Friday, October 11, 2013

20 lbs of pressure? no problem.

this year i was suddenly of age to get a mammogram. yay me.
quick talk here on my office visit, my thoughts, and what to expect when your mammograming.
i'm sure you are dying to know.

1. the mammogram 'suite' is the size of your big toe. and cold. very cold.
you are handed a paper shirt vest, told to remove clothes from the waist up and put the vest on.
the tech does not, yes, i said does not, leave the room. she stands there. so you undress. 
you think about making a joke because what else does one do in awkward silence when alone with a lady stranger in a room with undressing 1st up on the agenda? like maybe the one about how she should take you to dinner first. you understand quickly that would be very weird and probably inappropriate.
now you are half nakey- they could turn on a little heat ya know.
don't try to have any sort of modesty because the tech is all up in your frontal biz. it's her job.

2. my tech was really sweet. maybe late 60's and came up to about my chest-this suits her perfectly as she has to get all up against ya to position your girls'-she is right there at 'see level'. as you are almost chuckling to yourself about how perfect her height is for her job, her hand is there. on you. both hands actually. now might be a better time for that joke. nope, still inappropriate you decide.

3. because i felt one of us should fill the quiet void, i told her that they discovered breast cancer in my mom about 2 months ago so please check mine extra good. like, extra extra good.
from there on out, she could tell she was handling a pretty unstable girl. 
i could tell that she could tell. i was nervous. obviously.
oh, this part sucks, you can't wear deodorant, perfume, lotion or anything other than your bare skins.
i fully hoped i didn't smell like a hippie. it was 4:30 in the afternoon, i live in southern california, it's been hot, my car air conditioning is on the fritz. sorry tech.

4. as she is positioning the machine and holding on to me with one hand, i discover there is music playing. the music was show tunes. i don't know what i expected but it wasn't broadway show tunes.

5. i remember now that my sister told me to take advil before. shoot. of course i forgot to take advil.
20 pounds of pressure starts to feel like, well, i don't know what because when else have i allowed 20 pounds of squished pressure on my girls?. hmmm, never that i can remember.

6. the fun begins. the machine is all in position and 'see level' tech is right there. right. there. oh hey.           
(don't make the joke, don't make the joke)
oh wow. someone could give her a hand warmer for her pocket or something. but of course her hands are 2 degrees, the room is freaking freezing!!

you stand in front of this machine:

see that black slab? see that clear tray?
yep, they are going in there. the entire thing. one at a time of course.

the clear plate lowers until the machine lets the tech know she has 20 pounds of pressure.
you wish you had gone to the bathroom before 20 pounds of pressure rained down on you.
you wish you had listened to your big sister and taken that damn advil.
tech shawty says, "hold your breath", and walks away.....uh, where ya goin? when ya gonna be back? valid things that should be announced before-hand. am i wrong here?!
you hold your breath, listen to show tunes, try not to look down at the clear plate, wonder if you held your breath right, wonder if there is a right way and a wrong way to hold one's breath, wonder if she is coming right back. damn this room is cold.

7. repeat #6 exactly 7 more times.

8. it's over.
you dress yourself (she hangs out for this dress sesh too-like, just stands there) and wonder if you are suppose to say 'thank you' or what is proper protocol at this point.
if you are a freak, like me, you blurt out, "can i see my photos"? oh. wow. i just asked that. hey, at least i never made the joke.
she takes you to the screen and shows you.
she tells you that you your girls are very nice and you have a lot of nice tissue to work with. generally, that's an awkward moment. however, in this moment you perk up. the freak in you (there she is again) hopes that she is saying this because it all looks good, you are in the clear this year, and you finally stop holding your breath. hmm, wow, check me with all this nice workin' tissue. 

9. the tech tells you that you shouldn't be worried if you are called back for more photos because this is your baseline, the first photos ever on file and they have nothing else to compare to, so please don't think there is something wrong.
your eyes get cartoon huge.
she repeats the last part about how i shouldn't think there is anything wrong. she clearly understands she has a 'live one' here.
you do say thank you because you were raised with manners. you also say, "see ya later" as you are walking out of the suite. you quickly turn on your heels and push the suite door back open, pop your head in and say, "i mean, i hope not. i hope i don't see you til next year".
she laughs. you leave.
advil please.

*it's october. i know, duh. 
well, that means it's breast cancer awareness month. a great month to go see that there machine up there. 
it's not fun, no. but it's smart. you are all incredibly smart or you wouldn't be here reading your fellow smart chicks blog. right?!
check 'em please. oh, and happy aloha friday, coz that's today.

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