Yesterday I joined the ranks of many women who have gone before me as I had my first mammogram. And all I can say is:
How is it, that in the year 2017, the best the medical community can offer women for mammography is a glorified Panini press?!?!
Y’all, I had NO idea! None.
I didn’t even know that I was going to be squished and pressed like a panini yesterday. It all happened while experiencing the other joy of womanhood—the well-woman exam.
As if laying there on the table in your paper gown in all your glory while trying to pay attention to the doctor’s idle chit-chat isn’t bad enough (I mean seriously doc no amount of chit-chat is going to make this experience feel normal!) Then the doctor casually mentions that women over the age of 40 really need to start having mammograms and that, conveniently enough, they now offer them right down the hall.
I get dressed and follow the signs to the mammography suite (yep, cause calling it a suite makes it all better!)
I am warmly greeted and welcomed to the “club.” There’s lovely music playing and the color pink is everywhere.
“Sugar,” a kind older woman calls out to me, “We can take you back now.”
She leads me to a small dressing room and points to a basket, “The gown opens in the front. Then just head through that door when you’re ready.”
I open the “gown” only to discover that it’s a vest. A short—only to the waist—paper vest.
Why is this a problem??
Because I’m wearing a dress!!!
You see, I have this neurotic fear of a doctor walking in the room while I am in a state of partial dress. Yes, I know the doctor is soon to see me in a much less, but for some reason I have this need to undress as quickly as possible to avoid the dreaded walk-in. And so I wear dresses to these kind of appointments. Easy on, easy off.
But now I stand here, holding a paper vest, feeling the blood drain from my head.
Maybe it looks longer on, I rationalize.
So now I stand in a pink paper vest and my underwear, weighing my options.
I try pulling my dress on like a skirt (stupid small neck line) I try wrapping the dress around my waist like a sarong (it’s too short) I try creating shorts out of another paper vest (sadly, I now look like I’m wearing a pink paper diaper!!!)
My neck is covered with purple splotches. Surely this is not happening. Surely I am not going to have to leave this (un)dressing room in my underwear!
“Jennifer? Honey? You ok in there?” the woman calls.
“Um….I don’t have pants,” I reply in a hysterical yelp.
“It’s ok,” she chuckled. “Just come on out.”
Dear Lord, has it really come to this?
I peak through the door like a mouse assessing its surroundings.
Just the one woman.
Deep breath. And walk.
“Bad day to wear a dress huh?” I hear myself say.
“Go ahead and step over here,” I am told. “Step right to the machine and I’ll position you.”
Oh dear Lord! She does. And with all the gentleness of a mover trying to shove a sofa through a narrow doorway. I am not well-endowed and so I think she was having to pull all the available skin from my entire torso to have something to put on the machine! She pulled and tugged and yanked (all while I stand pant-less). And then just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, she says, “Ok, lots of pressure coming,” and she closes the panini press, giving it one last tug!
Are you kidding me??? This is the best we can do for women???
“Just breathe,” I am told.
I’d really rather not, cause passing out sounds really good right now. Not only will I be oblivious to this…event, but I won’t fall because my boob and all the skin from my neck and abdomen is literally stuck in a panini press!!
I am told to stop breathing for a moment while she takes the image.
Way ahead of you lady!!
We repeat the process on the other side.
It is done. Thank you God!
I turn to leave.
“Oh wait, sugar, we have to do it from the side now…”
Yep, let’s turn the press on its side and squeeze the panini vertically!
Finally, we are done. The tech says words. I don’t know what they are. I make my way back to the dressing room, feeling like my once small chest is now hanging down to my knees.
I throw the paper vest away and put my stupid dress back on. I walk out of the room, avoiding eye contact with everyone. Do I need to check out? I don’t care. I exit the waiting room, confident they will send a bill or something.
As I flee from the “suite” a woman is entering. She looks wide-eyed, unsure, and around 40, She’s wearing a dress. Oh, poor thing….
I sit in the car for 5 whole minutes trying to process what just happened. And then I start hysterically laughing.
For you see, a few days ago I confided to my husband that one of my biggest fears with this whole book publishing thing is that pride might creep into my heart. I asked him to pray with me that in all things and at all times I will point to Jesus and remain humble in my heart.
You guys, be careful what you pray for! Because God might just give you a “humility moment” to reflect back on…a humility moment in the form of a pink paper vest, underwear and a panini press!!
(Disclaimer: although the experience was less than awesome, I am so grateful that mammogram detection has saved countless lives! So, go get your mammograms. After all, if I can do it, you can do it. Just do yourself a favor and wear pants!!!)