Wednesday, March 7, 2007


While I don't often admit it, I am just a tad bid obsessive compulsive. I do things like count stairs when going up AND when coming down, as if the number might have changed. And I worry too much. If I don't have something to worry about, well then, I worry about that.

I am a moderate to over-the-top hyperchondriac. Show me a molehill and I'll see Mt. Everest; give me a hangnail and I'll practice writing with my opposite hand just in case I should need an operation; give me a little tiny cyst in my breast and, well, you can imagine where I'm going with that.

Obviously the technicians who did my recent mamogram and ultrasound have had patients like me before. They were all business, showing no emotion, and making no eye contact. Of course, eye contact with "Brigitta" would have been impossible anyway as she was so short, her eyes only came up to my belly button. It was a little disconcerting to think that a woman who could barely reach my boobs was going to be in charge of smashing them between two pieces of plastic and still get a significant reading of the dreaded "spot". I kind of expected her to stand on a stool, but it was clear she knew what she was doing and my job was to follow directions.

It's actually pretty easy to follow directions, like "Don't move" and "Stop Breathing" when's one bosom is first flattened like a pancake then squeezed to an abnormal thinness by a Inquisition-like vice. The first thing a girl does as the vice clamps down is draw in a deep breath in preparation for a primal scream. The very idea of moving is consistent with seeing one's body with a gaping hole where one's breast used to be and said breast still lying flat in the vice. It just isn't going to happen.

However, Brigitta kind of reminded me of a Munchkin from the Wizard of Oz. As she methodically went about her business I couldn't help but think of her as part of the "Lollipop Guild" singing and dancing to an unheard lollipop tune. Such thoughts almost caused me to laugh out loud, which would have caused to move which could have had dire consequences for both me and my breast. Brigetta was not one to mess around with so I tried to think about something else ... but there's really nothing else to think about when you are attached to the mammogram machine like that, so I counted to a hundred and back.

Once the films were processed, I was sent to another room for a sonogram. Unlike the prenatal ultrasound where there is anticaptory excitement in the air and you get to take home a picture of your future child, this procedure was as cold and sterile as the room. The technician, a real East-European beauty who looked like she belonged in a James Bond movie, not a laboratory, matched Brigitta's business-like manner to a tee. I guess if your job is all about squirting lotion on other women's breasts and looking for a teeny spot with the aid of sound waves, which could be the difference between life or death, it stands to reason that your manner would be cool and efficient. Still, I was hoping for a re-assuring smile and a pat on the shoulder that was still covered by the flimsy cotton robe.

Lucky for me, the spot was pronounced "probably benign (not cancer)." I'm somewhat skeptical of the word "probably" when used in medical terminology, but the technician looked me square in the eye and said with a voice of reason, "Don't worry!" Yeh, right!

Merry ME

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