Saturday, January 23, 2010

adventures in gynecology

Is there anything more humiliating than the annual visit to the gynecologist? I think not.

Gentlemen, I apologize for the reference, but surely you can appreciate the sheer awkwardness of being greeted once every twelve months by a brisk man with a handlebar mustache who ushers you (briskly) into his office and asks you simply, "How's it going?"

When you reply that you have since broken up with your long-time boyfriend and are now considering defecting to a nunnery in Asia rather than face the scary world of STDs and baby-making, he merely brushes aside your silly ramblings with one sweep of his manicured hand and tells you to get on with your life.

Then he escorts you to an exam room, hands you a blue frock and instructs you to strip down to everything but your socks because—and I quote—he's "not doing feet today."

I have a particularly pleasant relationship with this guy. Signing on to his practice was a conscious decision, akin to accepting a dare from the Universe. As in: Dear Meg, see if you can handle this mustachioed fellow poking around your cervix and live to laugh about it. I said yes. Mission accomplished. Now our doctor/patient relationship is based entirely upon general medical competence and inappropriate banter.

Example: Last year's pap smear (an altogether awful combination of words, I know). We got through the entire procedure without once alluding to the more clinical aspects of what he was doing between my thighs. I believe the conversation we carried on was related to books—or the mating habits of pigeons. Nothing to suggest there was a diploma-ed man poking a latex-y finger around my womb. Nothing to call attention to the speculum or the giant wire-ended Q-tip. There was only wisecracking. But then of course we arrived at the sonogram part (because they want to make doubly sure your ovaries are cyst-free) and he busts out with, "Now this wand will be inserted into the vagina," and this proclamation, while totally appropriate to the task at hand, just seemed so horrifically out of place that I couldn't help but sass back with, "Well, that's a relief, because frankly I wasn't sure where you planned to put that."

This year was equally frank and good-humored—despite his warnings of (what he termed) a general "gnarly outbreak of the Clap." Does anyone else have this sort of candor with their snatch doc? Is it not refreshing? Are you not refreshed!?

That said, all the pleasantry in the world can't quite atone for the fact that the process is inherently invasive. It's stressful and dehumanizing to let a stranger into your privatest places. You never quite walk out of the office without wanting to cry.

Maybe they should start handing out lollipops . . .


Anonymous said...

You made me laugh right out loud. You so nailed it. Thanks for the lollipops

Anonymous said...

i have quite the similar relationship with mine. although she is a lady doctor. she love to tell me stories of horrified freshman at nyu coming in to talk about sex and she happily says "fingering" much to the dismay of the nurses who prefer "digital stimulation". She also refers to the lady bits as "vag" "snatch" and "cooter". For this I love her.