996: Making Things Difficult
|Making Things Difficult|
Title text: Favorite mastectomy breast prosthesis idea: a fake boob containing a spare rechargable battery, accessed via a nipple USB port. Complete with a ring of LED charge indicators in the areola!
This comic is the follow up appointment after the surgery. When doctor Ponytail asks Megan to take her shirt off, she refuses until Ponytail gives her a necklace of purple beads that, among younger and more boorish Mardi Gras tourists, are used to exchange for the exposure of a female's breasts.
So, by Megan saying "You know the rules", that indicates that Megan has stipulated that every time she takes off her shirt for the doctor, a necklace of beads must be exchanged.
In the official transcript the doctor is described as an Oncologist, a doctor working with cancer and Megan/Randall's wife is described as a Delightfully Awesome Person. It is also stated that the oncologist fake-annoyedly searches for something in pockets and that it is a Mardi Gras bead necklace she takes out.
Below the xkcd logo in the header at the top of the comic page there is the following text: "Some context for the cancer comics:" and below that a link to a blag posting regarding family-illness that talked about the real world events leading up to this comic.
The title text refers to a mastectomy, the surgical removal of one or both breasts. One possible treatment for breast cancer is to surgically remove the breast. After this procedure a false or prosthetic breast is often added to retain the prior physical appearance. The title text also suggests some things that could be concealed in this prosthesis. In the case a charging station with a USB port where the nipple would normally be, and lights to show how much charge the battery inside arranged around the areola, the darker circle of skin around the nipple.
This is one of the few comics where a character wears regular clothes, but doctor Ponytail has been seen before in 883: Pain Rating and later in 1713: 50 ccs. Megan is in both, and Cueball also in the latter.
- [Ponytail in a doctor's coat is carrying a clipboard with lines indicating text, consulting it while Megan is sitting on a high medical table with a full body gown on. At the top there is a frame crossing over the top frame with a caption:]
- Breast Cancer Surgery Follow-Up...
- Ponytail: You're looking great! Remove your top so I can check how the incision is healing.
- Megan: Nuh-uh.
- [Ponytail has taken her arm with the clipboard down, while Megan is holding her hand with a thumb up.]
- Ponytail: *Sigh*.
- Ponytail: Do we have to do this every time?
- Megan: You know the rules.
- [In a frame-less panel showing only Ponytail, she searches for something in both her pockets, three sets of two small lines indicate how she moves her hands around inside them.]
- Ponytail: This is so ridiculous.
- [Ponytail holds a purple bead necklace up in an outstretched arm. Megan begin to disrobe, opening the dress at her neck pulling with both arms as shown with three sets of two small lines.]
- Ponytail: Here.
- Megan: Woooo!
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