I got my boobs squeezed today.
And not in the fun “oh he’s cute, I’m going to ride that pony hard to the finish line” kind of way, though. Sadly.
Nope, it was that wonderful time of year…
Mammograms are so fucking weird. You sign some paperwork and give them your ID. The trailer (rural life FTW) is cool and clean and smells vaguely of baby powder and honeysuckle. Everyone smiles at you because you are DOING THE RIGHT THING.
They ask you if you put on any deodorant that day. It’s Arizona, so you roll your eyes. They give you wipes to remove it, and then wipes to put it back on afterwards.
You step into a closet and strip naked from the waist up. You put on a shawl made out of some floral calico print that makes you look like Dracula’s dorky country cousin.
You step into the main room and the tech is adjusting the smoosher. Her name is invariably vanilla, like Donna or Sally or Joanne or Monica. She grills you on questions you didn’t completely answer on the forms they gave you on a clipboard.
Yes, my LMP was August 4, according to the calendar on my phone.
No, I am not pregnant and, sadly, abstinence is a viable form of birth control.
Yes, both an aunt and an uncle on my father’s side had breast cancer in their 50s. She died, from systemic cancer, and he radiated and then toked his way back to health.
Yes, more importantly, an aunt on my mother’s side and my mother both had uterine cancer but that can be attributed in part to HRT. Yes, my mother also had vaginal cancer and we nearly lost her. Yes, she’s perfectly healthly now, Praise Jesus.
Yes, I have been pregnant a couple times, but only one live birth. Yes, she is 16 and light of my life and joy of my existence and OH MY FUCKING GOD YOUR HANDS ARE COLD!
I am sure that there are some ladies who try to keep the shawl on. I am not one of those ladies. I only keep it on until we have exchanged names and pleasantries. Then I ask if I can discard it, because it only gets in the way.
You’re standing in a nippy room with a stranger who is making absolutely sure she doesn’t pinch your nipples but in all other ways she traumatizes your bosom.
You let her pick up your tits and shake them a little so they spread out. You let her grab you by the lower waist/upper butt and move you like you’re Antonio Banderas’ dance partner (sadly without Antonio Banderas). You talk about careers and family and death and childbirth and how nice it is to work in a job with air conditioning.
Just another day in the half-naked and painfully constricting office. With A/C.
The top-down scan (like in the picture above) is pretty simple. You have to grab on to the machine like you were dancing awkwardly in junior high once more, and then you have to turn your face and plaster it to the clear plastic guard like you were hunting for that last bit of cucumber at the local salad bar.
Then the vanilla lady starts to lower the plate.
She asks nicely if it hurts. It doesn’t hurt per se. She tells you to breathe naturally. You resist the urge to say, “Lady, if anything here is natural, I’ll eat my shoe.”
When it’s over, she says that you can now remove yourself from the machine. You try to step away gracefully but feel a tug. She reminds you that you will have to peel yourself up and out of the contraption.
You step back with your boobs in your hand. They are as happy to see you as frightened kittens who wandered too far from home but are safe now because of you.
The side scan is an even more impossible dance of nudity and rigid medical appartus. When that one is over, and [insert name here] releases the plate, you’re lucky if you don’t fall straight backwards and land on your ass.
At this point, your breasts have decided they hate you and will not speak to you until you have consumed chocolate and leered in a most unladylike fashion at pictures of one of the Chrises: Evan, Pine, Pratt, Hemsworth. I choose my favorite of the four.
And life goes on like before. For better or worse.
One thing, however, I would like to say about women and their breasts and the medical establishment… if you’re ever a nurse in, say, a maternity ward in rural Arizona… then don’t get offended if you have these very real conversations with one of your patients.
In my defense, I had been in very real and very painful labor for six hours before they decided to do a C-section on me, and that spinal block hit me like a boob-ton of morphine.
Loopy loopy looopy loooooopy loooo. Yes, I said boob-ton. Looolooo Lulu looooopy.
NURSE: So, are you going to breastfeed your baby?
LULU: Yes! Because I have marvelous breasts! Wonderful, beautiful, marvelous breasts! Look! I can show you! Now, where did I put them……..
NURSE: Well, your husband and you made a beautiful baby!
LULU: Thank you! We practiced. A lot.
Think before you speak to anyone who has signed up to have her cleavage mangled. Say nice things in a calm manner. Ask her if she likes beautiful men. Take my advice, people.