(Be warned: This post might cause embarrassment. If you are squeamish or a man or a squeamish man, I suggest you pass on this one. It’s a woman thang.)
The bane of every woman’s existence has got to be private part examinations. Whether it’s a pelvic exam or a mammogram, it simply isn’t a time to celebrate our womanhood with champagne and roses. It’s embarrassing, it can be painful and it’s best done and over with as quickly as possible. The only thing worse than these biannual events (according to the new guidelines for women over 50) is when I find something during self-exams and have to make an appointment sooner than I would have liked. Actually, the very worst thing is having to spend a day without deodorant or powder because the appointment is in the late afternoon and it would interfere with the test.
As I write this, a doctor is currently examining the films from a diagnostic mammogram of my right breast. Once he says, “Yep, it’s a breast,” I will move on to have an ultrasound done on the same breast. Sometimes, I curse these sensitive fingers of mine. Why did I have to find a lump?
I was just contorted, squeezed and bent in ways a torso is not meant to bend. The machine was cold and the corner of it dug into my armpit as the tech positioned me. My breast has been touched by a woman that I have no intention of having a personal relationship with. This very same woman, who probably moonlights as a dominatrix, proceeded to lower the machine that smashed my breast between two plates flatter than a sun-dried worm, but not to worry. She wasn’t done yet. She cranked a knob that lowered the top plate even further with a relish that I can only describe as maniacal. A scene from Dr. Frankenstein’s lab comes to mind minus the lightning strikes. “She’s alive!” No, you just murdered my right breast as my left breast tries to retreat behind my back in terror.
Every woman goes through this, but knowing that doesn’t make it easier. Dignity ditched me today the moment I removed my bra and put on a fashion-challenged gown that will never see prom night. At the dominatrix’s prodding, I slip on my coat to act as a robe and follow her obediently to the ultrasound area two corridors over. Clutching my bra and blouse to my abused chest, I try to balance my purse, stuffed with my deodorant and a novel, on my shoulder while holding my coat and the open front gown closed at the same time. While there are myriad ways to tie the gown, none of them actually work.
As I wait for the ultrasound, I know that at least it won’t be painful. Slimy and cold maybe, but not painful. No need for a safe word here.
UPDATE: It’s evening now. For all the undignified poking, squishing and flattening, nothing was found. The ultrasound tech was apologetic for not finding anything. Really, I didn’t mind. I’d rather go through one hundred exams with the dominatrix that show nothing, than one exam with the gentlest person on earth that shows something. No apology needed.