Here’s how to get the most spa-like experience out of your mammogram. First, have some of the coffee in the waiting lounge.
It’s as bad as office coffee but just have it. Focus on the plants. They’re fake plants but just do this. You think the plants in your spa waiting room are real, or that the coffee hasn’t been sitting there all day? Just have this. Put in some creamer. Take it with you into the changing room. Scan the area for signs you’re in a clinic.
Turn away from those signs and don’t look back. Focus on the locker.
Appreciate the slow, soft closure of the door, like a spa locker, not like a gym locker. Appreciate this by draping your attire on the hooks and gently lifting out the chambray tissue under-robe.
The advantage of paper over satin or rayon is that the cinch is more profound. So your waist looks small and your top and bottom look artificially flared, like you’re a pair of paper fans flipped up and down, or a curvaceous crepe lantern. Far more interesting than a robe that just hangs there and shows your regular human shape. Now slip on the branded over-robe.
Experiment with the color-texture mix. Pop the collar! I know you’re prepared to do this because you graduated from high school in the mid-1980s. This is who gets annual mammograms now, these days, it’s us. Ladies! Welcome. Admit that the scrunched collar of a paper robe is just about as flattering as the ribbing on a poly-cotton Izod shirt, it really is, and you would never know that if not for time and wisdom. Celebrate your under-robe collar. Be pleased you’ve come this far.
Be pleased somebody thinks enough about form and function and your state of mind right now to craft a machine that looks like sculpture. Curvy! It’s an O. It moves every way, at every angle, so rather than lying down and letting your head fall through a padded hole or whatever, like at a spa, you just have to stand there in the flattering low light and lean up against a heating pad. That’s it. That’s arguably less taxing than some spa treatments. During a mammogram your hair stays good, your makeup doesn’t run. You can check that for yourself in the reflective glass.
There’s the issue of wiping off your deodorant before the scan, which is a pain, but afterwards — deodorant towelettes!
The sculpture machine, which is new this year at Mankato Clinic, shows results during the scan so there’s no longer the need to sit in the waiting lounge wearing your robe. I miss that because there’s some gravity to those ten minutes that you just can’t get anywhere else. At my 2011 exam I was in the post-scan lounge and my colleague DeAnna walked in and sat down on the other couch. I knew, because everybody at work knew, she was there to check a cancer that had shown up in the past year. Our chit-chat went like “hey, DeAnna,” and then “hello, Ann,” and then we each drank coffee in the particular silence that strikes up between work friends wearing matching pink bathrobes, one is dying, one isn’t.
You can see why they say you should do that every year.