Thursday, February 02, 2006

Tis the Season of the WWE

It's that time of year again, for the Well Woman Exam. It sounds nice and aesthetically pleasing, doesn't it? The Well Woman Exam? It conjures up images of flowers and ads for feminine hygiene products.

It's probably called that because "We're Going to Split You in Half and Make You Beg for a Sex Change" is somewhat of a frightening name and might discourage countless women from going to see the doctor. Not to mention, I'm sure the folks in medical billing would have a problem trying to code it.

Today was my lucky day. I loathe this day...but not as much as I loathe going to see the eye doctor. But the hate is still there nonetheless.

I got to the office, and wait in the waiting room, which is decorated with a bunch of multicolored leaves. I am finally called back to the exam room where they weigh me (lost 7 lbs...yay!), tell me to strip down in my birthday suit...but I can keep my socks on. Oh, thank goodness for socks!! As if wearing my socks will make me forget that everything else is exposed to Mother Earth.

The nurse practitioner comes in and we blather about this and that...anything I can think of to put off the inevitable. Finally, she is wise to my antics and orders me onto the table. I get the obligatory breast exam.

Yup, they are still there.

She then pulls out the stirrups and her little nurse helper comes in. I slide down the table and place my sock-clad feet into the stirrups, rendering myself in a very vulnerable position. I suddenly wish there was something on the ceiling I could look at, besides little dots.

Then, the NP pulls out the speculum. My blood runs cold and my thighs clamp shut with the force of an F5 tornado.

For those of you who have not had the good fortune of meeting a speculum, it's sort of like the Jaws of Life...for your vagina. My doc used to carry the metal ones. Now they just have the plastic. Why is this important? Well, remember back in the day of junior high science class?? Remember how metal conducts heat?? Plastic...not so much. Even though they keep these small torture devices in a warming drawer, they chill within seconds of pulling them out of the warming drawer. With this cold object, the NP puts it where cold objects are not meant to go...

A few minutes after peeling me off the ceiling, they are able to continue the exam.

The NP then turns the knob that causes it to spread. Three clicks and I'm fairly certain I've been spread wide enough to park a Pinto. Then, then NP takes this wooden stick (which looks like a boat oar from where I'm sitting) and scrapes. She warns me, "You might feel a cramp..."

After peeling me off the ceiling for a second time, they are able to continue.

The speculum comes out with little fanfare, then the NP announces that she is going to check my ovaries. Now, there is really only one way to get to the ovaries without making an incision into my pelvis.

And that is all I am going to say about that...

After everything is said and eyes become uncrossed and my blood pressure goes back down, the NP tells me to have a nice day. I don't see how my day could get much worse.

Men are so lucky. They don't have to go through anything like this. They don't have to have mamograms, they don't have to do Well Man Exams. If they had to go through what we go through, rest assured that they would come up with a wand or something the could just wave over your pelvic region. Bleep...normal. have genital warts. have chlamydia. There would be no need for the speculum.

And men wonder why women are so bitchy all the time.


RCH said...

I, for one, have been very grateful for the new recommendations (that low-risk women with 3 consecutively normal pap smears only need to do them once every 3 years instead of every year). We've got no sex-specific cancers in my family -- no cancer at all, actually; we die of heart and kidney disease over here! -- so I'm blissfully low-risk and enjoying the lack of speculums in my life. :-D

Heather said...

Every single one of mine has been normal!

Why hasn't my doctor mentioned this to me!?!?!?!?!