We’ve got self-driving cars. So why does the mammogram remain the Model T of medical technology?
Drones. Self-driving cars. All this advanced technology. And still they’ve got to totally flatten my breasts to make sure they’re tumor-free.
Priorities, people. Priorities.
I remember my first mammogram. I stood there, pressed against the machine and thinking, “My God, this contraption’s like something out of The Crucible.” Did having small breasts make me a witch?
I know it makes me a bitch; I kvetch pretty regularly about being last in line when God gave out mammary glands. But really, I hadn’t cast any spells, chanted, or even levitated my husband’s sweat socks into my bra. And yet there I was, feeling as if I was about to be pressed to death, one ta-ta at a time.
Anyway, I recall the nice technician telling me to put my arm this way, and lean my shoulder that way, and please stay still while she compressed my breast into the shape and – sadly – size, of a silver dollar. Then she actually asked me to hold my breath.
I looked at her like, people breathe during this procedure?
Then she flipped a switch, and boom. It was over. Until we had to do it again. And again. How my petite petunias managed to cast a shadow I’ll never know. But they did. Twice. Each.
Can you imagine if men had to endure this to protect the health of their …you know? We’d have to have curbside pickup for the number of guys dropping like flies from all manner of male cancers. There’s no way they’d go for protecting the family jewels by crushing the crown. No, the youknowgram would be much more pleasant than the mammogram.
For starters, it would probably be done in a sports bar with a couple of pitchers of beer and a football game blaring. And it would in no way, shape, or form, involve squishing the little sports fan.
All this is not to say I don’t get my annual mammogram. I do. And afterwards they usually send me for an ultrasound; seems I’m so filled with fibroids “it’s tough to tell the black marbles from the white marbles,” as my shoot-from-the-hip, but that’s why I like him, gynecologist once said. My favorite part of that particular procedure is when I’m laying on the table and the tech walks in and asks if there have been any new developments.
I lift the sheet, glance down at the girls, and reply, “Nope. Still flat as a five-year-old.”
I guess I just don’t understand why, in order to protect a woman’s breasts, we have to practically pop them. Is no one working on correcting this situation? Sure, it’s a little more pleasant since my first visit with the vise; some hospitals give you fluffy robes and slippers, bottled water and chocolates, soft music, a million magazines, and the occasional chair massage. But they’re not fooling anyone.
This isn’t some spa appointment and I just happened to select “mammogram” off the menu. The hell with that.
When I get pampered I want a sea salt pedicure and a European exfoliating facial, thank you very much. Not twenty minutes in a hyper-clean trash compactor.
No, it’s not fun, but it’s a necessary evil. One I’ve learned to follow with two other necessary evils: shopping and wine.
I schedule my appointment just late enough in the afternoon so that when I’m done, there’s still time to treat myself to something sparkly, usually a new pair of earrings. Nothing expensive. Just something fun to draw attention up and away from my pita bread-like bosoms. I tend to gravitate toward hoops. Really, really big hoops. Hoops so big I can almost slip them over my head and hula. Which I don’t do because they’d probably get caught around my throat and God knows what kind of nifty medical machinery the hospital would employ to free me.
Doctor: Looks like we’ll need the larynx crusher for this one.
Nurse: But doctor, she just had a mammogram. Hasn’t she been flattened enough for one day?
Once I’ve shopped, it’s on to chardonnay. Sometimes I meet my girlfriends. Other times I come home and hang with my husband. And yes, there are times when I sit alone on my porch and say a prayer. Of course I thank God for my good health. But I harangue Him, too.
We’ve got artificial intelligence. And autonomous robots. And yes, those crazy self-driving cars! And yet the mammogram remains the Model T of medical technology. I’m not asking for a sunroof, Lord. But shock absorbers sure would be swell.
Of course, God has bigger fish to fry, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.
The next time I go, I’m videotaping the entire experience and putting it on YouTube. And I’m getting my films and loading them on Facebook. If I have to flash the masses to improve mammography, I will.
Care to join me?
Write your Congresswoman and the American Medical Association. Go for your mammogram and demand a better mousetrap. Together we can effect change, spark a revolution, and maybe even force the geeks who gave us Google and Twitter to use their brain power for the titters.
If it works, it’ll be the biggest thing my breasts have ever done. And then I’ll have to decide: Do I want a medal or a chest to pin it on? Believe it or not, I’m thinking medal.
All of a sudden I’m jonesing for a new piece of jewelry.