the humiliation scan

Female content, men proceed with caution.

It was early Tuesday morning and I couldn’t sleep. My six-month scan following my thyroidectomy was today and I was antsy to have it behind me. While my family slept an extra 45-minutes, I went ahead and got showered and dressed. I took advantage of the extra time putting on makeup and even curling my hair, which made me feel empowered for what the day held. As most moms would, I hid my concern from Mr. Right and made sure that the kid’s didn’t even know about my appointment—not wanting to cause worry. Although Mr. Right protested, I insisted on going alone knowing that it would be several days before we got the results.

My appointment was at 9am at the hospital. I arrived a few minutes early and signed-in. After forty-five minutes of anxiously waiting, they called my name.

“How are you today, Brooke?” asked the technician. He was an older man who wore bright blue scrubs that matched his eyes.

“I’m good. How are you?” I replied.

“Great! Thanks for asking. My name is Gary and I will be administering your scan today.” I followed him back into a sterile room with a large machine in the center, and a tinted viewing window opposite the door.

“The scan today is going to take about 45-minutes. We are going to be focusing the scan on your lymph nodes from your breasts to your ears. The doctor has also requested we use contrast, so we will be hooking you up to an IV. The liquid will be warm and may make you a little disoriented. It will also make you feel like you are wetting your pants.”

Awesome, I thought.

“Since you are only having an upper body scan, you can leave your shirt on but just take off all jewelry and undergarments.”

“Can I leave on my camisole?” I asked.

In an effort to feel cute, I had worn a sheer, light pink shirt that required a camisole—a decision I was about to regret.

“No, please remove everything except your shirt,” said the soft-spoken grandfather-esque man.

“Do you have a gown I could use? My shirt is pretty sheer.”

“We actually don’t. The gowns are being laundered and won’t be delivered until later today for our full-body scan appointments, but they are no better than your shirt—I assure you.”

I begrudgingly made my way to the dressing room and did everything I was instructed. When I came back out, I felt as if the air conditioning had been lowered significantly.

“It’s pretty chilly in here,” I said.

“Yes, we keep it cool so the patients don’t get overly hot during the procedures.”

Excellent. This is just getting better and better, I thought. I lay down on the table as instructed, feeling very exposed. A large examination light shined down on me making my shirt so translucent it looked as if I was in a wet t-shirt contest.

“Just try to get in the most comfortable position because you won’t be able to move once the scan starts.”

I wiggled around trying to get as comfy as possible. I thought, thank goodness it is just me and Gary; otherwise, this could be humiliating. Just as I thought that three attractive twenty-something year old guys walked in the room from behind the large observation window.

“Brooke, this is Tommy, Kyle, and Jason. They are medical students who will be helping me today.”

“Of course they are,” I accidentally said aloud—very sarcastically.

“What was that?” Gary asked.

“It’s nice to meet y’all,” I said as awkwardly as possible—under the spotlight for all to see. Tommy, Kyle, and Jason nodded uneasily. Although the guys were trying to give a professional demeanor, it was evident that we were all uncomfortable—all of us except Gary who busied right along.

Standing over me, the guys appeared to be over 6 feet tall. I raised my head and gave myself a once over. I was instantly reminded of an episode of Golden Girls.

It was a conversation between Dorothy and Blanche. They were talking about how women, when lying on their backs, look as if they’ve just had a face lift. Everything is smooth, wrinkle free, and tight. The downside is that your boobs go back and off to the side. As I glanced down, I saw firsthand what they were talking about—the effects of nursing three children and gravity. Instinctively, I put my arms over my chest.

“Please try to relax. It will all go much smoother if you just relax,” said Gary.

I took a deep breath and lowered my arms. As I did, one of the male-model medical students grabbed my arm to begin hooking up my IV. As he moved my arms from side-to-side analyzing the veins, I stared intently. I had seen him before. I became distracted from my current situation.

“Do you mind if I ask how old you are?”

“I’m 26,” he stammered.

“What did you say your name was?”

He responded nervously, “Jason.”

“You look so familiar.” Jason watched as Gary and the other guys became engaged in something on the other side of the room.

He whispered, “You were my 8th grade English teacher. It’s me, J.J.”


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