Monday, November 8, 2021

This Is How It Goes

 My doctor belongs to a large group of affiliated medical people and whenever we need anything diagnostic, we end up in this waiting room. Blood work, x-rays, mammograms...I don't know what all. But those are the things I've had done there. Oh yeah, ultrasounds. It is actually very convenient and takes away the tiniest bit of stress because there's no need to try and figure out where I'm going. I KNOW where that building is. And the people who work there are kind and efficient and except for getting blood drawn, I've never had to wait very long. 
Same today. 
I wasn't in the waiting room for ten minutes before I was called back by a technician who very carefully told me exactly where we were headed which sort of made me feel like I was an elderly blind person but it wasn't confusing. 
In some of the places I've gotten mammograms, you are shown into a little changing area, given a key to a locker where you stash all your stuff, change into the gown, and then you wait in an adjoining area to be shown to the room where they do the smushing. But in this place, the tech talks to you for a moment in the room where she takes you from the waiting room, excuses herself for a few minutes so that you can take off your clothes from the waist up and put on a sort of cape which is ridiculous but which is an attempt to preserve modesty.
If you have any, which after nursing all of my children for at least two years, I really don't. 
Here's what the exam room looks like. 

There you can see the Smushorator. (Actual medical term. Haha.) The technician gently handles your breasts, one at a time, to fit between two glass plates and then cranks the Smusher (nick name of the Smushorator) to compress them into something resembling a French crepe. 
You are instructed to stand still, hold your breath, take a breath but don't move, and then hold your breath again. 
Images are taken. 
I have always found the techs to be so very, very gentle up to that moment when they have to crank the plates together. But it only takes a few seconds. 
And that is how you get a mammogram! I am sure that all of my lady readers already know this but no one ever really talks about the whole process and so I now have. 
They cannot tell you anything, of course, about what the images look like in their opinion. They must be read by a radiologist and then the results will be e-mailed in four or five days. 
Almost every woman knows and dreads the "we just need to take a few more pictures" call or e-mail and our minds go directly to the worst case scenario. As far as I can tell, it's not easy to determine what is normal and what is possibly concerning in breast tissue. I've also heard that even experienced radiologists can disagree completely on what they're looking at. The images I got today are 3-D which hopefully are more easily read and accurate. 
And then you put your clothes back on and you can leave and wait. 

I went to Goodwill today after my exam. I was in the mood. And I found some lovely damask napkins, a very cool old baking dish with a lid, and an incredibly soft flannel sheet that will be my husband's new favorite blanket. I sleep under a down comforter, folded over, in winter, while he sleeps with a flannel sheet over him. Maybe a flannel sheet and a cotton woven blanket if it's really cold. His oldest flannel blanky (which is what I call it) is getting so thin and so worn that there really isn't much for me to patch. So this was a good find. 
While I was in the Goodwill, he called- would I like to meet him for lunch? And so I did. We went to a newish place that is called, bizarrely, Chow Time. I thought it was probably some country-themed place, right? However, I was wrong. It's a Chinese buffet, mostly, with approximately four acres of steam tables and cold food and two acres of dining area. 
It felt like such a sin to go to a buffet and it turned out that it was for more than one reason. The choices of food were overwhelming. Salads and sushi and your typical Asian buffet choices and a noodle bar and a soup bar and a dessert bar and seafood by the ton and macaroni and cheese too. 
We tried not to overdo. It was not easy. 
Surprisingly, the food was pretty darn good and how they can make money charging what they are charging is beyond me. 

And now I need to go and fix our supper, speaking of food. That's the thing about eating. You do it and then five or six hours later you need to do it again! It's so strange. 

Tomorrow is Levon's birthday. There will be a little party at their house. Here's the card I got the boy months ago.

I think I'm more excited about that than I am the present we got him. 

A boy will turn four. There will be hot dogs and cake and presents and a mother and father and brother and cousins and aunts and an uncle and grandparents. 

I'm excited. I hope he is too. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. So glad to read your mammogram went off with no stress! Once I turned 75 I quit getting them done! Mine always came back clean, so not too worried about it now that I am 78.
    Levon should love that card and the tools ... He can really help Grandpa with those!

  2. As I write this, it's after midnight in England so I am already in Levon's birthday. On behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, Keith Richards, Robin Hood and the JCB company (Google it) I should like to be the first to wish young Levon a very happy fourth birthday.

  3. Happy birthday to the little guy and I hope the party is wonderful.

  4. Well of course Chow Time serves Chinese food. Way up north in New England, Chow Maine serves egg rolls and sesame noodles, not local lobster. I bet every state has a Chow Something-or-other.

  5. Cool card! And I can just imagine how thrilled he will be with the present. Isn't it fun to see little kids when their faces light up.

  6. Sounds as if a great birthday is planned. lucky boy, and happy birthday to him!

  7. Happy Birthday to Levon tomorrow! I'd forgotten that he shares a birthday with Gregg. ❤ Good men are born on November 9th!

    I know he's going to love the gift and the card you're giving him. Four must be a magical age to celebrate a birthday! I hope he has a wonderful day!

  8. We got our grandsons toolboxes. One of the first things we got them was a small rechargeable drill, a set of screwdrivers, a box of screws and good length of two by four. A hammer and a box of nails came later on. This year will probably be a set of wrenches and a length of two by four with a bunch of nuts and bolts.

  9. When I was first reading this post, Jack spotted the card with the construction machines and wanted me to scroll back up. I think I'll look for a card like that for him too.

    I hate getting mammos done. They don't gently place your breast on the plate, they start smooshing tissue by your collarbone and shove it under the top part, the compression device, which sounds so innocuous until it comes done on your breast and your nipple. The tech tightens the compression device until you think you can't stand it anymore and then they turn it once more. I yell a lot when I get mine done. My breasts are small and dense so apparently then have to compress more and fuck that hurts. It's been three years and I'm supposed to go yearly and I literally work in the department and I still haven't had one in three years. Bad nurse.

  10. I love it when you are getting a mammogram and they tell you not to move. Hahaha, really? You are trapped. Where exactly do they think you are going to go?

  11. I love it when they tell you to hold your breath. How can you be smooshed in the Smoosherator and not be holding your breath is beyond me. I finally let out my breath when they release the darn thing. It generally feels like I'm going to pass out, but I'd be dangling by my smooshed boob. I will myself not to pass out for for fear of leaving my nipple in the dang machine after I collapse on the floor in a heap.

    But at least it's done. And yes, it's the right thing to have it done yearly. But I promise you, that if this had to be done to men's testicles, they would come up with a better way than what they do to us and our lady bits.

    Good on you for having it done and out of the way for the year.

  12. The toy toolbox with the "power drill" is awesome! The mammogram doesn't sound like a fun experience. :/

  13. Perfect card. I can see why you are excited about it. Made for Levon--Happy Birthday, buddy!

    Have my mammo in two weeks. Good description.

  14. Wait, what, you actually get a gown for your trip to the Smusharator????? We don't, AND the last nurse I got was a guy who was only as tall as my chest so that was embarrassing (although he was extremely professional, of course). And looking down on the slides, I kinda see more of a pitta bread, myself! I suppose on the positive side we get to see the radiologist immediately afterwards so there's no waiting. It's not pleasant is it, but .... And I just love Levon's card and gift. That will be one happy little boy tomorrow!

  15. I always thought that if these bodies were designed by some kind of intelligent god then it was damn inefficient to make them have to eat three times a day. There's a Chinese buffet here which we have never been to. We should probably try it but I just have this irrational suspicion of Chinese buffets. I'm probably due for my boob smushing but my boobs are so small they have a hard time getting anything on the plate.

  16. I have a mammogram coming up in December and you described the process perfectly. I always admire the xray techs I have had because they are kind and careful with my boobs.
    Happy Birthday to Levon! He will love those tools and tractors!
    My Grandpa's birthday was Nov. 9th - he would be 131 years old now!

  17. At my last mammogram the nurse commented that I was 'good at pulling faces'. Had I been in a less vulnerable position I would have officially complained about her lack of professionalism. I swear I will never have another one.

  18. smushorator is right! Like Pixie said, that one last *turn* of the dial is a killer! Hope you will get a perfect report! Bosoms perfect, end of story! And I wish the Birthday Boy Levon a perfectly fun day with his family and his new tool box (so that he can help Boppy more)! Hope Jessie is recovering from her cold too!
    Susan M

  19. For all it is uncomfortable and a pretty grim process, isn't it wonderful that we have this technology. I went for scan recently and was fascinated and awed that we can do this so readily today - how lucky we are.

  20. How. on. earth. could. Levon. be. FOUR???
    I need to follow your lead and get my mammogram too.


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