Monday, March 31, 2008

V-swab at the doctor

I went to the doctor’s office the other day for a delicate matter. And he decided I needed a v-swab. While we were chatting in his office, a receptionist walked in (opening the door without knocking) twice in a row. Evidently, she needed to interrupt my visit to ask him a question. So it got me a bit worried when he handed me the "sheet" and said "take off everything from the waist down". If you’ve ever seen these "sheets" they are really just really large paper towels (probably thinner than Bounty) and they offer no honour-protecting power in the way of concealment.

So when the doctor assured me he’d be back (with Pam the grouchy nurse who’s only nice if you’re less than six months old) in a few minutes, I had to ask, "Will you knock before you come in?" And he said, "Oh, of COURSE!"

So I get undressed at break-neck pace (because I’m facing the door). And sure enough, Pam knocks before coming in (even if it was only thirty seconds after I’d been left alone). And she began mucking around in cupboards in her grouchy way. And suddenly I became very afraid that PAM was going to do the v-swab. And I don’t even LIKE Pam. If you’ve ever had a v-swab, you can probably tolerate a male doctor, you can probably tolerate cold hands, but you CANNOT tolerate someone who isn’t a nice person! No one gets to see my hoo hoo unless find them at least mildly pleasant.

"Put your feet in the stirrups," she instructed coldly. I did.

"You’re gonna have to scooch your bum down on the table even more."

I noticed that I could see the sidewalk oustide the window through the blinds. I decided that passersby couldn’t see me. But if some kid decided to stoop down for some reason outside the glass, they’d get an eye-full.

"Scooch even more!" Pam insisted.

Finally, my Doctor returned and I was so happy I almost hugged him. So he’s got his gloves on and he asks Pam for a speculum. And he takes the one she offers and starts to make me uncomfortable. And then he says to Pam, "I need a smaller speculum."

"That’s the smallest one," Pam says (she doesn’t even look in the cupboard).

"No. There is one smaller," says the doctor.

"That’s the smallest one we have here...." Pam begins.

(And if you’ve ever had a v-swab or a pap or anything in the same genre, you’d be screaming what I was thinking: GET THE MAN A SMALLER SPECULUM, GOD DAMN IT!)

So the doctor says, "I KNOW we have smaller speculums, I just don’t know where they are."

He is laughing now with his latex-coated hands up in the air around his head. And Pam says, "They’re out in the cabinet." She means the cabinet in the hall. And obviously SHE is far too busy to offer to go get the smaller speculum, so the good doctor, with his friggin’ gloves on, leaves a fluorescent spot-light shining upwards between my legs, a paper towel over my lap, and my ASS hanging out the side and he walks OUT of the office. Yes, he walks out the office through the door where everyone else in the world who shouldn’t see me naked is, and then he leaves the goddam door open.

And Pam doesn’t shut it and for that I shall never forgive her.

When it’s all over, the good doctor assures me he’ll come back and chat with me once I’m dressed. And Pam is still puttering around the room and I begin to wonder if I’m expected to get dressed in front of her. When she finally leaves, I wonder if the doctor counted this time as time when I should have been getting dressed. I wonder if he alots more time for re-dressing than undressing. It takes more time to re-dress because gravity is not on your side. Panic set in and I began to fumble with my pants.

Alas, please learn from my mistakes. Stretchy pants are not the thing to do when you need to re-dress in a hurry. I stuck my first leg into the leg hole and realized the pant leg had turned inside out when I was undressing. Then my sock got trapped and tangled in the stretchy mess of fabric. With each tug, my heart rate soared. I began to feel as if I was trying to pull on snow pants with snow shoes strapped to my feet. I was watching the lock and yanking and pulling and cursing and sweating and panicking. And then I had them safely on my hips and I casually opened the door to inform the good doctor that I was ready (and that really, he should use some kind of a system like a curtain or a little green and red light or just a simple policy of patient-opens-door-when-re-dressed to make the whole experience less stressful).

And these are the types of adventures that I have at the doctor’s office. Grouchy Pam, v-swabs and stretchy pants are the things blogs are made of. And gladly, I live to tell about them.


Anonymous said...

I am pleased to say that at my office we have fabric gowns and sheets in nice colours and in decent sizes. And we have curtains. And we knock, always, before coming in. And the nurses are nice and never ever grouchy. At least after all that, he went and got the smaller speculum and didn't just use the one that was in the room...

Ben & Maryann Roebuck said...

I wish the above anonymous doctor was my doctor - but I guess that might be a bit weird too. Melissa, I can't believe you're brave enough to write these things on your blog, but then it makes all of us laugh hysterically and see the humour in terrible doctor appointments. Thanks for sharing. Mary

Anonymous said...

this is exactly the blog i wish i could have shared with the young ladies in grade 8 health class, worrying over those first "womanly" doctor visits ... i'm not sure i described it in enough heart-wrenching detail :) you are the best mel ... stretchy pants and all!

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