In the movie Mickey Blue eyes with Hugh Grant and James Caan, Jeanne Tripplehorn’s character becomes annoyed with her fiancé, Hugh Grant’s character, because her father played by James Caan involves him in a money laundering scheme by asking him to auction off paintings.

Every time I watch that scene I think of myself. Always trying to get away from the criminal element I truly am always struggling to get away from the “mob family”.

Fourteen years ago I left my home town and started new in a neighbouring town, it was in no way far enough but it gave me a little breathing space and I was still in an area where not everything was foreign. Luckily I work very far away from home where no one knows about my family.

Recently I have noticed that I am not feeling myself, especially with my clothes all being too tight and me feeling uncomfortable and bloated. I went to my GP and explained how I felt. I have only been to this GP a couple of times, he immediately said he would prescribe a laxative. It was only after I insisted that things are not right with me, that he did a personal examination and found that there was something that needed further examination.

He wanted me to go for a sonar scan the following day. Luckily it was Saturday and I phoned early to arrange the appointment and was instructed by the receptionist that I needed to have a full bladder during the sonar examination. She also asked me if I had eaten anything and I said only coffee with creamer and she gave me an earful. My doctor had not warned me not to eat anything and I was slowly getting annoyed and not sure who I could vent my anger at. I went over to the facility – with a full bladder as the receptionist instructed.

The GP and the sonar facility are all in my former home town so I travelled quite far and by the time I got there the 2 glasses of water I had gulped down before leaving home were ready to exit. When I arrived 10 people were waiting in the waiting room.

I sat there listening to the receptionist train two new staff members and I saw how nervous they were. I was concentrating on anything in order to forget that I wanted to burst. The plastic imitation plant was in a pot that had been topped up with bark (or perhaps imitation bark) I wondered would anyone notice if I wondered off towards the pot and squatted a little …. NO! … I stared out of the glass door to the outside contemplating my escape and noticed a damp spot on the outside wall where green smudges indicated mould growth and I wondered if anyone had an accident there.

I counted every second and was biting down on my teeth, eventually only two people left before me and I had been waiting an hour. I had completed the forms sent a few text messages and was wondering why was I not brave enough to get up and ask the receptionist if they had a toilet for the public.

Finally I was called by an assistant who asked “Is you bladder full?” I snapped “I have been here two hours if it is not full by now it will never be!” I was shown a cubicle and told to remove all my clothes except my panties. I was given a tiny wrap around garment which barely met in the middle. I was told to sit on the bench in the cubicle. It was lunch time for the staff and without warning men came in to use the microwave oven behind a long counter and I was stuck wearing nothing except this short little napkin thingy. Very embarrassing for a tall older woman like myself, I manage to slide off the bench without anything flopping out or flashing private parts and drew the curtain of the cubicle half way because it was only hanging from four hooks.

I sat there until my bottom felt numb. Finally I was led to a room with a high bed and a huge computer monitor. I got onto the bed and wondered how women half my height managed to get onto such a high bed. The assistant roughly placed a paper towel over my lower abdomen and tucked it in at the top of my panties. I lay there for 15 minutes and I felt cold although it was a warm summer’s day. All was quiet, in the distance I could hear the dayshift staff saying goodbye to the skeleton staff left over.

A short chatty woman suddenly appeared next to me. I was caught unaware, “I am Bulgarian” she announced in a loud pleasant voice, she pulled the knot loose on my wrap around and slapped a copious amount of gel onto my stomach. She spoke nonstop for about 5 minutes and I was so nervous all I did was nod in agreement as she was telling me about what she had seen on the tv news broadcast. She said “not so?” and I said “absolutely” I have no idea what I agreed to because I was frozen with fear. Suddenly she must have thought that she had distracted me enough and she plunged the sonar gadget (which looks like the ones they use on pregnant women) full force on the centre of my abdomen I jumped and whinged. She did it three times and only after I braced myself and bit down on my teeth did she finally get a picture on her monitor.

“Look!” she turned the monitor to show me. I looked in awe it is the first time I have seen my organs. “Your uterus”, she said “is huge 15cm and it should be 4cm it pushes up and has torn a mid section hernia. Turn to the left, liver not clear but looks good, lie on your right side spleen healthy. Get an excellent gynae and don’t go to a government hospital” she ordered, stuffing several sheets of paper towel into my hands and disappeared.

I wiped the gel from my stomach, wandered around in circles until by chance I found the cubicle with my clothes in it. Got dressed and walked past a toilet, screech … halt TOILET!!! Well you know what I did next.

I went around in circles most staff had left it was 12:30. I found the waiting room and sat there for about 10 minutes while they typed the report.

The GP is a block away and he said that he would only be there until 1pm, I made it just in time he was almost ready to leave. We talked about gynaecologists and I panicked. The only one which was close enough for me to find was in my former home town. I left and told him “I want to think about it”.

Now getting back to Mickey Blue Eyes, I have to go back to my former home town, alone. I cannot ask a family member because they are all part of the “mob” except for my aging mother and I am not sure if she has the strength to help me through this. If I ask a friend they might find out about my family’s past, someone might recognise me or my name. I have to do this all on my own and I can tell you driving yourself to a doctor or hospital is one of the loneliest feelings one can experience.

For a couple of years now I have been telling everyone that my mother is my only family, I hate lying but it makes life easier for me. My appointment is for Tuesday, if the gynae recognises me I will be devastated. Could I lie, should I lie or should I focus on the pap smear examination and only worry about my health.