I was greeted by perky Tricia-I'll-be-helping-you-today in her pink scrubs. She led me to a barely curtained corner and instructed me to strip from the top up and handed me a thin cotton covering that will open in the front. "Shouldn't you offer to buy me a drink, first?" I asked. But she'd already left.
Once scantily clad, Tricia-I'll-be-helping-you-today sat me down on a cold, hard chair and verified basic information. Yes, my mother has had breast cancer. Yes, that is my name and birthdate. When she asked if I'd had any surgery on my breasts, I could only pull the thin cotton covering tightly across my chest and look at them sadly. "If I have, I'd never recommend the plastic surgeon." She had the grace to giggle nervously then verify, "So have you?"
Led to a room with a painful looking contraption, Tricia excitedly told me that the new technology is now digital(!). Does this mean you don't have to squish so hard? No, she answered wistfully. She then manhandled my right breast onto the shockingly cold plates and surprised me by teaching it new acrobatics. Rather than depressing myself by watching my previously perky and appealing feminine curves squish between the plates, I chose to concentrate on a spot on the industrial wallpaper and talk about anything else. Tricia wanted to talk about my mom's breast cancer. Mmmkay. Anything but that.
Repeat: Left side. Concentrate on industrial wallpaper. Talk about men's prostates, new radiology equipment, the lack of a heating pad on the cold plates (it damages the machine). And done.
Back to my semi-private curtained room, I regained my composure and pride as I slipped back into my clothes. I examined both of my girls who seemed no worse for the wear and walked out, passing another woman waiting for her turn, hunched over herself with both legs bouncing up and down. Tricia-I'll-be-helping-you-today, offered me truffles and a breast cancer awareness bracelet (October being breast cancer awareness month) and waved goodbye.
Before walking past the next victim, I quickly slipped the paperback I'd been reading into my shirt, spine poking outward and called behind my shoulder to Tricia, "So in 4-6 weeks I'll regain my shape?" I walked past the now terrified woman and mouthed, "Have fun."