Last week, a commenter said my dental post made her “squirm” and asked that I not give the blow-by-blow of my recent root canal (which was, admittedly, pretty grisly).  So OK, let’s dish about mammograms instead.  I’ll be doing mine soon.  Last year, I chose the closest facility and totally lucked out.  Their mammography tech had worked hard to create a spa-like atmosphere:  a Keurig machine with assorted herbal teas, soft terrycloth robes, current issues of women’s magazines and the pièce de résistance, a revolutionary “variable-pressure” mammo-gram machine.  Your boobs still get flattened, but gently, as if they were sofa cushions being sat upon by the world’s politest elephant.
If they added complimentary mani-pedis, women would be beating down the door.

I’ve condensed the mammogram experience into a new-to-me poetry form.  A TYBURN is a six-line poem, four rhyming lines of two syllables each, followed by two rhyming lines of nine syllables each.  Lines 1 and 2 reappear as syllables 5, 6, 7, and 8 in line 5.  Lines 3 and 4 reappear as syllables 5, 6, 7, and 8 in line 6.  You’ll get it when you see it in action:

(Whoever thought these up is a genius!)


Left breast, right breast, undressed, compressed, trapped
squashed flat…  flatter…  flattest…  breathless…  SNAP!

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22 thoughts on “ODE TO THE ROOT CANAL (JK!)

  1. Tippy Gnu November 11, 2018 / 8:26 am

    I guess the mammogram procedure is the equivalent to how it must feel to get your tits caught in a wringer. I hope that “polite elephant” is just as gentle to you this year, as last.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 11, 2018 / 8:59 am

      Good analogy, Tippy, though I would have compared my prior experiences to a CIA operative tightening a vice saying, “We have ways of making you talk.” I’m not looking forward to the elephant, but I’m not dreading it either. The fuzzy robe and green jasmine tea sweeten the pot a little. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. murisopsis November 11, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    Glad your sense of humor is not flattened! I like your Tyburn! I always find it amusing that they tighten the compression and then say “Don’t breathe” as if you could take a breath without ripping off a breast!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 11, 2018 / 8:24 pm

      Thanks, Muri. Life seems to become more health-related as you get older… you hit 50 and suddenly you need labwork, bone density testing, calcium supplements, hormone replacement, reading glasses, a mammogram, a colonoscopy, vaccines for flu, pneumonia and shingles, appointments to have moles removed and calluses shaved. Miss a beat and you’ll buy yourself a dementia test. A spoonful of humor helps the medicine go down. I think the mammo tech cranks the compression up a notch after she disappears into the booth; maybe warning us not to breathe is just an un-funny joke? If you did accidentally rip off a breast, you might be able to find a prosthetic replacement at Goodwill; I’ve heard they hide them in the wallet bin. I’ve tinkered with several Tyburns since I saw the form on your site–they’re fun, but oh, so challenging. If you missed last week’s post (a creepy dental parody of Poe’s The Raven), check it out. It makes a mammogram seem like a cakewalk. 🙂


  3. timkeen40 November 11, 2018 / 10:31 pm

    As a male, I can’t comment on how it feels to get a breast exam. The closest thing a man has to go through is the manual prostate exam. “I apologize up front. There is going to be some discomfort.” He wasn’t kidding about that. Tim

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 12, 2018 / 2:13 pm

      Aging is full of unpleasant surprises, eh, Tim? Male or female, we all have our crosses to bear. Glad you survived your ordeal. Ever wonder why people avoid going to the doctor after a certain age? Me neither. 🙂


    • Just Joan November 12, 2018 / 2:22 pm

      Right on, Snoozin! Even worse if it ends with an “UH-OH, THE MACHINE SEEMS TO BE JAMMED. HOLD STILL, WE’LL HAVE MAINTENANCE HERE IN A JIFFY.” 🙂


  4. judyrutrider November 13, 2018 / 9:50 am

    I don’t know what I enjoy more, your post or your followers’ comments. The politest elephant (insert the word my porous brain can’t find) conjures up a fun visual image.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 13, 2018 / 11:41 am

      Thanks, Judy. I enjoy the comments, too. You really never know what readers will share in this space, but dialoguing with them is half the fun. When I think of the world’s politest elephant, Babar comes to mind, from childhood story books. Remember him? He was orphaned, I think, and taken in by a kindly old lady in the city. Most of the bloggers I follow, I found via their amusing comments on someone else’s post. 🙂


  5. L. T. Garvin, Author November 13, 2018 / 10:53 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed your Tyburn. I think those clever lines cover that procedure rather well. I can say, I don’t miss them for sure. Great job, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 14, 2018 / 7:41 am

      Thanks, Lana. You don’t miss them? I wouldn’t either, if I could find a way to be exempt. The “polite elephant” might miss me though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. T. Garvin, Author November 14, 2018 / 6:24 pm

        They are a major inconvenience and a tad bit uncomfortable for sure. I don’t get them anymore because I don’t have health insurance, so I have to be super sick to go to the doctor these days. Luckily I’ve very healthy. Knock on wood. I’m sure the “polite elephant” would surely miss you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan November 14, 2018 / 7:58 pm

        Prayers for your continued good health, Lana, also that we’ll soon have universal health care in the USA. In with the Blue Wave, out with the Cheeto and his minions! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Quirky Girl November 16, 2018 / 12:24 pm

    Those Mammo-Grahams look even more disturbing than some of the freakishly grisly Halloween-themed treats I’d seen. Are they meant to be eaten, or are they intended to be smashed and smooshed as an outlet for post-mammogram aggression?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 16, 2018 / 12:35 pm

      LOL, Quirky. This was a Google image, probably from a bake sale to raise money for cancer screenings or something. Right next to the Prostate Chex and Colonosco Pies. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 23, 2019 / 5:12 pm

      Kind of a play on words, but meant to be the camera “snap” as it takes the xray. 🙂


      • circumstance227 February 23, 2019 / 5:18 pm

        In the future you should probably avoid x-ray machines that make snapping sounds.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 30, 2019 / 9:59 am

      Thanks, Sam. Most life events can be seen through the eye of humor… eventually. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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