“Why, Yes, My Blessings Are Real”

by admin on February 9, 2012

This happened at my cardiologist’s office. I’m a woman in my late fifties dealing with some heart-rhythm problems arising from a congenital defect. As part of my treatment, I undergo periodic tests called EKG’s (electrocardiographs).

An EKG is done by a technician, and requires sticking electronic leads onto specific locations on the patient’s chest. It happens that I am what Dolly Parton calls “blessed”–in fact, I have DDD-cup sized Blessings. In order to get the leads stuck to the correct locations, it’s usually necessary for the technician to adjust my Blessings or move them out of the way.

. . . So on this occasion, the young and friendly technician starts hooking me up, moving my Blessings as necessary. And in the most matter-of-fact manner, she asks, “Are they real?”

I’m taken a little aback, but answer that they are, indeed, original equipment, and the EKG progresses normally. Meanwhile, I’m lying on the table thinking, “I can’t believe she actually asked me that! I guess I should be offended or something–maybe young women don’t understand how personal that is-but it was so funny –”

I go home and share the story with my sister and roommate. They (1) fall down laughing, then (2) agree with me that, oh yeah, that was (chuckle, chuckle) completely inappropriate. . . .

The next day, after giving it some thought, I phoned the doctor’s office and asked to speak to the office manager. I explained that I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble, but the technician had asked me (et cetera, et cetera). The office manager cracked up, but agreed with me that such an inquiry was indeed inappropriate, and promised to bring the issue up at the next staff meeting. She was still chuckling when we hung up. 0208-12

This is one of those situations that falls under “blather”.  People who keep talking for the sake of talking and silly things just tumble out of their mouths.  We all do it.   Kudos for seeing the humor in it.

{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley February 9, 2012 at 6:44 pm

The technician was, most likely, asking for MEDICAL reasons. I was born with a hole in my heart and also have a heart murmur, thus I am familiar with having EKG’s nearly every year of my life since I was 10 years old (I am 25 now). I was also blessed- with finances to visit a plastic surgeon and pay for myself to be endowed! :) Every time I have went for an EKG since receiving my lady lumps, the tech has gotten poor readings and usually has to keep me longer for a re-do. Perhaps wanting to avoid a hold-up for the OP, or a delay of other patients appointments, is the reasoning behind the technician’s question, and I doubt the tech will receive any sort of reprimand for asking.

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Jess February 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I’m just speculating here, but it’s possible that while the OP found the humor in the situation, another patient might not. So the OP calls the office to make them aware of what happened so the tech could be gently corrected and a future incident is prevented. Since the tech was younger, I’m assuming she is a part of my generation; most women my age (early to mid-twenties) are more relaxed when it comes to these sorts of questions, and would likely view such an inquiry as a compliment. Also, the fake tatas are quite prevalent in today’s society, so they don’t seem like a big deal anymore.

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Chicken February 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Wow, you’re a lot nicer than me. I’ve had more than my fair share of ekg’s over the years and if anyone ever said something like that to me I would have calmly taken off any already placed leads, stood up got dressed and let the person in charge know why I was leaving and would have to reschedule for a day that tech wasn’t working. Fortunatly I’m not quite as “blessed” so over the years I’ve been allowed to keep my bra on (I wear only tiny stretchy bralettes) and I would have been mortified if someone felt the need to comment on my actual breasts.

As for those asking if the tech needed to know if they were real for a medical reason, the answer is no. The tech was simply insensitive and rude. And I know some of the other posters said if the OP wasn’t upset she shouldn’t have complained I think she did the right thing. I would hate to be the person who walks in after her and has the tech mention I’m flat as a board compared to the last girl. She should be spoken to, someone in her field can’t afford to get flustered and nervous everytime she see’s a topless woman.

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Moralia February 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Personally, I think the OP should have gently told the tech that some people are sensitive about the girls if she found it to be uncomfortable. People in medical professions tend to get used to being very candid and can inadvertently overstep their patients’ comfort zones. I have had similar conversations myself with medical personnel, but it’s usually because we’re both feeling comfortable enough to be that candid.

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Lexie February 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Everyone says stupid things every now and then, and since the OP wasn’t offended, the phone call to the office really wasn’t necessary, considering that it probably counts as a complaint.

The euphemism of ‘blessing’ is really awkward in this story as well – if anyone is uncomfortable using the words ‘breasts’ or ‘boobs’, may I recommend ‘bust’?

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MidoriBird February 9, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Believe me, I’m more than overly ‘blessed’ with them as well and they are no more than a pain in the neck. Literally. Any of you ladies who fancy them big just ask someone overly endowed and see what answer you REALLY get.

The younger generations don’t mind talking so much about busts or bras anymore; I personally am a rare exception but I embarrass too easily. Kudos for you for seeing humor in it. I think the young woman was just blathering without really thinking about what she was saying and didn’t mean to offend.

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MonkeysMommy February 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I agree with Ashley- even though she could’ve found a better way to ask, she likely needed to know for medical reasons. My mom has implants and heart problems, and like Ashley, has to be handled differently. It’s likely she won’t get in any real trouble for doing her job.

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Nannerdoman February 10, 2012 at 12:49 am

OP here!

For the record: I used the word “blessings” in an attempt to be humorous. Usually I call ‘em “breasts”.

Also for the record: My breasts have been this size for years now, during which time I’ve had many EKG’s without anyone’s asking me whether my breasts were natural or enhanced. So I knew for a fact that there was no medical reason for the question.

As some have commented, I did indeed call the office manager to prevent unpleasantness for the technician further down the line. I told her specifically that I wasn’t trying to get anyone in trouble, and said, “I wasn’t offended, but she might run into another patient sometime who doesn’t have my sense of humor”. I shared the story with my sister and roommate because I thought it was funny. And the reason the office manager was laughing as we hung up was because we both thought it was funny.

I saw the cardiologist again last week and had another EKG, same technician, no awkwardness on either side.

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Nannerdoman February 10, 2012 at 12:56 am

OP here again, just to add that the one time I really WAS offended at a medical professional for a personal comment, it was at the doctor himself. My primary care doctor at the time decided he needed to do a pelvic exam on me to check on some abdominal discomfort I was having. He had never done this before–my gynecologist took care of this. I was in my thirties and still a virgin.

The doctor came in as I was lying “in the position”, feet in stirrups, etc., and looked under the sheet. And he said, “Hmmm . . . I see I’m going to have to use the BABY speculum”. I found this insulting–his equating my being small and tight down there with immaturity. I was furious but didn’t say anything. However, I never let him perform such an exam on me again. And since then, whenever I’ve had to have a pelvic exam from a doctor who doesn’t know me, I tell him/her up front, “You need to know that I’m still a virgin. You might need to use a small speculum.”

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Margaret February 10, 2012 at 2:41 am

Mstigerlily — # 9 — How about replying, “Are what real?” Because, seriously, who needs to talk about your breasts?

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Kira February 10, 2012 at 3:16 am

I work as a medical professional in a similar position are a cardiac tech. I guess sometimes we do get a bit blase about such things. I usually explain if I have to ask that sort of question for medical reasons. However I am a bit shocked how many patients seem to think I don’t care about seeing their private areas. None of my work requires anyone to need to show anything, but lift shirts to just under the bra line. Yes women whip their top up and men wear boxers to sleep so I get to ‘see’ everything! Not appreciated either!

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Earl H February 10, 2012 at 4:18 am

@Kara
re:”Better the Technician learn that lesson now, from someone who is going to be reasonable about it, then to make such a thoughtless comment to someone who gets REALLY offended, and demands that the Technician be fired or otherwise harshly disciplined.”

No patient or customer has the right to demand an employee be fired or otherwise harshly disciplined when no harm has taken place. An off comment is not the equivalent of calling somebody by a racial slur or infecting the patient with a used needle. Those situations would warrant that type of disciplinary measure, a simple foot-in-mouth moment should be forgiven instantly.

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many bells down February 10, 2012 at 11:01 am

@Ashley –
Hey we’ve got the same thing! I’m a Tetraology patient going on 37 years since surgery!

What’s really amazing is how much the EKG technology has changed in all that time. The little leads they stick on you now are nothing like the Frankenstein-esque rubber straps and suction cups they used back in the 70s. I used to scream my head off every time my parents took me to the doctor for that.

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Gracie C. February 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Wink-n-Smile – Love the “They sure aren’t imaginery” response. Perfect!

To whoever said the tech wasn’t being nosy and was asking for medical reasons – yes she was being nosy, and no she wasn’t asking for medical reasons. There is no medical reason that the question needs to be asked or they would have to ask everyone. Not all fake breasts are large. A woman who has a mastectomy might have reconstructive surgery that makes her a B cup. If a question is medically necessary than medical professionals aren’t allowed to assume and only ask people who seem “obvious”. It would be like not asking a women if she’s pregnant before an xray unless she looked like she was showing.

Ashley – I think if the tech is getting poor readings it’s because they stink at their job, not because you have implants.

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Enna February 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

@ Edhla – you are right they are breasts!

There could be a medical consideartion involved: if so the tech should say so.

@ Lexie: the op said she didn’t want to get anyone in trouble so I would say it is more constructive criticism rather then a complaint about someone doing something wrong. The fact that the manager could see a funny side to it is good. The manger also said she would bring it up at the next staff meeting so no one is being singled out – a consideartion about how things are said. If it was a compliant the tech would have had a meeting with the manger and maybe a disciplinary.

When I was temping one of the girls said that another who had left for a promotin had asked her if her breasts were real or enhanced. The young woman was quite shocked. I think it doesn’t always depend on age, it depends on how it is said and when it is said.

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Kim February 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm

There’s nothing contrary to etiquette about calling an office manager to mention a problem you’ve had with one of the staff, as long as you’re polite about it. And no, it doesn’t have to be a big or serious problem to justify a call, as long as you don’t make a big deal out of it.

What’s all this knicker-twisting about “oh you shouldn’t have called the office because it might have got the technician in trouble, that wasn’t very nice”? If what the technician said really was inappropriate according to that office’s standards of professional conduct, then she SHOULD get into some trouble for it. If, on the other hand, her employers view it as no big deal, then they can just have a chuckle in the staff room about patients being a bit oversensitive sometimes.

It’s not LW’s responsibility to figure out whether such a remark is or isn’t in accordance with the expectations of the technician’s employers about professional conduct, much less to protect the technician from disciplinary consequences if she did in fact step out of line. Part of having a polite spine is taking the initiative to protest (always politely, of course) against behavior we encounter in employees of businesses that we deal with if we find it offensive or impolite, even if we don’t think it was prompted by deliberate rudeness. The supervisor of the employee you had a problem with is indeed the correct person to direct your polite protest to.

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Vicki February 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm

For what it’s worth, I expect to be asked questions about my tattoos, and I answer them politely. The difference is, I got the tattoos on purpose, and they’re supposed to look artificial.

A woman with naturally large breasts didn’t choose them, and may have a history of being teased about them. And a woman with implants was probably dissatisfied with her breasts pre-surgery (or she wouldn’t have gone for what would have seemed like unnecessary surgery). It seems like a question that’s got a lot more room for upsetting the patient than reassuring her.

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Amanda February 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I remember at one time it was very insulting to imply a golden-haired lady was not a “natural” blonde. Now, if someone asked if it was my natural color, I’d jump on the opportunity to brag on my colorist’s talent. Plastic surgery is heading down the same path. Some might not want to admit to it lest they appear overly vain, but it is becoming so common that a lot of younger people don’t see what the big deal is about discussing it openly. Unless there was some facial expression or tone she used to imply she was judging, I’d just say it was perhaps a bit too intimate attempt at chit chat.

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MetalRose February 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Having been born with naturally large “blessings” myself (36 G’s) I never let those questions bother me, many times it’s to the ignorance of the person who is asking. Being in the medical field, I frequently need to ask if someone has implants, especially if they are not in the correct location, and yes they do move.

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Molly February 13, 2012 at 10:11 am

To the “baby speculum” poster above – he was probably using a pediatric speculum, hence calling it what he did.

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Mabel February 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm

It definitely sounds like the technician was blathering and just said the wrong thing. That’s different from being a jerk. It was okay to call and let them know, and points to the OP for laughing about it.

I went to a new dentist one time and while the technician girl and I were waiting for him, I was leafing through a magazine that had pictures of Italian food. I showed her the pictures and we were commenting on how good the food looked. The dentist came in, and said “What are you looking at?” When I showed him, he said “Oh, Eye-talian, eh? Is that what they call a wop?”

I. WAS. SPEECHLESS.

Later when he was trying to fill a cavity, he told me not to swallow and squirted water into my mouth so forcefully I couldn’t help it. I coughed but accidentally coughed some of the water on his pants leg. He yelled at me, “That was uncalled for!” Again, WHAT?

I called the office a day later and told them what happened. I told them I would be fine with coming back to see another doctor but I never wanted that guy to touch me again. They were very apologetic. I haven’t been back to that dentists office, however; it’s too far away and I really don’t like the open office plan they have. I decided next time I had a new doctor or dentist I would meet with them before any procedures or exams, to be sure we were on the same page. That’s what I did with my newest physician and I like him just fine. Much less awkward when it came time for the annual “girl” exam.

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nannerdoman February 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm

@Molly–I know he was referring to the pediatric size speculum. But to refer to it as the “baby speculum” when he was examining an adult woman in her 30′s or so was just demeaning.

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Patricialynn November 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Medical personal oftentimes are more open about body issues than the average populace. For example, my husband is a medic and once was placing electrodes for the EKG on an elderly woman whose “blessings” had deflated over time. His usual manner is to just matter-of-factly place the lead with as little embarrassment as possible. But on this occasion the elderly lady’s hand shot out and grabbed his crotch! My husband was flustered! and said “Ma’am, don’t you think that’s a bit inappropriate?”

The old lady replied “Sonny, if you can grab mine, I can grab yours.”

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