So, let me start with a warning: Today's post is of a very graphic, FEMALE NATURE. My younger readers and any MALE READERS (Todd...) might want to skip today and reread the very nice pony story.
If you insist on continuing...just remember, you were warned!
So yesterday was my fun annual checkup. Now, when I say annual checkup, most of you know I'm not referring to a simply physical. Women don't do simple physicals. The vast majority of women I know haven't seen an internist in years. Why? Because when it comes to women's health, we don't bother with most of the body. It's all about the lady parts, and we have very special doctors for that!
Seriously, show of hands, how many of you ladies out there have been to a doctor OTHER THAN an OB/GYN or Pediatrician (because if you're like, you're pretty good at slipping in your own illnesses when you're in with your kids) in the last five years? See? We don't bother with the regular doctors because, at least in this country, it's all about specialists anyway. Internal med docs are sort of like the gatekeepers to the real doctors. (And if you're an internal med doc, don't yell at me. When I used to do annual physicals, if something was remotely out of the ordinary, I'd get sent to a different doctor. Sure, I paid you an office fee, but really, other than saying, "Hmmm, I don't specialize in anything, and you seem to have something...so let's send you to someone else. That'll be $90 please.)
But I digress.
One thing you have to know before we move on is that I insist on having a male gyno doc. When I was sixteen, and then again when I was 22, I visited my mother's gyno, a female who had all the empathy of a 17 year old boy. She jammed the speculum in and when I yelped (the only two times in my life that I yelped) she looked at me balefully (it's a word) and said, "Oh, does that hurt?"
No of course not. I yelp all the time when someone is jamming an ice cold metal rod into my...well, whatever.
So after those two experiences, I decided that men have far more respect for the equipment, since they don't have it and therefore haven't a clue what's painful and what's not. Therefore they are far more gentle.
I should also mention that I ADORED the OB/GYN who delivered my two kids, did all my annual checkups for 14 years, got me "fixed" (was I broken?) when we all decided I was a lousy pregnant woman (Raging puking maniac is an apt description) and diagnosed me for all sorts of general illnesses. (Again, who needs an internal doc?) He would still be my doctor now except, due to the darker side of the OB/Gyn practices, and the fact that Wisconsin as a state seems to be hell bent on shooing every doctor out of the state, he is no longer practicing in the state.
So the guy I'm going to now is okay. He's older, got that "aw shucks" sort of approach to checkups, and doesn't hound me about my weight. In short, we are brilliant together for the 7 minutes I see him every year.
Yesterday was my annual check under the hood. (and by under the hood, you know I mean "Under the sheet." And by sheet I mean, tiny piece of paper designed to cover NOTHING.)
My approach to these appointments has evolved over the years. Back when I was younger, I would schedule the appointment for very early in the morning. I would shower, shave everything that would be visible (which means EVERYTHING!) and make sure I was extra, extra clean...down there. I made sure I had my prettiest underwear on. Once at the office, I would go to the restroom to do one last cleaning...down there. I was fresh as a daisy, and almost as hairless.
That was twenty years and two children ago.
Yesterday I was standing in the shower, looking at my legs and thinking, "He's only looking at me for 7 minutes. there have to be hairier women than I am..."
Oh, and the appointment was at 4. I flew right from work into the office. I couldn't even tell you where the restroom is in his office. Seriously, it's 7 minutes. Why make a huge effort? Or any effort, really? For what I'm paying, he should shave his body hair and maybe read some poetry or something...
Every appointment starts out the same way: Fill out the forms, hand over a $30 co pay, sit down and read old editions of People Magazine until they call your name. I do appreciate the fact that his office is in the hospital which means, even if he's called away for a "procedure" (I guess that's what they're calling baby birthing now) he's back in a jiff and is generally on time. Even so, I can schedule things for 10 minutes after my appointment because...it's only 7 minutes.
The nurse called me in for the preliminary fun stuff. You know, weight, height the humiliating stuff they do just to make sure you get the most humiliation bang for your buck. (For the record...My weight and height are what I told KRAM most recently...can't lie to the Doctor anymore than I can lie to a personal trainer!) Then we do the reading of the forms I just filled out and the blood pressure.
Maybe we could bypass the weigh in and save everyone the cost of part of that office visit?
Just a thought.
So the nurse rereads the form I filled out and took my blood pressure. (I have magically low and healthy blood pressure. In fact, the ONLY internal health problem I have is that I'm FAT.) She hands me the paper sheet (which has gotten smaller by the way, since last year. If we MUST make budget cuts, does it have to be in the size of the paper sheet?)
"Remove everything from the waist down, and unhook your bra. Wrap this around you. He'll be in in a minute."
Let's dissect what' wrong with this sentence.
1) I'm wearing a wrist brace. Any clothing removal is going to involve removing the brace which means I will need more time than a MINUTE to remove 2/3 of my clothing plus a wrist brace, doing so with a very tender wrist.
2) WRAP THIS AROUND ME? you've just handed me a piece of paper roughly the width of a piece of notebook paper, only about twice as long as said paper, and just as translucent. Really, which ankle will I be covering with this?
So, I go through the process of remove brace, remove clothes, put brace back on, pick up piece of paper, hop up on the table, drape paper as delicately as I can so that those walking into the office get a minimal view of my nakedness. As I sit there, I hear music. At first I think it's my iPod playing from the depths of my purse, because sometimes it turns itself on in my purse. (I should mention that I'm convinced I've got an entire miniature world living in my purse. Some small alien community is constantly hiding my drivers license.)
I'm not about to scooch off the table because then I'll tear the paper towel and lose what little coverage I have. But, listening more closely, I realize that it's not my iPod. Yes, they are actually piping Pat Benatar's "Treat me Right" into the exam room. Seriously? I thought was hearing things because, honestly, what could be more appropriate for a gynecological exam room, than a song "Treat me Right?"
Sort of made me wonder if I should ask for dinner after. You know, that much nakedness should at least involve drinks...
The door opened and there was the doc, dressed as he always is in surgical scrubs and penny loafers. Sometimes I don't even have to think too hard to find funny stuff. Seriously. Scrubs and penny loafers? That's the hot new fashion for docs?
We made some small chit chat, which began with, "What's wrong with your wrist?" and ended with "I'm not that kind of doctor."
Yes, but you do have a medical diploma right? One would think you at least touched on wrists at some point.
"Oh, but you should see what they're doing with carpel tunnel surgeries now. Hardly any scar!"
They? Who is they? Doctors? Aren't you a doctor and therefore part of THEY? And are you saying that I have carpel tunnel? Because I don't have time for another doctors appointment, much less a surgery, scar or no scar!
But then we moved on to the rereading of the form I filled out. Yep, again. Hey, they have to justify charging for the office visits, so they have to stretch the time I'm in there. That way it's only $2, way less than, you know, phone sex numbers! (Nudity however, is real as opposed to assumed.)
Then it's scooching time. "Go ahead and scooch to the end of the table."
have I mentioned that it this point I'm naked from the waist down, there's a paper sheet beneath me and one draped over me. Scooching will involve on thing: tearing of paper.
"Now my hands are cold, so I'm sorry for that."
I should mention I have the only doctor on the planet with hot hands. Really. I don't know if he microwaves them or what, but it almost feels like a cattle brand...or like the time a different doctor accidentally knocked his lamp into my inner thigh and gave me a burn I haven't yet forgotten.
One thing that's great about male doctors in this department is they tell you exactly what they're doing...like the worst porn movie ever, maybe. "I'm inserting the speculum now. You'll feel some pressure. Now I'm feeling your uterus..."
At some point I zoned out, still singing the song "Treat me Right" in my head.
For those of you not aware of what goes on in the special 7 minute appointment, I mean beyond the breast groping and the pointing hot lamps at your lady parts while you lie on a paper sheet with your legs dangling to the sides is they insert a long Q-tip type thing into your Love Canal and scrape your personal internal goo. That goo is then treated pretty much like the Ark of the Covenant (DON"T LET IT DROP ON THE GROUND! DON'T TOUCH IT! IT IS SACRED!) because, as we all know, women only make a very limited amount of internal goo, and that goo is put in a special container and whisked off to the lab where people I've never met do scientific experiments and ritual dances around my jar of goo.
After my doctor extracted the goo from my secret cave and deposited it in the Ark...I mean container, he allowed me to put my legs back together (Isn't he the gentleman?) and scooch back up. Now, scooching down is way easier that scooching up, because well, stuff slides down more easily. But, he watched with great amusement as I, half naked and without the proper use of one hand, scooched up on the paper sheet.
Then we discussed how often I should come in for Paps. He says, and I quote, "Old women do not have to have a PAP done more than once every couple years, according to new studies. And once you're over 65, you never have to have one again."
I digested this happy nugget for a moment and realized something, "Did you just call me old?"
"Well no, " said the kindly doctor who had just gone where virtually no one else has gone before. "Although if you were pregnant, we'd call you elderly---" and then he used some medical term I don't recall because I was very busy absorbing the fact that he'd just called me elderly.
"Any other questions?"
"Yes," says I," what can you do about my wrist?"
"I'm not that kind of doctor. You should probably see an internist."
Yeah, I'm jumping right on that.
"Oh, and don't forget, you have to schedule your mammogram for the next month," he says as he departs.
Ah yes, the only thing more humiliating and annoying...the act of pressing my girls into a vice as a tiny tech dances around me, telling me not to breath...or howl in pain. Can't wait to schedule that.
On my way out, I did what I always do. I walked into someone else's exam room.
I should have been embarrassed, but frankly, it's not my fault. The EXIT sign is exactly between the exam room and the actual exit. How many of you would make the same mistake?
At least this time, there wasn't anyone in the exam room...
Hey you know what DOESN'T leave you feeling gooey and violated? A copy of my romantic comedy, Dream in Color!
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