Despite the pervasive lack of bicycle parking out front, I was not too put off in my first impression of the Betty Wallace Women’s Health Ctr at Trillium Hospital. The landmark Queensway site – where I got 3 stitches in my forehead when I was eight, and where my childhood friend, Ian, trained as a nurse before completing suicide at the tender age of 18 – is much transformed. Open, airy, bright renovations welcome visitors into the building. At the front desk, a young clerk hands me a purple demi-robe of sorts, and invites me to lock my belongings into a health-spa-like locker and get changed in a generous change room, reminding me to wash up to remove any deodorants or powders. (I am very impressed the the abundance of paper towels in the change room – such a luxury is hard to come by in the public school where I work.)
I do as instructed, then head over to wait in a newish vinyl chair wedged in between a plant and an elderly lady also waiting – presumably – to have her bazoobies squished.
It’s not long before I am called.
The “treatment” room is larger than the ones where I get my pedicure or massage, and there are no scented candles or soft music. When I tell the technician that this is my first time, she says, “it’s going to be a little uncomfortable”.
“uncomfortable”?! How about OMG, I can barely stand the pressure on my poor breast???!!!!
I am told that the good woman will be taking two images of each breast.
After asking me to disrobe, the lady has me stand in front of the machine, then – with blue surgical gloves, takes my left breast into her hands, and lifts it like a heavy chunk of lead onto some sort of a metal shelf. Once positioned between said shelf underneath and some sort of plastic platen on top, my leadbreast is squished between these two surfaces. Like, a lot. It HURTS!!!
The technician strolls back to her equipment and pushes some buttons.
There is more squishing, to the point where I almost can’t take it anymore, then there is a funny noise, and then – relief! The top platen lifts up on its own, relieving my poor, aching breast.
Whew! One down, three more to go….
Oh, but then the lady says my shoulder was in the way, and she has to do it again!!! Nooooo!!!
Somehow, I survive the photo retake, and the three other shots (two from different angles – 45 degrees, according to some digital number thingie that changes as the technician moves the bazoobie-squishing machine), and escape.
My valuables are still safely stowed away in the locker. I grab them and head for the change rooms to remove the hideous purple garment, and slip back into my own shirt.
It's got some nice frills, this place, but the health spa, it's not! Now the wait begins for the pronouncement of good health, or the next terror: The Dreaded Biopsy.