At the Mammogram Office

July 2018

My Stories

Mother of all Road Trips-1

Mother of all Road Trips-2

Mother of all Road Trips-3

Mother of all Road Trips-4

Containing Jim in Paris

Ranging the Yellowstone

Lisbon Portugal- Part 1

Lisbon and Sintra- Part 2

Evora Portugal- Part 3

Coimbra Portugal- Part 4

Porto Portugal- Part 5

At the Mammogram Office

Carmel Art Gallery

Venice- Part I

Veneto- Part II

Ravenna- Part III

Cinque Terre- Part IV

Vernazza Bonus- Part V


Crunch Time

Putting on the Ritz

Granada and Sevilla


Tuscany and Umbria - 1

Tuscany and Umbria - 2

Driving in England

Dwelling in England

A Dozens Reasons

In the Hamam

Istanbul Greece Diary

Pearl Harbor Team

Old Girl



Grandpa's Cabin

Pay-It-Forward Latte

England and France

N. Italy - 1

N. Italy - 2

N. Italy - 3

N. Italy - 4

Lessons from 4 Corners


Going to the Dogs

Don't Embarrass Me!

Letter from Siena

Arrivederci Roma

Joining the Matriarchs

Living History

Newlywed Game

Chaos Theory

Zach on the Road

Huckleberry Season

Stanley & the Sunbeam

I Dare Say


Middle School Relay

Grad Party


Moving On

Radio Shack

Newlywed Couches


Old Faithful Inn


Sweet Potato

Mother Bear

Two Blondes in Iberia

Revisiting Spain

Four Seasons Camping

Curly's Truck.

Disaster Restorations

Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Ducks and Beavers

Wearing Red

Photo Boxes

Las Vegas Soufflé

40th Birthday Party

The Heart Tickler

Wonderful Little Things

Heritage Tour

Erickson Era

Old Buildings


Split Seams

All Nighter

Talent Show

A Look Back


“Did you wear deodorant?” asks technician Cindy.

“No,” I answer, proud I’d remembered this mandate for my annual screening.

“Great!” chirps Cindy.

Only at the mammography office would skipping deodorant earn you praise.

“Would you like a regular gown or a heated one?”

Forecasts call for 99* degree weather in Salem today, but the office feels cool and I realize a warmed gown may be the last piece of physical comfort I experience for the next quarter hour.  I say yes to the heated gown.

Next we embark on a medical version of “Twister.”  Bend your left leg, shoulder down, head that way, lean forward, right arm up.  Before the vice grip takes hold, Cindy assures me she doesn’t want to hurt me.  Good to know, I think. 

The paddles start their crushing.  “Tell me when,” instructs Cindy.  She stops on her own.  “Oh, I don’t want to squeeze your rib bone.” 

Glad to know that, too. 

Figuring I offer less to squish than many patients, I sometimes wonder if mammogram techs over-compensate with me by branching out onto my chest wall.  Gotta find something to work with... 

The flattening resumes. 

“Breathe and relax,” commands Cindy for the first of many times.  Holding my stance as loosely as possible, I take a deep breath and wonder:

  1. Does Cindy play repeat on her relaxation order for every patient out of habit, regardless of how they’re doing?
  2. What level of relaxation can a person truly hope to achieve while contorted, afflicted and naked from the waist up? 

More squeezing in different positions.  “Stay still and hold your breath.”  I’ve given birth Rambo-style (i.e., no medication), but this discomfort accompanied by lack of oxygen makes me start perspiring, which I accomplish while pondering these possibilities:

  1. What would happen if I fainted?  Would I fall, dangling by my chest?
  2. What if the power went out, and then the fire alarm rang?  Would I be left trapped, hopelessly snared to the machine?

“Do you have any upcoming vacations planned?” Cindy cheerfully inquires, either to:

  1. Try to relax me.
  2. Try to distract me.
  3. Try to pretend she’s not smushing a sensitive body part.

“Portugal next year,” I answer, hoping that Cindy hasn’t visited Portugal and will spare me any follow-up questions.  It doesn’t work.  She asks who are the friendliest people in Europe.  I’m tempted to say the skinheads of Germany just to cut the chatter.  I’m no fan of skinheads, but I generally don’t mind chatter--except while my breast is fixed in a vice grip. 

Finally we’re done.  I survey my chest, now covered with red splotches--my mammogram battle wounds.  I’m happy, but only because I get to leave.  I say thank you. 

But before I can go, Cindy has one last question for me. 

“Would you like some deodorant?