Follow one crying eye on

Things to do in a mask

I have previously written about things not to do whilst wearing a mask – running for a train, and crying. Generally speaking, whilst I certainly feel safer doing my supermarket shop in a mask, most things are a bit of a pain whilst masked-up, especially when wearing glasses and in the cold.

However, this week I have finally found something which I believe is improved by the wearing of a mandatory face-covering.

The routine mammogram!

I didn’t want to go, of course, but I reckoned I would be in and out of there pretty quickly and I might as well get it over with, particularly as they had called me up and twisted my arm (more of that at the appointment – aargh!).

The instructions insisted I should not enter the building until five minutes before my appointment start time. Having practically galloped the 1.9 miles from home (inevitably, I had left too late), I was glowing on arrival and glad of a few moments to calm down (and notice with satisfaction that there were, indeed, no parking spaces to be had so my evangelical non-driving habit was vindicated) before donning my mask, removing my glasses to avoid fogging, and climbing the stairs to the poorly signposted room. And no, I don’t think it was my lack of spectacles that meant I couldn’t see the signs – but who knows.

I peered through the glass. Just two NHS staff inside. I ventured in and stood right back against the door to answer the usual questions about who I am and where I live etc. At least here I was not shouting my personal details to a room of random other people, as in the chemist’s a few weeks ago.

With no further mucking about, I was immediately ushered into the room with the dreaded tit-squeezing machine and instructed to remove my top half. And it was here that I realised the benefit of wearing the mask. It removes some lower peripheral vision. This conveniently meant that I had no visual prompt that I was naked: no glimpsed awareness of my bare-chestedness. (In fairness, my frontal assets have always been pretty hard to spot at the best of times, even when I had twenty-twenty vision, but let’s not go there.)

There followed the usual nurse-patient grappling dance, with actual physical arm-twisting to get me to assume the correct position at the boob-squasher – four times, one for each X-ray, with no apparent learning on my part from one to the next. I am quite sure that my inability to see what was going on below my nose was an advantage. Out of sight, out of mind? I don’t normally look, but there is usually an awareness at the edge of vision of what is going on – and this time, there wasn’t. It’s not really an option to close one’s eyes – standing up with eyes closed is a step too far. It would feel a bit weird and probably result in falling over. (Just imagine, passing out and being suspended by a mammary stuck tight in the machine!)

Anyway, as a result of the restricted view, I was more than usually willing to just give up trying to work out what the hell the nice lady was trying to get me to do with my upper torso, and allow her to nudge me around until I was in the right place. 

All whilst talking about something completely different, of course.

I was out of there in less than 15 minutes. 

I was at least half a mile away on my way home and on a busy footpath beside the river before I remembered to check, now I was no longer wearing a mask, that I had correctly dressed my upper half whilst semi-blind!

Give me a tedious mechanical task

Whilst it was too hot to go outside today, and unusually I had the house to myself, I offered to help with packing some face-coverings for the sewing organisation I’ve been working with recently.

Strangely therapeutic. Sanitising the table, careful washing of hands, donning of my own face-covering – then to work with boxes of sealable freezer bags, ready-cut pieces of paper with instructions on usage to insert in the bags, and then the beautiful face-coverings themselves in a box by my side. A tiny production line all of my own. The resulting larger box of neatly packaged items was so satisfying. This was a practical task I could actually do, even with my two left hands – miracle!

People have taken great care in sewing these, to adhere to patterns which give the greatest protection (presumably still giving that protection mainly to others rather than the wearer, but hey-ho) and many of them were so lovely that I wanted to keep them. Some of the material they have used is charming, some utilitarian, some wacky, but if love and care could protect us, then these most surely would.


Follow one crying eye on