Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cotton Swabs Will Never Be The Same.

You know those crazy-long posts in which I share waaay too much personal information about myself?


Consider yourself warned.

Last fall I took an online critical thinking class that basically turned into a writing class for me.  My teacher loved me because I am a decent writer and I have a pretty good grasp on grammar and punctuation.  This is what made me really start writing again; it made me realize how necessary it was for my well-being. 

During this time period I really started thinking about creating a blog.  Instead of doing it, though, I would send messages to my friends with the stories I would have written into a blog post. 

This is one of those stories. 

I hadn’t had my last pap smear since I was with my ex and still had insurance, so it had been about three years.  It’s not something I think about much because it’s AWKWARD and, since I’d been going to the local women’s specialty clinic for issues and birth control, I didn’t want some stranger all up in my junk (literally).  But a friend of mine had recently had some precancerous cells pop up in her pap and that pretty much scared the shit out of me.  Well, that and my mom, who didn’t realize it had been three years since my last one, but still was freaking out on me.

I had to go to the clinic anyway because I thought I might have had a bacterial infection again (BV is the devil) (I just had irritation from shaving; stupid), so I asked if they would take care of the pap smear while I was there.

They were totally excited.

Feminist pap smears are weird.

Firstly, I got the new nurse practictioner who hadn't been a vagina peeper very long, but had been in the medical field for, like, ever. Secondly, the first thing she did was hand me a mirror and ask if I wanted to look at my cervix. 

I totally did.  You know, since she asked nicely and everything.

My old doctor just narrated what she was doing, which was cool because I never felt like I needed to see. But apparently being in a clinic full of people who promote self-awareness like I promote Junior Mints makes me feel as if it would be awesome to see what exactly this woman is looking at.

So, she lubes up her glove and starts checking shit out.

At this point I was leaning back on the table, which had been moved into th lay-z-boy position, with half my ass hanging off the end and the other half stuck to the paper, clutching the mirror to my stomach with both hands and chanting, “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”

Okay, maybe I wasn’t chanting.

Then she started feeling around my junk. Speculum goes in. There is not enough astroglide in the world to make that comfortable.  She got it on my cervix, which is about when I decide I'm done even trying the mirror bullshit.

This is about when the AWKWARD and WEIRD part started. She was concerned that there was something wrong with my cervix because she had never seen one that points down (toward the spine) before. Apparently. So she asked if she can have someone else make sure she's not doing something wrong. Which was cool. I guess. She went out to get one of the women who has worked there forever to come in and check out her handiwork.

But when she left, she left the speculum IN ME.

I’m just chilling on the table with my speculum.  Regular old relaxing Tuesday evening.

Then I suddenly had two women peering between my legs. Enter giant cotton swab.  Which they sniffed prior to explaining the purpose of a (and I shit you not) “whiff test.”

Nurse practitioner lady wanted to reposition the speculum on my cervix two more times, just to make sure she's doing it right while someone is watching.  Who am I to interfere with someone else’s learning experience?  I mean, it’s not like I was really paying them anyway.

Then again, maybe I should have gotten paid for this.

While they were discussing my cervix, the not-nurse practitioner looks at me and asks if I'm about to start my period. Which makes me want to do two things. 1- Run out screaming, “Witch!”  2- Get one of their take-home viewer kit things and check out my cervix like the day before I start. Then I, too, can predict the future.

I did neither, primarily because I wasn't wearing pants and that somehow made it seem excessive.

At conclusion of this strange little adventure, I found myself sitting in my car and smelling like vinegar with a paper bag full of condoms…  Feeling more than a little violated.

Which I think is everything the poon doctor should be.


  1. Oh. My. God. You are a far better sport than I am. I am uncomfortable enough having a trained vag doctor feeling around in my lady business, but having two people there? No thank you. Looking at my own cervix? No thank you. I spend most of my time pretending like none of that stuff even exists. I have had to make it perfectly clear to my mom and mother-in-law that if anyone tries to sneak a peek at my naughty bits during the birth of my child they will be immediately evicted from the delivery room. I can't handle that shit. Oh, and a whiff test? That just triggered my morning sickness.

  2. Actually, the patience and understanding I exhibited this day was really out of character for me. I think I decided I really didn't want cancer.
    I'm not sure why they would want to full-on see that anyway. Childbirth is a miracle... But it's not a pretty one.
    Sorry... It apparently didn't smell like anything. I was going to try to come up with something that smells nice and isn't food to take your mind off it... But I can't think of anything that doesn't somehow relate to a vagina or sexual reproduction. Damn you, Georgia O'Keefe and General Biology.

  3. This is either gonna make you feel better or worse but falls into the "weird shit Julia picks up in her medical training quest" category. The dentist can tell when you're about to start your period too. When you're about to menstruate your soft tissue lining bulks up a whole bunch in preparation for the egg (which is what sheds and cramps try to expel) Well, ALL your other membrane linings "plump up" too. The little bit of flesh on the roof of your mouth right behind your two front teeth gets kinda swollen. The good news, you don't have to shove a mirror up your cooch. The bad news? Your nice but somewhat creepy elderly dentist can tell what cycle of reproductive possibility you are at... I love you :D

  4. I remember you mentioning that when I sent you the story. And it still made me think the same thing: I need to go to the dentist. :) I love you, too.

  5. Omg I completely started cracking up when you used the term "astroglide." I think I nearly shit myself from the laughter. But yes, vaginas are a great mystery. I suppose your cervix was so special, everyone just had to see it. I mean lets face it, one that points downward. Unique!

    I suppose men don't have it as bad. All they have to do is cough while the doctor squeezes their balls. Not that bad. Of course prostate cancer is a bitch to check. Shove a camera up someones butt hole and see if they are happy the next day. The doctor can feel for it, but sometimes the colonoscopy is necessary.

  6. You're welcome.

    I don't know, I don't think I'd feel awesome about some old dude cupping my figurative balls. What if I pissed him off? What if I got the one doctor on the planet that has a seizure or stroke while my sac is in his hand?

    Fun fact: My parents both had to have colonoscopies done a couple of years ago. They sneak-attacked me with the photos.

  7. Holy shit...
    I don't even know what to say.

  8. @Patty- I have that effect on people.

    @Steffy- It comes and goes, I think. Also, I don't want to piss of the people messing around in my vagina.

  9. I guess both me and my mom have bass-ackwards cervices, so you're not alone. :D

  10. That's actually really comforting. Thanks!

    I was concerned that if I ever got pregnant, the baby would get stuck. They said that wouldn't be an issue. I guess when you're pushing out a watermelon it doesn't make that big of a difference which way your cervix faces.