Before I ever had my first mammogram I remember my mother's horror stories about the process of mammography and how they brutally crushed her breasts in that awful vice-like machine until they were flat as pancakes until she couldn't take it anymore and she was almost in tears, and her breasts would hurt for days afterward. I'd get the calls about how sore she was and how she wondered if something wasn't wrong. "I think those exams can MAKE you have problems with your breasts."
'Thank you mom. Gee, I can't wait to make MY appointment for one of those. I'll just call tomorrow....You've inspired me.' Is it any wonder I didn't have my first mammogram until I was 54 years old?
And when I DID go, you can imagine how surprised I was that: 1) I lived through it. 2) It didn't hurt anywhere near like my mother said it would and I wasn't a mass of quivering jelly on the floor. (and I'm not a small-breasted woman) 3) My breasts were not permanent flapjacks, frisbees....or transformed into any other deformed foreign objects. I had to come to the realization that Mom had exaggerated just a smidgeon....OR she just had very sensitive breasts. Since I've heard similar stories in both camps....I'll just say my mom must have had sensitive breasts and let it go at that. I don't even think my mom had that many mammograms in her lifetime; and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why.
What I do wish my mother had been a little wiser about was telling 'everyone and their uncle'....including me, about the 'tortures' of the mammogram. But that was my mom, and that was how she was about most medical issues. I took a lot of things with a grain of salt, but in truth...I wasn't running to the phone to make an appointment either.
It's not like I'm Miss Model Patient of the Year...believe me. I just had my second mammogram last year. Again, it seemed fine. I don't remember it hurting much. Maybe I'm getting a little cocky. I just got a reminder in the mail a couple of days ago for another one. Hey, cripes...okay already. Now they know where I live...they're tracking me down. I'll think about it.
POWER OUTAGE DURING A MAMMOGRAM
I went for my mammogram appointment. I was met with, 'Hi! I'm Belinda!'
This perky clipboard carrier smiled from ear to ear, tilted her head to one side and crooned, 'All I need you to do is step into this room right here, strip to the waist, then slip on this gown.
I'm thinking, 'Belinda, try decaf. This ain't rocket science.'
Belinda skipped away to prepare the chamber of horrors.
With the right side finished, Belinda flipped me (literally) to the left and said, 'Hmmmm. Can you stand on your tippy toes and lean in a tad so we can get everything?'
Fine, I answered. I was freezing, bruised, and out of air, so why not use the remaining circulation in my legs and neck and finish me off?
My body was in a holding pattern that defied gravity (with my other boob wedged between those two 4 inch pieces of square glass) when we heard, then felt a zap! Complete darkness and the power went off!
'Oh, maintenance is working. Bet they hit a snag.' Belinda headed for the door.
'Excuse me! You're not leaving me in this vice alone are you?' I shouted.
Belinda kept going and said, 'Oh, you fussy puppy...the door's wide open so you'll have the emergency hall lights. I'll be right back..'
Before I could shout 'NOOOO!' she disappeared.
And that's exactly how Bubba and Earl, maintenance men extraordinaire, found me, half-naked and part of me dangling from the Jaws of Life, and the other part smashed between glass!
After exchanging polite 'Hi, how's it going' type greetings, Bubba (or possibly Earl) asked, to my utter disbelief, if I knew the power was off.
Trying to disguise my hysteria, I replied with as much calmness as possible, 'Uh, yes, yes I did thanks.'
'You bet, take care' Bubba replied and waved goodbye as though I'd been standing in the line at the grocery store.
Two hours later, Belinda breezes in wearing a sheepish grin. Making no attempt to suppress her amusement, she said, 'Oh I am sooo sorry!' The power came back on and I totally forgot about you! And silly me, I went to lunch. Are we upset?'
'And that, Your Honor, is exactly how her head ended up between the clamps.'