My trip to the Women’s Imaging department at the Swedish Hospital went as expected. They smushed my boob into an expensive medical device, snapped a picture of my swelling breast and declared that I was just fine.
The swelling to which I refer was produced by a layer of blubber unrelated to the lump that prompted this medical adventure. It was simply the usual flab that makes it uncomfortable for me to go jogging in a tight shirt. It was captured vividly by the sonogram, which followed a mammogram, which followed the discovery two weeks ago of the lump beneath my left nipple.
The mammogram required the medical tech to squeeze as much of my pectoral mass as she could into a clamp designed for people with a more ample bosom. She twisted my torso around and placed my arm over my head at an odd angle in an apparent effort to make me as uncomfortable as possible. Then she took a picture, which I won’t be posting on Facebook.
When that test proved inconclusive, an anonymous, voiceless doctor, who was monitoring the proceedings from another room, ordered up the sonogram. The medical tech slathered Vaseline on my boob and started taking live shots of my innards.
“Is that my pectoral muscle?” I asked the tech as she illuminated my insides on a computer screen.
“No, that’s fat,” she replied. “That’s your muscle, down there.”
She indicated a thin layer at the base of the sonogram, roughly one-third the thickness of the blubber beneath which it rested.
This unseemly proportion — two-thirds, one-third — was the most alarming revelation of my visit to the imaging center, which went as my regular physician had assured me it would when she suggested I get a sonogram, just in case.
Apparently the lump was just a fresh infusion of blubber into my once firm Pectoralis Major.
I will confess that I had a moment of fear when I entered the waiting room, which was occupied by two or three anxious women, one of whom was accompanied by her even more anxious elderly husband. My fear dissipated quickly, however, when the medical tech manhandled my boob in an effort to squeeze it into the mammogram machine. The discomfort I felt as she squeezed my breast into position was more than enough to distract me from the hideous possibilities that never came to pass.