In the “New Experiences for Shazzer” category, I endured my first-ever mammogram yesterday. And while it was not the funnest thing that I or my breasts have ever done, it was not as bad as the horror stories I have heard from others. The only glitch was that the software that sends the pictures from the x-ray machine to the computer froze up several times, leaving me “clamped in” between the plates for much longer than I normally would be.
The technician kept apologizing to me for it and did her best to release me from the vise-grip in a timely fashion while she rebooted…but I still had to have one of the standard six pictures (three of each “girl”) re-taken because of the malfunction. I told the tech (who seemed delighted for the chance to speak English with me) that I blamed Microsoft rather than her, but I also secretly suspected that my massive jugs may have had something to do with it.
Now I haven’t had a mammogram in the U.S. (I should have had a baseline before I moved to Sweden but I just could’t manage to “squeeze it in”) so I can’t really compare the two procedures. But I’ve since talked to a couple of Swedish friends who agree that it was kind of odd that I wasn’t given something to cover up with while walking from a common changing room to one of the screening rooms on either side of it (not a great distance, but still a bit awkward to do topless).
It was here that the tech intoduced herself, shook my hand and explained the procedure…all while the girls and I were just “hanging out.” I also wasn’t offered any kind of gown for the downtime while the tech fiddled with the computer between shots. I was probably in the screening room for a total of 20 minutes and at one point a female orderly barged in to pick up a piece of equipment and move it to the other screening room. I said hello to her because, well…it just seemed weird to be standing there naked from the waist up and not say something.
After the pictures were taken I had to wait for the film to be developed. (They make sure they have six good shots before they let you leave.) Now because mammograms are not routinely done here until a woman turns 50, I was quite a bit younger than virtually everyone else there. The other thing that struck me as unusual was the number of men that passed through the mammography waiting room. Some of them came from the door marked “staff only” and were clearly hospital personnel, but others did not wear any kind of uniform or ID badge at all and came out of an unmarked door next to the restroom. I was fully dressed by now so I didn’t really care that much…just thought it was interesting.
And then, two guys who couldn’t have been much more than 19 or 20 and did not appear to be in any way affiliated with the hospital (let alone the mammography department) came out of this unmarked door, strolled across the waiting room and right into the changing room without so much as a knock! I don’t think there was anyone in there at the time, but THEY didn’t know that. My jaw just about hit the floor. I mean, I know Swedes have a much more relaxed attitude about nudity than Americans do, but this was WAY too casual for a medical setting where women are walking around half naked and just a bit vulnerable as a result.
I’m thinking about wandering around the prostate clinic on Saturday morning just for kicks.