Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mammogram -- The Ultimate Legal Torture Device

Yesterday I had my annual mammogram. In the past, I've had some good experiences and one not so good, but yesterday was pure Torture. Yes, that's torture with a capital T!!!The technician was nice enough, not someone I expected to put me through excruciating pain. She looked and sounded sympathetic, but that's as far as it went.

Have you ever gone to a hairdresser who was angry about something. She'll smile while pulling your hair out by the roots? Yeah. You know what I'm talking about. Well, I think that's what happened to my technician. She either had a bad hair or got up on the wrong side of the bed.

Then she pasted on her "I'm so sorry to have to mangle your breasts smile" and took out all her frustration on my poor body.First picture, frontal. Plop breast on plastic shelf. Raise chin. Arms down straight. Hold it. Rrrrrrrrrr. Clamp makes contact. Continues to make a pancake out of my breast. Stop breathing. Click, whirr. Okay, you can breathe now. Yeah, no problem.

Turn sideways. Grab this handle waaaaaay up here. All right, now I need to tell you that I have very short arms. I can never find a jacket or long-sleeved shirt that doesn't cover the ends of my fingers. So I grab the handle. NO, she says. Put your arm along this metal shelf and then grab the handle. Okay, that's good. Now lift your chin. She plops my boob back on the shelf. Then she says, "Relax your shoulder." Uh, how? She presses it back and down. Now I'm standing at a very awkward angle and the corner of the metal shelf is trying to make an entrance into my body via my underarm. Hold your breath. No problem. I haven't been breathing since the tears started falling five minutes ago. Rrrrrrrrrr. Click, whirrr. Okay, you can breathe now.

Finally, she releases my boob and I feel such intense pounding pain that I can't imagine turning and letting her do it to the other boob. But somehow I manage.

I walk out to the waiting room, where I meet the eyes of the other victims. They smile in an understanding way. One by one the others are released to go home.

Then the technician calls to me. She needs to take another picture! One of the side pictures. Arrrrgh. I want to rip out her eyes.

Once again she puts me through the same torture. Finally I'm released to try and walk with my shoulders upright to the car...and then ??drive??

Today, it was pure agony to put on a bra and go to work. My breasts and underarms are throbbing as I type this blog.

My question...why can't they invent a softer way to do this xray? I wonder if all the mashing and mangling aren't one of the reasons the breast cancer rates are so high. What do you think?


Marianne Arkins said...

My mom had breast cancer when she was 33 y.o. -- as I result, I've had to have mammograms since I was 23 (I'm 40 now)!! I can truly say that I empathize with you...


Carol Ann Erhardt said...

Thanks, Marianne. I'm sorry about your mother.