The Annual Breast Fest

Had the yearly mammogram; now I can seek counseling for the resulting PTSD.

No seriously, it wasn’t that bad, and I did learn something: I learned that the technician’s mother died of cancer and her father  of heart. I got this information by telling her that I wasn’t anticipating a bad result since in my family we all just drop dead, some at home, some at the mall. She wasn’t shocked. You can’t shock the mammogram ladies; they’re just too cool.

She learned something too when I asked her why, on the lengthy questionnaire , they ask you your bra size.

“Oh that. This doesn’t sound very scientific but it used to be we had two rooms, one for women size 36 B and under and one for those over that size, I don’t know why.” Then she paused a minute. “I know this sounds crazy but I think they’re changing the bra sizes on us . I mean have you ever heard of a 32E?

“Have I! it’s because of the really fancy bra stores where you’re supposed to believe the bras are made of placental material from the mothers of Miss America contestants or something. They only HAVE crazy bra sizes. They told me I was a 32 F!”

“32 F?!”

“And I’m just a regular normal-looking girl, right? It’s  because they want to make them as tight as they can around your rib cage and I have this little narrow rib cage, upholstered as it may be. Their idea: anchor it low and tight in back  and that will raise everything in front sky-high. Think of a person with a pair of ice skate slung over his shoulder, it’s the same principle, the lower the higher, get it?”

She got it. Anyway it was a nice human exchange. Even though I waited more than 90 minutes for my big moment under the lights, I left feeling  ‘seen’ and understood and if a little squeezed, mostly just squeezed for time.

Cryin’ Time Again: The Yearly Mammo

♫♫ Oh it’s Cryin’ Time Again, You’re Gonna Squeeze Me ♫♫

Hello children and welcome To Two Good Tidbits Of Info Picked Up Yesterday At My Own Yearly Squeeze-Fest.

Tidbit One: Nobody Faints After 11 In The Morning. This according to the radiology person administering the exam . “I have to warn you, I’m a fainter,” I had just told the woman as she screwed the two icy plates of that Inquisition-style vise tighter together –  but really I said this only AFTER she asked like six times if I was OK was I OK was I OK – which of course began to make me feel that I wasn’t. “Breakfast is the key,” she pronounced. “People only faint if they haven’t had breakfast.”  ( Hmmmm I thought but is that true? Because I faint in extremes of pain as when the quacky old doc in my hometown tried to burn two tiny warts off my arm with something that looked like the hot red coil of his car’s cigarette lighter, leaving me with side-by-side twin scars the size of Cheerios. I also fainted in church religiously ha ha and was heard gurgling under the kneeler Sunday after Sunday and once in the necktie department of the Harvard Coop and they dragged me by the armpits back behind the counter so commerce could continue.)

Earlier, as we stood there before the session started, she fully clothed, I as naked from the waist up as the Venus De Milo, she asked if I did regular self exams, causing me to blurt out my own sad truth, that actually? truthfully? I almost never do which brought us to….

Tidbit Two: Nobody Does the Self Exams. “Nobody does ‘em” she said matter-of-factly and just left it at that. There was no tongue-lashing, no lecture not even a sigh of disappointment at how dumb humans are, choosing all kinds of bad possibilities just because they‘re too dopey to slide their hands around on their bare skin now and then. If I wanted to get sick it was fine with her; she was dead on her feet she said, goin’ since 7:30 this morning and now it was after 5.

“I guess it’s been a long day for you,”  I said and she said “yep” and that’s all she said so darn it all and isn’t that just my luck: looks like once again I’m stuck having to save my OWN life!

oh and Five bucks if you know at a glance why this guy should be mammography’s mascot 😉