Looking Smashed

No. I don’t drink. Although a stiff one might have been in order…I had my annual mammogram this week. It is never fun but usually tolerable. I am bruised. I generally like to go to the mobile unit. They are close and quick and there has never been an issue getting an appointment. This one was different. I showed up ahead of time for my appointment. I followed all the instructions – no deodorant, no powders, no lotions. I wore an easy on and off top. I cheerfully put on the hospital gown so that it opened in the front. And I waited. And waited. And waited some more. My appointment was at 9:00 AM and I had arrived at 8:50 AM just in case I needed to fill out any paper work. I had a meeting at 10:00 AM. Checking my phone showed that it was 9:20 AM. I didn’t need to panic. I was a short walk from my building and if I hustled I wouldn’t have a problem as long as I was done by 9:50 AM.

And I waited. Finally a nurse came in (not the one who had checked me in). She was all business as I stepped up to the machine. She was young and had very long fingernails, dagger-like, decorated with paint and rhinestones and glitter. To say she was rough would be an under statement. She slammed me around and pulled on me and then used the hydraulic pedal to really mash me flat. As she sweetly told me to hold my breath, she took the x-ray. AND THEN SHE DIDN’T RELEASE MY BOOB FROM THE MACHINE!!!!! As I clenched my teeth the sweat started down the sides of my face and began to bead on my upper lip. I saw the black clouds roll in and start to envelope my field of vision. The only times I’ve experienced the black clouds have been just before fainting. She looked up. She realized that there was something wrong. She started toward me and then the light went on in her brain. She released me. I gasped and a small whimper escaped my lips. One side of my chest was bright red and the other was ghostly white. I sat down in the chair. I gulped air. I tried very hard not to cry. She wrung her hands. I managed to finish the x-rays. She was new and young and inexperienced. She wasn’t familiar with the details of the machine. We had a chat. I seriously doubt she will make that same mistake again.

Then the real waiting began. To get my results. Of course I got the envelope in the mail last night. I opened it expecting to place it in my medical file and forget about it until next year’s letter reminding me I’m due. The letter basically said, “Hold on a hot minute, not so fast sister. There was something wonky on that film and we want you to call your doctor so we can check it out with bigger and better boob smashing equipment.” I don’t have time for this!!

18 thoughts on “Looking Smashed

  1. I do not do these any more. Each time I had it done the skin under cracked open and would not heal for more than two weeks. I attribute that to being diabetic. You would think there would be a solution for old dry skin. (except for sweat that is). I was told there is ultrasound but I was also told that is not accurate.

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    1. If the ultrasound isn’t accurate then why is it used as the definitive test after a suspicious x-ray finding? I’m going to explore this more deeply. If I find an answer I’ll let you know.

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  2. Sorry for your horrendous experience. The follow up will be easier, for sure! And I’ll be putting all my good thoughts into this being a little blip of no concern. (This being an area I have some experience with, my good thoughts count double.)

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    1. Thanks! I’ve had several biopsies and they have all come back as benign. I’m guessing they were seeing scar tissue or possibly just artifacts – maybe she left some glitter behind!

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    1. I’m pretty sure the new x-ray technician won’t make that mistake again. As for the suspicious area – I’m not stressing over it. I have much more pressing issues to deal with.

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  3. Val, you do have time for this! The problem may well have been with the picture rather than with the subject — that sounds like horrible technique, and perhaps should be redone,but at a center that specializes rather than at a mobile unit. My best wishes!

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    1. The problem is not one that is causing me sleepless night. I’ve called and have an appointment for the followup. The mobile unit is the specialists! The hospital has the mammogram mobile and all they do are mammograms. As for her technique – I hope that is the issue and not an actual problem. But even so I’ve been down this road before and all my biopsies have been benign… I’ll get some answers shortly. If it had been really serious they wouldn’t have made me wait 2 weeks for an appointment!

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      1. I do hope you’re right that it’s the glitter that they couldn’t identify without further work. Hopefully they just need a different view to see that there’s nothing there — but best to catch it early if there is!

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  4. I had one of those letters once. It was nothing – basically a bad angle. Given the inexperienced technician, that’s what I’m betting on. I knew as soon as you said she had long, painted, bedazzled fingernails that she was inexperienced.

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    1. When she grabbed me with those talons I thought for sure I’d have puncture wounds. I think after my survey responses she may have to lose the nails… I know some places have strict rules since long nails can harbor bacteria and it is hard to sanitize your hands…

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  5. I’m keeping good thoughts there is nothing to worry about but hopefully you can get it checked out soon. I’ve also had a letter requesting more tests and after jumping through their hoops they said everything was okay so it happens. Thinking of you! peace

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    1. There seems to be an “abundance of caution” when dealing with mammogram results. This isn’t my first letter but it has been about 5 years since I went to once a year mammograms instead of the every 6 months after the last biopsy. I’m not worried much.

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