Friday, November 11, 2011

Hold Your Breath!

I got my mammogram last week, and while I don't mind doing it, I'm always a little amused by the whole process. I'm sure it's not remotely funny if you're dealing with a health scare, but on run of the mill mammogram days I can't help but smile when I do it. Some women claim that it hurts. I've never had that experience, but perhaps you need more boob for that. The office that does my mammograms is wonderful. They are very caring and professional, and I get to wear this spiffy robe throughout the whole thing. They don't make you wait around forever for your results either. Within a few hours of mine, I had a text message saying mine was A-okay. Of course, that text was from Mrs. Scrubs who works in that office, but they were always prompt and doting before she started working there.

I guess it's a lack of maturity on my part because in all honesty, every time I step up to that mammogram machine, that old saying about gettin' your tit hung in a wringer goes through my head. Over and over again. Throughout the whole lift this arm, move forward, don't breathe thing. It's all I can do not to laugh. Then there's all the tugging and pulling, the mashing and smashing. I started to make some smart aleck comment to the nurse the other day about pulling taffy and then I thought better of it. Believe it or not, I do manage to stop this mouth from running overtime on a rare occasion. (And that noise you just heard was my husband snorting.)

Among the other thoughts that went through my head the other day was God bless the flat chested woman who has to endure the nurse trying to stretch every inch of flesh she can in between those two plates. And where's the lattes? Every other professional office is trying to wow me with their customer service these days by offering me a milky coffee I'm probably paying too much for, so why can't they? Oh, right, it's supposed to be about the TEST. Which brings me (finally) to my point. If we can spend so much time on figuring out ways to make medical tests much more pleasant like robes, and potpourri and mood music, why can't we spend a little more time on improving the tests themselves? There is probably a lot of research like that going on now that I just don't know about it, but it sure seems to take a long time for us to find a better way to probe the human body. Take the rectal thermometer and babies. How long did we use that method before someone finally said, "Let's just use the temperature in the ear and adjust our scale accordingly." I remember a time when I was a kid and mama would holler at me to go get the thermometer, and she'd have to remind me to pick up the oral thermometer, NOT the rectal thermometer. Wouldn't that be a bad mistake?

And then there's the way we come up with the ideas to begin with. Who decided that the best way to determine body temperature was to shove a glass capsule full of mercury up your backside? It's an issue that plagues us in these modern times. I'd love to have been seated at the table when someone in the group of people studying the colon said, "Hey! I got it. Let's give someone explosive diarrhea, clean 'em out real good and then run a camera up their fanny! They're gonna fart like crazy when it's over with, but I think it'll work." I'm not even gonna' touch on the issue of pap smears except to say that those little brushes may LOOK like Q-tips, but they don't FEEL like Q-tips.

A man is credited with developing the mammogram, which does not surprise me. No woman would have ever volunteered for getting her tit caught in a wringer...I mean, mash her boob really hard between two plates. I suspect that if we developed a prostate test that involved mashing the genitalia of a man between two plates and telling him to stand on his tiptoes and hold his breath, we'd have a better test within months. Now, wipe that visual image out of your brain with some eye bleach.

No doubt about it, medical care is invasive. It's humbling to be poked and prodded in the name of staying healthy. Just ask Papa T.. And I will gladly line up for my mammogram each year. But barring any surprises, I am just two and a half years away from my first colonoscopy, so I'm hoping they've developed a better way of performing that little chore before I have to have one. Besides, contrary to what I tell my family, I do not fart rainbows.


oreneta said...

Well, you were making me feel better about mammograms for a bit there, and then you weren't. Hmmm.

J.G. said...

I have heard that the skill of the mammogram tech makes all the difference. This last time I had a "bad" one, and now I tend to agree. Despite not having much to work with (ahem), it has never been a problem. But yow, this time it was downright painful.

As for the rest, I don't think any doctor should be permitted to order any test he/she hasn't personally had. That would even things up a bit.

Zackery said...

It won't really have success, I consider so.
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