Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hello down there!

This morning was my annual date with the nurse practitioner to have all my girl bits scraped, poked, and prodded. I really don’t mind it. I mean, I don’t enjoy it, but I prefer it to going to the dentist. I’m not an anti-dentite, but at least I don’t leave my gynecologist’s office with gritty teeth and my mascara smeared up to my forehead.

My mom informed me that it was time to start having this annual “check-up” when I was a teenager.

“They’re going to do what?” I asked. “Are you sure this is completely necessary?”

On the day of that first appointment, I was nervous. Yeah, just a tad bit teeth-chatteringly nervous. After the nice doctor introduced herself and left the room, I stripped and changed into the paper robe fast as lightning. As I sat on the examination table I eyed the instruments that had been laid out by the nurse. The plastic model of the female reproduction system.

The stirrups at the end of the table.

I wondered if it was too late to change my mind.

The doctor breezed back in. “Okay, Liz! I’m going to ask you to lie down, put your feet in the stirrups, and scoot down towards me. I’ll tell you everything I’m about to do, and what it will feel like.”

I stretched out on the table and put my feet in the stirrups.

“Move down a bit further, all the way to the end of the table.”

I inched slightly closer and waited. She looked up at me. “All the way down.”

I sighed and moved all the way down.

“Good! Now go ahead and separate your knees for me.”

I moved them two inches apart.

She looked up again. "Just let them fall apart, as far as they'll naturally go."

Sweet Jesus. Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret.

Make conversation! a little voice said. Talking will help you forget that she's viewing your insides with a headlamp!

"I must, I must, I must increase my bust!"

Not THAT, genius. Something else.

“So!" I said, my fingers gripping the sides of the table. “How did you get interested in this?”

The doctor’s laughter pretty much drowned out the sound of me bashing myself over the head with the plastic uterus.

But I survived. And every year since then, I’ve gone faithfully. My husband got curious about these “special” appointments and wanted to know what happens when I go. Perhaps he was imagining luxurious spa treatments? Massages? Lingerie-clad pillow fights with other female patients?

Liz: Well, first you change into a paper robe...

M: Uh huh…

Liz: ...and she's checking for any lumps. Then they take a speculum and they use it to…

M: What? WHY?

Liz: It helps them see what’s going on in there. And then they take a little spatula and…


Liz: Well, it doesn’t hurt, it’s just to get some cells so they can check for abnormalities. So after that, she removes the speculum and then she…

M: …with both hands?

Liz: Well, it’s not her entire hand that’s up there; it’s just a couple of fingers. One hand inside, one outside. So she feels around to make sure everything is okay…

M: They’re just randomly… swirling things around in there?

Liz: I hear it’s widely used, medically-sound procedure.

M: Okay, good.

Liz: ...and that’s pretty much it. It’s over.

M: Wow. All that and they don’t even buy you dinner first?

Liz: No. But they do take my temperature and blood pressure. Oh! And once they gave me a free pack of birth control pills! That rocked.

M: At least a glass of wine!

Liz: Yeah, they should really have a bar in the waiting room. They could put it next to the lingerie closet. Or the mud-wrestling pit.

M: Now you're just being silly.

Liz: Or by the cotton candy machine!

M: I knew it!

Liz: Yeah, it's just like Disney World.



Blogger Bearette24 said...

wow! i admire your courage in going every year. i just hate going there. i haven't been since 2000. i do go to the dentist every 6 months, though ;) i have a cool dentist.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

although now you have inspired me to make an appointment!

7:05 PM  
Blogger bdogg_mcgee said...

Bearette, get thee to the gyno posthaste!

I go every year, too, Liz, without fail, and I think that a bar in the waiting room is a wonderful idea. I'll have to mention it to my gyno when I visit next!

7:15 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

See what he/she thinks about adding a hot tub, too...

7:27 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I hate going! Probably because my first time was in the emergency room with a catheter stuck in me. The glass (or three) of wine doesn't doesn't sound like such a bad idea.

7:39 PM  
Blogger His suzy said...

I am LONG overdue to go see the gyno. I've only been once... ever. For so long I figured that since I wasn't sexually active and no family history of anything that the gyno would deal with, why bother? I'll definitely have to find one after I move, though. Oh, how can I express my tremendous excitement? lol

7:50 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Lisa- yikes! That doesn't sound like fun.

Suzy- it will be hard to contain yourself, but you must.

(You must, you must, you.... oh, never mind.)

8:00 PM  
Blogger Elsa said...

I just went last month after a 3-year hiatus (Bad Elsa!). I think the first time I went for THAT was when I was in my early-30's. I don't know why I waited so long - probably the fear of the unknown. It is much easier than I thought it would be. And my doctor at the time was pretty cool - easy going and funny. He and the nurse (who has to be in the room) and I would be chit-chatting about anything under the sun. I remember one time he made a joke and I had to keep from laughing too much so that "thing" wouldn't be flying all over my head. Now I go to a nurse practitioner since he has reduced his hours and harder to get an appointment with him. She's very nice, too, but I definitely won't have to worry about laughing in the stir-ups.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

I haven't gone since my husband had a vasectomy.

They can't hold birth control pills over my head anymore.

Neener, neener, neener.

I'll go back in a year, or five.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Frema said...

I go every year as well. Can never be too careful.

Also, isn't it odd how closely the speculum resembles those silver clips they use in salons to section off your hair?

10:33 AM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

I hope they wash them off before using them to sepearate hair! Ewwww!

I go every year also. I think it might have something to do with feeling a responsibility to be around for my kids. And the fact that I don't check myself for "bumps" and so I figure the once a year check is a must. I know I'm a BAD girl, but I always forget about that part until I'm in the office and they ask....."Do you do self-exams?" Oops. ;)

10:51 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

Uck, all this stuff is making me not want to go again.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

But I made an apptmt. For Sept. Aren't you all proud of me now? ;)

12:04 PM  
Blogger Elsa said...

Good for you, Bearette!!!

12:42 PM  
Blogger kj said...

liz--this is another column in the making. cosmo? oprah? it's good enough, though truth be told reading it is a pathetically sorry state of affairs!

i hate the paper robe most of all. if i don't get a free drink, at least give me cotton. anyone who makes $ 200,000 a year should be able to afford laundry.

since bearette has now made an appt, a good deed for the day has been done. good for you bearette!


1:03 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

thanks, all. i get a gold star :) i never knew gynos make $200K. that's as much as the potus.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

Yay, Bearette! Anyone else? I think one way of getting over the fear/disgust of the yearly "Hello down there" exam, is to go through child birth. I really don't think much of it now after that. Not that I'm trying to talk anyone into anything!

4:37 PM  
Blogger Elsa said...

Bearette - Since 2001, the POTUS's salary is $400,000 - up from $200,000.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

Wow, that's quite the increase.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Elsa said...

Yes, that is quite an increase and I think the salary is quite reasonable for being President; however, the person that is there now definitely doesn't deserve it - just my humble opinion :)

11:02 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Roxanne-- LOL!

8:59 AM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

Now that I think about it, a vodka tonic would make that process 147% easier.

Almost makes me want to carry my handy dandy bottle of shiraz with me.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Heather B-- The Shirazinator!

12:13 PM  
Blogger verniciousknids said...

LOL...wait until M has to start making annual visits to the proctologist :D

2:50 AM  

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