This morning I stood facing an enormous robot looking thing with a sandwich maker in the middle. She says, “okay, slip your left arm out and step up to the machine”. So I did. And she came up, pushed me a little forward and proceeded to mash me almost flat, onto this big panini grill thing, like so much yeast dough, you’re supposed to knead. You know, on Food-network, when they take the ball of dough and with the heel of their hand, push it as far as it will go, while still in one piece? That’s exactly what they do. Just when my breast was smooshed as far down as it would go, the top part of the sandwich maker closed in on the once normal shape. “It’s supposed to be uncomfortable, but not hurt”, she said, “let me know if it hurts”. “It hurts”, I managed. “Deep breath and hold”, she says, snapping away with that x-ray thing. Did I mention that my head was turned as far as possible to the left, so as not to get in the way of the robot thing? I am not endowed enough to be standing away from the machine and in it at the same time.Then she took three pictures with that machine and we did the other side. You’d think that, for a woman, used to gynecological exams, given birth to two boys, (one weighed 9.9 pounds!), this would be a piece of cake. My sister warned me it hurt, but she has enormous breasts, so I had hope, and besides, my friend ,who has virtually no breasts, said it didn’t hurt at all. So I went, with optimism and two children, who sat in the waiting room, (I homeschool, remember). It was a nice place, The St. Francis Women’s Breastcare Center. They were professional, it was pretty. Even the little pink tie-front jackets they give you are nice, and pink is NOT my color. So, there I stood, pushed in between those smasher things. It only took a moment, maybe a minute, minute and a half. And of course, it’s so important to be preventative about these things. AND, I have completely avoided it until now. After all, it’s mandatory AFTER 40. And this is my first year of 40. ..As I left she said, “now don’t worry if you get a call back on your first mammogram, lot’s of people do, on their baseline”. I flash forward to Monday when the paranoid hypochondriacal me emerges, sleepless, scared crazy, because they maybe called and said I needed to come back in. All it takes is 10 minutes on WebMD and any kind of medical test for me to be completely miserable. You can absolutely stand it, because you know it’s a screening you do that’s potentially lifesaving. But as I was leaving, I kept thinking about all those people in the medieval times who had surgery without anesthesia, they just gave them something to bite on? And how one day, my great, great granddaughter will say, “you know, they used to squish you flat into a big platter thing and make you hold your breath, while they x-rayed you”. ..And I always thought gravity was the enemy.