Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tales from the Mammogram Machine

If you are a guy - stop reading here - log off - check back in tomorrow for something more gender neutral.

Ladies, let's talk about this torture device.

I had my annual mammogram this past Monday. Based on the fact that I am 44 years old, I would say that I have had five or six mammograms in the past. Those five or six were nothing compared to the one I just endured.

You know all those funny emails that float around about how to get ready for a mammogram, like lay in the driveway and have someone back over your boob and then do it again. I always thought they were funny, but not really that accurate. Every mammogram I have ever had was really not that painful. Kind of embarrassing with the technician handling your girl parts so casually, but not painful. The way they push, pull and manipulate your boob to get it just so under the machine is kind of like....I was going to say like something (baker, bread maker, bra fitter....) but I honestly can't even begin to compare that ordeal to anything. You just accept the fact this lady handles boobs all day long, pressing them between glass panels and hitting a button. Makes subcontract administration seem like a damn dream job.

Anyway, I went in on Monday expecting the same thing. Get undressed, put on this gown, open to the front, come on in, hold this bar, turn this way, lean in, shoulder back, the technician is pulling and placing and talking and positioning me. Then WHAM!!! She starts lowering the glass panels to clamp in the old girls and I swear I almost cussed. I don't know if the machine was set for someone that was 5'9" or 4'1", or if she was trying to press them to the thickness of a piece of paper, but whatever was happening was horribly painful. I literally wanted to break out some Lamaze breathing to get through the pain.

Then of course she says "Hold your breath." Dang, there goes my Lamaze breathing technique.

I hold my breath and scream inside my head "Release, Release, hit the *&!@%#$ Release button."

Finally it opens. Good night. I didn't know whether to run over and punch her in the face, massage my boob to see if I could somehow help it recover or dig in my purse for money to bribe her to go easy on me for the next one. I had to do it three more times. All three positions hurt as bad as the first. Good Grief. I couldn't wait to take my squashed boobs and get the heck out of there. I apologized to them for the torture treatment when we were alone.

So for all you ladies who have endured this yourselves, I am sorry that I did not have the appropriate level of sympathy for you. I know now. I know so well what those crazy mammogram emails are all about. They are the truth, is what they are.

My hat is off to all you women out there who have been in the death grip of a mammogram machine. May your boobs recover, your scans come back clean and you have only vague memories by the time you have to roll in their again next year! That is what I am hoping for!

Boys, if any of you were brave enough to read this all the way through, here is your take away lesson. The next time your wife is scheduled for her annual mammogram buy her flowers. She deserves them.

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