooted off the table and started to dress myself.
“So, you need to lose about thirty pounds, cut back on the carbs and salt, exercise, cut out caffeine,” Dr. Ayers scribbled notes on the chart.
“No caffeine?” I asked.
“The fibroid knots…” Dr. Ayers looked exasperated.
“OK. OK. I got it,” I said, more snappishly than intended.
Before she popped out through the exam door, she added the final blow. “How old did you say you are?”
“Fifty,” I sighed. Would this questioning never stop? “Fifty. Today.”
“Stop at the appointment desk on the way out and schedule a colonoscopy. Everyone needs one at fifty,” Dr. Ayers said as she departed.
“Sure,” I said.
Well, Happy Birthday to me.
After I pulled my clothes back on and stuffed the purloined recipe in my purse, I waited at the desk as instructed. The receptionist smiled as she handed me the appointment card for my colonoscopy.
What was it with all the smiling? Maybe it was just me, but the overly pleasantness seemed unnecessary.
I walked downstairs to the imaging center, read another magazine, tore out another recipe, and followed another young nurse into an exam room. This time I had my breasts squeezed and examined mechanically, but at least no one told me I needed to lose weight or start exercising. And no one asked my age.
Each year I make myself a Birthday TO DO LIST. While some women schedule a spa day complete with a facial, massage, pedicure, and manicure, I schedule all my physical tests for the same day, then take the day off from work. I schedule them all on my birthday so I can remember them.
So, each year, on the 21st day of October (or the closest day to it if it falls on a weekend), I have a blood test, Pap smear, and a mammogram. It’s a gift I give myself. I know…some people have all the fun.
I always come away from the clinic feeling as if I’ve been abducted by aliens and taken to the Mother Ship for a probe. And this year I could add an anal probe to my previously scheduled tests.
Great. One more thing to look forward to.
It was beginning to look as if my 50th birthday would be a real game changer.