It’s like your birthday, it only comes once a year – thank God.   And I, like most women, have an endless supply of bitching to do about this once-a-year  ordeal.

As I get older (and I am so getting older), my concerns about getting a mammogram aren’t so much about pain – the technology has gotten to the point where they no longer try to make a pancake out of my big floppy boobies – at least that is how it is at my HMO.

No, now the problem is mobility and endurance.

I don’t know if this is just a big-boob issue, or a fat lady issue, or if everyone has to do this, but the gymnastics required to get a mammogram are getting more and more complicated.

First – face the machine (well, actually, strip to the waist and get two tapes with metal studs stuck to your nipples – yes, gentlemen, they really do this, and it is not at all as sexy as it sounds – especially for me, where we have to pick up the boobs and look underneath for the nipples).

Okay, face the machine.  Stick your butt out.  Lean into the machine (so now you are in kind of a crouch, that will only get more uncomfortable as time goes on), and let the nice radiologist put your boob on the icy cold glass (or plastic, I don’t know) shelf.

Not only is this shelf icy cold, but skin (at least boob skin) does not slide on it at all.  Nope, your boob will firmly adhere to the icy cold shelf, and every time the radiologist has to adjust your boob it has to be peeled off and re-placed onto the shelf.  And the shelf does not get warmer with use.  It is some kind of miracle substance.  Put this stuff on the outside of anything you want to re-enter the atmosphere from space, it resists heat like crazy.

Also, by the way, the radiologist does NOT want you to help in any way.  Trust me, you will only fuck up the delicate art of proper boob placement.

Okay, butt out, leaned in, knees bent, boob on plate, now relax your shoulders.  RELAX THEM.  Let the radiologist adjust them to a totally unnatural position – and NO DON’T HELP.  RELAX.  So one shoulder is kind of back and the other is dropped (all while keeping that boob motionless), get the other boob out of the shot and, while we’re at it, let’s get that upper arm fat out of the way (I don’t even want to know where the radiologist put that – maybe tucked under the other boob).  Keep your chin up.  Literally.

Now, the top plate comes down and the squashing begins – happily not as hard as it used to, but still .

And now, you are basically hanging off of this machine by your boob.

Okay, hold your breath.

No, the radiologist doesn’t tell you to hold your breath when they are ready to take the shot.  Nope.  They tell you when they are still out with you by the machine.   Hold your breath, while the radiologist strolls back behind their shield and eventually hits the button to take the shot.

As I get older, radiologists seem to take longer and longer to get back there and push that button (I know it has nothing to do with me and my lack of lung capacity).

Okay.  Breathe.

And, in my case do that 3 more times – because one shot is never enough to get one whole boob.  We have to go for the 2-shot, twice.

And, if you think it’s time to get dressed and go home.  Nah.  Now we do the side shot.  Where you still face the machine but the boob is kind of twisted for a profile shot (this is where the skin sticking to the shelf is really handy.  Otherwise, you’d never be able to get the boob in place without lowering the top plate).

To this one, besides all that other stuff, you get to add, reaching across to the back of the machine with one arm and holding on for dear life.  (RELAX!)  You’d think this would be added support so your whole body wasn’t dangling from your pendulous (if it wasn’t pendulous when you started it is now) boob, but somehow it just makes it worse – butt out, knees bent, reach across, drop the shoulder (RELAX), chin up.  Now, hold that breath!

And it takes 4 shots total of the profile too.

All done!  Yippee.

And that’s when you realize the only thing more adhesive to boob skin than that shelf – the metal-studded tape stuck to your nipples!

And men think they have it bad with a prostate exam.  I’ll trade a mammogram for a greased finger up the butt any day.



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