Thursday, January 3, 2013

All in a Day's Work

This morning I went for my annual mammogram. I do this to delude myself into thinking I am taking care of my health, despite the fact that since I discovered it about 30 years ago I have eaten sushi too many times to count, the dangers of which include salmonella, mercury poisoning and probably worse. But there I was, stripped to the waist, my breasts--each in its turn--laid out on a cold slab, much like that Japanese delicacy.

Being an old newspaper reporter I ask a lot of questions, and the technician doing the procedure was happy to talk. Her name was Pat, she is 62 years old, and has two daughters. The first one arrived a month early and popped right out, but the second one was born breach, with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. She turned out fine, but "has always been a real spitfire."

Having a mammogram is a lot like sashimi.
Pat has been doing this work for the last 22 years, which if you ask me is a whole lot of breasts to manhandle, or more accurately, womanhandle. She sees anywhere from 14 to 20 "girls" each day. Her goal is to "get the best picture of all the girls, and make sure they don't need to have a redo." Since this was the first time in too many years I was referred to as a girl, I liked Pat immediately. Even though I was sort of bored, despite my breasts getting mashed under glass, Pat said her job is never boring to her because no two breasts are the same. "Even on the the same girl, there are differences." I was easy, according to Pat, because there was "a lot to work with." She explained, "When I see a flat-chested girl in the waiting room, I know it will be a real challenge."

While she was embarrassed to admit that she has never tried sushi, Pat offered that her least favorite food is chicken breast, for obvious reasons.


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