The great thing about girlfriends is that they share information with one another! This is especially important when it comes to finding doctors or medical facilities to have procedures done. When I turned 40 it was time for me to have a baseline mammogram, so I asked my friends where they recommended. Any time you have to have a medical procedure it can be scary, can’t it? I wanted to make sure I was going to a place where I would have a good experience. My girlfriend had a mammogram at a wonderful center called Howard Radiology, and she encouraged me to have my first mammogram there too. I was really impressed with the entire process.
One of the complaints about getting a mammogram is that the process can be painful. I have to admit getting your breasts compressed between 2 metal plates is not my idea of a good time. I wanted to go to a place that considered how this process makes women feel vulnerable. This center took time to think about how to best serve their patients, and it paid off. When I walked into the office, there was soft music playing and a quiet, comfortable waiting room.
Once my name was called, the medical assistant, Shanthi walked me to the changing room. Shanthi, who was aware this was my first time having this procedure, made it an easy experience for me. She is a gentle person who informed me that the entire area was segregated for women only. In fact all of the medical assistants in this area were women. This is a plus for any woman who is sensitive about disrobing or is self conscious about having her breast or private parts moved around or manipulated by a man during these procedures.
I was asked to disrobe from my waist up, and I given a wrap of sorts to cover the upper part of my body. The temperature was comfortable so I was not cold, another benefit. Shanthi stepped me through the compression process and checked to make sure I was not in pain as the plastic compression chamber squeezed my breast into the bottom platform. The setting up for the different films was a little uncomfortable but not unlike taking a picture at the mall photo booth - stand here turn your body this way, your head that way and don't move until the image has been taken. The entire process took only 20 minutes. Shanthi informed me when to expect the results and that with first time images there is sometimes a need to have additional images or another mammogram taken. This is routine and not an indication that there is something wrong. She asked several times if I had questions or if I needed extra support during the procedure.
After I was dressed I was offered tea and a small bite to eat. Shanthi shared with me that so many women come on a empty stomach because they have blood work taken before they come to have their imaging done. They offer food to give you a little energy boost or help prevent you from fainting.
Every little touch was well thought out. The friendly people and atmosphere reduced anxiety and promoted comfort and ease for this procedure. For me that is always my hope for my healthcare experience.
By the way everything was normal.
Dr. Daemon Jones