The machine is hard: metal and plastic. My breasts, my body, are soft. The technician keeps telling me to relax. "Turn your head, bend at the waist, put your shoulder down, relax!" How can I relax when I'm pushing my body against this hard machine? She pulls my breast, squeezes it between plastic plates. I don't feel pain, exactly, but it's uncomfortable. "Don't breathe" she commands, and takes the x-ray. I try not to breathe. Seconds pass. "Okay, now you can breathe."
Next is the waiting. I sit with six other women, all dressed in pants, winter boots, and incongruous light blue dotted hospital gowns. We all read magazines about the beautiful lives of movie stars. I really have to pee. I wonder: Do the stars have mammograms? Do they mash their beautiful breasts in between plates of plastic? Do they have to wait?
One by one, the women are called in for their turn with the machine and the technician. One by one, the women are called in for their results.
Finally, it is my turn. "Everything looks fine, but I'd like to see you again in 6 months," the radiologist reports. I guess that's reassuring. Kind of.