Anyway, this is so that those of us who are, let's say, very much younger than 50, for example coughhackretch can be included in the process.
Along with this came an invitation to a screening - not, sadly, the sort of screening which involves, say, watching Benicio Del Toro looking moody in a ripped shirt (ahem), but one which requires medical humiliation. So, off I bravely toddled Friday morning to the local breast screening clinic. I say 'bravely' because about 18 years ago my lymph nodes went funny and I ended up being shipped off for a mammogram, so I've Done This Before.
Back in those days it involved, as I recall, pressing the girls between two plates which were then screwed tightly together as though the doctors were pressing wild flowers (which is of course, how I like to refer to my assets). The resultant pancakes were then photographed and I went home feeling as though I'd just had sex with one of those blokes who like to use one's girls as a gear-stick.
...NOT, I must say for the benefit of any reading spouse or parental units, that I've ever done THAT. No no no. Not much, anyway... you know this really is a bad cough.
Anyway, it hurt a lot - so much in fact that I actually repressed the memory. I'm not kidding; about 5 years ago someone I knew went for one and the memory came flooding back 'OH my god' I said 'I've HAD one of those... I had completely forgotten'. 'So it's not that bad then' she said. I stayed quiet.
Needless to say I was full of trepidation. Reassuringly the clinic was clean and bright and the machine spotless. The nice young nurse had me stand up and gently laid a boob out on a plate attached to the machine, then, gently again, lowered a clear plastic tray on top of it.
I feel the need to interject here; as immediately I noticed that there were several trays of different sizes and, satisfyingly, she switched the smaller one for a larger one. The small one had numbers up to 5 on it, my one went up to 6! Just as I was preening myself I noticed there was another one that went up to 7, so there's me, just average. Sigh.
Anyway, so she lowered the thing down and then, yes, screwed it tightly - and this time, miracle of miracles, it didn't hurt! Wow.
As it was all over, I mentioned this to the nurse and expressed my gratefulness that medical science has moved on... it was then that she burst my balloon, so to speak.
'Ah yes, that would be because at that time your breasts would have been more glandular'.
'Really?' said I 'What do you mean by that'.
'Well, you know - that long ago they would have been firmer and more glandular.'
'You mean, because I was younger...' 'Yes' she interjected '...and hadn't had a baby?' I finished, lamely.
'Yes' she said again and she laughed.
Right. So there it is, incontrovertable proof that... the nurse is incompetent! No, no no, proof that once I had young firm boobs, obviously...