The aggravations in my life are more often the subjects of  personal essays than the pleasantries. Writing about things that irk  me  helps me deal with them ; I've registered an official complaint that can be filed away while I get on with more enjoyable activities.  Following is one of those complaints:


After a three-year reprieve, I recently visited a radiology clinic for one of my least favorite medical procedures—a mammogram. I had to produce photo id to prove I was who the paper signed by my doctor at my annual poke and prod said I was.

Someone might try to endure the procedure in my place? Give me her name.

In three years, little had changed. I stood pressed against a piece of rigid machinery, one arm dangling at my side, the other embracing cold metal, my neck twisted at an awkward angle, while a gently smiling lab tech stretched, pulled and arranged pieces of my anatomy in ways that would have resulted in charges of indecent assault if performed by anyone else. Then the machine grabbed and flattened.

“Keep still.”

Where the hell did she think I would move to?

All that for one view of one boob. Two views of each were required. Then one more, as one image showed a fold of tissue.

Wonder how that happened?

“Okay?” the tech asked frequently during the procedure.

No, it bloody wasn’t okay. Not her fault. She did her job professionally, efficiently, by the book. Who wrote the bloody book?

Not for the first time I wondered how long it would take for a new procedure to be developed if the only way to detect testicular cancer was by grabbing a man’s genitals, twisting them into unnatural positions and squeezing them flat between frigid sheets of glass while a technician captured an image.

Five minutes?

Defense departments have cameras that can focus on any location on earth from an orbiting satellite and take shots of an enemy soldier detailed enough to identify the type and caliber of weapon he carries and what it is he pulled out of his nose as he lounged against the side of a crumbling stone building, totally unaware he was being watched.

It’s time to use some of that technology to improve the way breast tumors are detected.


_Merilyn Ruth Liddell (November 2010)


    Life and other incongruities ...

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