Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ultrasound with scalpel

Ultrasound with scalpel

A vision revealed
live on a screen
and quite murky

What is it saying?
What does it mean?
the black
the white
and the murky

The images move
mumbling across
first bloating out
before getting lost

the black
the white
and the murky

I'm ill with the black
They want it to go
"Fluid", they say.
"You should not behold"

"Never the black
Only the white
plus all of the murky
The murky is right"

The cure they apply
is waiting for me
on a bright plastic tray
which I clearly see...

The Spike!

vivien dwyer 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

In the beginning...

Tuesday was an 'interesting' day

A letter arrived in the mail. A recall from the breast squish crowd. They think they have spotted a lump. I feel my stomach clenching up as I read further. They are now going to get me back to find out what sort of a lump it is. 


I am on time, even a little early, and rather nervous. Matt has come too. I leave him in the outer waiting room and change into a gown. I am ready but the machine isn't so I sit in the internal waiting room and do my patchwork whilst listening to technical types trying to get that machine to work.

Eventually, they come and say I should do the ultrasound first to speed up the process so I get taken to a room where they spread warm goo over the area in question and run the sensor over to see if they can spot the lump. They don't find anything and I begin to think it is a false alarm. So back I go to the waiting room. It is only a short time later that they get one of the machines going so I get to go on that. I spread myself on the plate and feel a little sorry for my poor flattened breast lying there all naked and exposed. Then I get a look at the results and there it is. A sparkling, tiny white lump in a swirl of blood vessels. Beautiful but deadly. The ultrasound was looking in the wrong place so back I go for more warm goo and this time the operator finds it.


Back to the waiting room and my patchwork. This time I get Matt from his waiting room where he was playing with his cell phone for the last three hours and we get given a small, private waiting room about the size of your average broom closet because men shouldn't be in the inner waiting room. I drank some water and Matt got himself a cup of tea. We needed that by now!

The next visitor was a very nice person who explained what was going to happen next. A biopsy was planned and was explained with care. It didn't sound very pleasant but I signed the form as they were keen to fit me in around lunchtime. They brought me a couple of painkillers with the sage words that they would help later on. Not very reassuring so back to the patchwork in an attempt to kill the waiting time.

I nearly finished my round of patchwork before being called again. This time, the room looked a bit more serious and the first nurse to come in gave my frontage a really good explore by hand. She said she could feel some thickening of the skin where the lump was but nothing in the lymph nodes in my armpit. After this I am spread out on a bed, padded up into position with pillows and the area concerned is painted pink. A local anasthetic follows – I am careful not to look. I think they could use some art work on the ceiling as looking at a water sprinkler nozzle gets boring fast.

The sample thing sounds a bit like a nail gun....

Four samples later it is done and they patch the hole. I get dressed and leave with a sheet of wound instructions and Matt, and a week to wait for results.

That seems like forever just now......

Friday, June 3, 2016


I thought I might put some of my writings for my Master of Visual Arts degree up here so there will be the odd piece of this and that to hopefully interest you :)

The mole

'Mum, why are there train tracks on the beach?'

A cool day with clouds scudding briskly across the sky. I am walking on the beach with sandals on my feet leaking the cold sand inside. Mum has warmly wrapped me against the cold of a Dunedin summer in my woolly coat and we hold hands against the gusting wind.

We go along the road and look at the mole as it forges its way out into the boisterous waves. I am aware of the smell of seaweed, the screaming gulls overhead and the stony sand beneath my feet laced with bits of broken shell.

'There was a little train that carried the rocks out to build the mole,' said Mum

We walk out onto the causeway and look at the sea and the lighthouse and the birds. The wind whips my hair across my face.

I don't remember the rest of that walk. I was 18 months old, on holiday with my parents at Aramoana, and interested in absolutely everything.