My First MammogramAfter a lengthy battle with my nerves after hearing horror stories from my friends, I actually kept my mammogram appointment. I had never had one, and at 35 everyone was saying I just had to do it, so I went.
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. Everything clear?"
But before I could say a word, Belinda skipped away to prepare the torture chamber. 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 vise alone are you?" I shouted.
Belinda kept going and said, "Oh, don't be silly," the perky bimbo practically sang. "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 calm 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 and, 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....
The first mammogram is always the worst. Especially when the machine catches on fire. That's what happened to me. The technician, Gail, positioned me exactly as she wanted me (think a really complicated game of Twister -- right hand on the blue, left shoulder on the yellow, right breast as far away as humanly possible from the rest of your body). Then she clamped the machine down so tight, I think my breast actually turned inside out. I'm pretty sure Victoria's secret doesn't have a bra for that.
Suddenly, there was a loud popping noise. I looked down at my right breast to make sure it hadn't exploded. Nope, it was still flat as a pancake and still attached to my body. "Oh no!" Gail said loudly. These are, perhaps, the words you least want to hear from any health professional. Suddenly, she came flying past me, her lab coat whipping behind her, on her way out the door. She yelled over her shoulder, "The machine's on fire, I'm going to get help!"
Okay, I was wrong, "The machine's on fire," are the worst words you can hear from a health professional. Especially if you're all alone and semi-permanently attached to A MACHINE and don't know if it's THE MACHINE in question.
I struggled for a few seconds trying to get free, but even Houdini couldn't have escaped. I decided to go to plan B: yelling at the top of my lung (the one that was still working). I hadn't seen anything on fire, so my panic hadn't quite reached epic proportions. But then I started to smell smoke coming from behind the partition. This is ridiculous, I thought. I can't die like this. What would they put in my obituary? Cause of death: Breast entrapment? I may have inhaled some fumes because I started to hallucinate. An imaginary fireman rushed in with a fire hose and a hatchet.
"Howdy ma'am," he said. "What happened here?" he asked, averting his eyes. "My breasts were too hot for the machine," I quipped, as my imaginary fireman ran out of the room again. "This is gonna take the Jaws of Life!" In reality, Gail returned with a fire extinguisher and put out the fire. She gave me a big smile and released me from the machine, "Sorry! That's the first time that's ever happened. Why don't you take a few minutes to relax before we finish up?"
I think that's what she said. I was running across the parking lot in my backless paper gown at the time. After I relax for a few years, I figure I might go back. But I'm to bring my own firefighter.