For a change I can't blame lack of time for procrastinating writing this column. I've had a severe case of writer's block each time I've sat down at work or at home to write.

Knowing my last chance to get it in on time was Monday morning, I couldn't roll over and enjoy another couple of hours of sleeping in on my morning off. The only thing that has been on my mind, besides enjoying the new baseball season, has been the results of some tests I've been taking for the past year.

I never liked failing tests, but these tests are out of my control. I can't study for them, but I have been delving into some of our health books to attempt to see what my options could be if the next test/biopsy comes back positive. I have little doubt that it will also show abnormal, precancerous cells too, but I won't know my options short of a hysterectomy for several weeks.

When I can't sleep or stop thinking about something, I know that it's eating away at me. I don't consider myself a worrier, but the not knowing is the hardest part of dealing with any health problem. I take my prescriptions and insulin shots without fail, and give some thought to what I eat depending on how my blood sugar is each day. The one thing I don't do is make time for exercising or a walk.

I hesitated about broaching such a personal female health problem in this column, but over the years I've shared with you sleep apnea, hearing aides, broken bones, losing a spouse and the importance of having an annual mammogram and a colonoscopy every five years.

A number of you have come back and told me you passed my column on to a friend or loved one to urge them to see their doctor or decided to see one yourself about one of these problems.

With that in mind, I decided it was OK to tell you ladies to not put off or miss your annual female check-ups and Pap test. Abnormal and precancerous is better than the full-blown diagnosis of the "BIG C" and the purpose of having the tests is catching these things early. It's distressing to know that your cells are turning bad on you and you can't do anything about it, or what has been done wasn't effective.

While I don't know exactly what the next few weeks will bring, I'm attempting to get our staffing positions filled so everyone is trained in case I have to be out for as much as six weeks.

We have Summer Reading programs just around the corner and then I just got my tickets lined up for a season of baseball. Part of me wants to wait until September if I'll have to have surgery, another part wants to say, "OK, let's get this over with and get these cantankerous cells out of my body."

The idea of being off for that long is not something I relish. Knowing I probably wouldn't even feel like quilting makes it a total waste of time off. Then I begin thinking, after the first couple of weeks, if I can't climb the stairs I'll get Howard to set up the card table in the living room and bring my sewing machine downstairs. I've got to keep my glass at least half full.

The staff and I know that several of our regular library patrons are doing battle with cancer or heart problems and that makes my potential problem seem less threatening. We know this because you come in and seek out books as I did along with books that encourage you and take your mind off your problems, even if for a short time. This is something we treasure. I've always felt that we are more family with our community than just a library and library users.

If you like to take photographs and enjoy nature, come to our last birding seminars Saturday at 2 p.m. Tony Baylis will be giving the program on How to Photograph Birds.

Lynda Whitton is the head librarian for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.