So there I am, my right cheek squashed against a perspex screen, my torso twisted at an awkward angle to my hips, my calf muscles quivering from a balancing en pointe for so long.
â??Can you just lean in a little more dear?â? the radiographer asks the back of my head.
My lips are puckered up for a sideways smooch of the perspex, but I still manage to silently mouth, â??**** off!â?
If she hadnâ??t just manhandled my boobs, I might have been inclined to be more co-operative â?? Iâ??m normally so anxious to please, but considering that sheâ??s been bullying me to â??Just drop your shoulder a little dearâ?, and â??Keep your hips straight dearâ? and pretending that by repeatedly calling me â??dearâ? it makes okay that she:
(a) doesnâ??t know my name,
(b) just yanked on my boobs like a fifteen-year-old in the bushes outside the Rivonia Hall Friday night Under-16 social, and
(c) is a Little Miss Bossypants playing a twisted game of Twister and making me feel like a spastic because I canâ??t contort my body into the right position for her to jam her finger on the red button and snackwich my boobs in her medieval machine once more, well…itâ??s screw you dear. Iâ??m not just another clipboard, okay.
And it took me a long time to suppress that memory, dammit. And various other ones involving tongues and in one particularly horrible instance, braces, in the bushes outside Friday night Youth Group, all of which assaulted me from the depths of my unconscious as I stood there in your grotesque bosom buster.
Only a man couldâ??ve designed the olâ?? Mammo-Masher though, so my adolescent rant there might be somewhat misplaced. Never mind. And that old codger, whoever he is, is right now getting the latexed finger of his prostate doctor, before being wheeled in to theatre for his colonoscopy.
Because thatâ??s how karma works.
But I digress
Following the indignity of the mammogram, I am then hustled into the next room for a sonar, and not just of the mammaries â?? I am also having a liver scan due to elevated levels of some enzyme that blood tests have exposed. The enzyme (and I use the term as though I know what an enzyme actually is) is normally associated with alcohol abuse. Normally, I said. I drink like a bloody girl scout.
Yes, yes, I know what youâ??re thinking: â??Thatâ??s what all the closet binge-drinking alchies say, sweetheartâ?. Itâ??s clearly proof that Dr Burt is after me too â?? so he can finally force me out of the DENIAL stage.
So next thing I am lying on a gurney slicked from my breasts to my abdomen in KY Jelly wondering if this much goo is really necessary or if Iâ??ve been assigned the radiographer with a fetish.
And how sick is that? I am slimier than Lolly Jackson, more slippery that JZâ??s spokesman at an Nkandlagate press conference, slicker than… okay, Iâ??m overworking the metaphors.
But although I glance once or twice at the door, I resist the urge to just run for it, like Forest Gump, man, while actually yelling, â??Run Forest, Run!â? in a Southern drawl, because today is the day I grow up.
To go for a mammogram or a scan of any kind is to admit to the possibility that something could be wrong
Up until now, I had no need for the routine screenings that mortals ought to submit to. And then last week I found myself at a funeral of someone who unbeknown to her only months ago wouldnâ??t live to see her 41st birthday, wouldnâ??t live to see this spring, her three children grow up, herself grow old.
I listened as her husband struggled to put into words what sheâ??d given them, what sheâ??s left behind in her kids, what heâ??d learned in the little time they had had since she learned she was going to die, and I realised how much I do want to grow old.
So there it is. It is at the end that we find out that we donâ??t only have one body â?? we are only a body. Book your boob snackwich today.
About the author
Lauren Liebenberg is a writer, mostly on the subject of breeding in captivity. She offers free electro-blog therapy at www.laurenliebenberg.co.za, where you can and join The Scheduled Drug Club, get super-mommy hacks and learn bra-burning for lipstick feminists. You can also check out her latest novel, the habanero-hot Cry Baby here at Penguin Books South Africa
Photo of author by Kendal Young