MammogramI recently had my annual physical which had been delayed for a few years and the usual questions came up about my last pap smear, tetanus shot, & mammogram.

I blinked, acknowledged that I truly had no recollection of them occurring within this century. With that knowledge my barely shocked doctor swiftly gave me a booster shot, swiped my smear, and scheduled the mammogram.

Within a few days, the practice efficiently sent me a letter to inform me of my appointment with a flyer for an even better mammogram. Basically, it stated that yeah, sure the traditional 2-D mammogram was good, but for just a few seconds more you could get the deluxe 3-D version. No glasses required. And, by the way, your insurance won’t cover it so bring an extra $50 for the upgrade.

I arrived for my appointment sans deodorant and powder as instructed and declined to invest in the 3-D technology. When my name was called a very sweet technician escorted me to the dressing room so that I could don one of those natty hospital gowns. Once properly attired she asked if I could recall when and where I had my last mammogram. I admitted that it was last century, in another state, and probably under a different name. I selected two possible outlets and then we got rolling, right after she said, “I’m not here to hurt you.”

Now, I realize that it is not her fault that the only way to get the pictures they want involves cold metal plates and foot pound pressure. And as the procedure went along I remembered that after my first mammogram (over 30 years ago) how I had returned to my doctor (a male, fresh off his intenship, who had assured me it wouldn’t hurt) and strongly encouraged him to place the mostly matched set of his anatomy into the contraption and define “hurt.”

I wondered, “How do small breasted women do this?”  I’d never be able to get a job at Hooters, but my fripperies are much less Victoria’s and more Wagnerian, but without the bling.

With tears in my eyes, we started the second set of pictures. I was thinking about the brochure that exclaimed the 3-D version would only last a few seconds longer and get much better pictures. Glad I didn’t go for the upgrade. I have had two kids – one without drugs, and multiple kidney stones, and this procedure ranks right up there as number 3 for “discomfort”.

If any male had the … ovaries… to experience a mammogram, you can be sure that within a week there would be new technology that would be painless, affordable and accessible. Do we have any volunteers?