Going to the gyno

Oftentimes I forgo certain topics on this blog in favor of writing about things that are safe and exclusively rated PG. I'm very mindful of my audience and while I know that several of my readers are just as crass and inappropriate as I am (and I adore you for it), I have a nagging fear that at some point I'm going to offend someone or cause someone to think less of me. Whenever I've spoken about this with other bloggers, they're quick to remind me that not everyone is going to like me or what I have to say (and that's just good life advice in general) and all writers eventually have to decide if they want to stay true to themselves or remain in the business of people-pleasing.

I hope you can recognize when I use the distortion filter on my phone. I sincerely hope.

Plus, look at me. I'm about as wild and outrageous as a Care Bear at a tea party. What outlandish things could I possibly say or do?

And that's exactly why I'm going to talk to you about my trip to the gynecologist on Wednesday.

Men, click away from this web page, pull up your chairs--do whatever you need to in order to feel right with Jesus because this is really happening.

Because what is life if not awkwardly lived every now and then?

If you're a woman, going to the gynecologist is a part of life, and it's extremely uncomfortable and it's weird and I hate that we have to plaster fake smiles on our faces and pretend like it's perfectly kosher to have a casual conversation with someone while they're elbows deep in our baby boxes and then return to our normal daily activities like our virginities weren't just reclaimed by a stranger who paid a lot of money to go to school and study vaginas.

Men who are still reading this, I know that you are not exempt from this kind of medical torture because you have the ever-fun prostate exam to contend with. So ... good luck with that.

Having a yearly pap smear is required if I want to keep getting prescribed drugs that prevent babies from shooting out of me and let me just say, pap smear day is not my favorite day. Although I must note: One never showers as thoroughly as on the morning of a pap smear.

(P.S. Pap smear should be banned from the English language. It sounds like something you put on toast.)

I feel uncomfortable with the whole exam process the moment I walk through the doors of the medical office because I'm always greeted with a warm, friendly smile and then immediately instructed to drop trou and wiz into a Dixie cup. As all ladies know, providing a urine sample with female plumbing is an acrobatic challenge.

To make matters worse, the receptionist instructed me to use the Sharpie provided in the bathroom stall to write my name and some other kind of identifying information on the cup before I placed it in the drive-thru window behind and the toilet and yelled, "Order up!" to the technicians waiting on the other side. I couldn't remember what she said to write next to my name, so in panic I wrote my full name, birth date, address, social security number, phone number and any other identifying information I could think of. Had I also doodled a stick figure with long hair and a wide nose, my urine sample would have easily gotten through airport security.

Later, while sitting on the exam table and doing my best not to spill out of the thin paper napkin dress I was forced to wear for "easy access", I realized that my doctor has only ever seen me when I'm naked. Her ratio of seeing me naked versus not seeing me naked is higher than my own husband's. Every time I've seen this woman over the course of my life, I've been nude. And every single time she's fondled me. Even Clayton can't say that.

My doctor, bless her sweet heart, does everything she can to make the experience less demeaning by talking about running or my job during the exam, but sometimes I find it almost worse when we don't address the elephant in the the room (the elephant in this case being my lady bits and the insinuation of referring to my business as an "elephant" is not lost on me). Sometimes I'd rather she just say, "So how about that vagina!" and get it over with it. She is very polite and always warns me before she's about to make contact with um, me, but I still get so startled by her touch that I have to use all of my Jedi powers to not kick her in the face. (It's a perfectly natural human instinct to kick or slam your legs shut like an oyster when you're being probed; the stir-ups on the table are there for a reason.)

And the scraping! Do I even need to say any more? (Men, if you don't know what pelvic scraping is during a pap smear, ask your wives or girlfriends or a female friend you're super comfortable with. Let them explain it to you in graphic detail. But I will say this: Can you think of a time in your life when you ever used the word "scrape" and it didn't have a painful or negative connotation?)

At one point during our conversation, I sat up to look at my doctor because I wanted to see her face as she answered my bizarre question about PMS in order to make sure she wasn't giving me a pitiful or concerned expression. In turn, she sat up taller to meet my meet gaze over my knees. That was a defining moment in my life because my vagina was literally separating me from another human being.

At the end of my exam, my doctor rolled back on her wheeled stool and concluded, "Your anatomy looks great. Everything is where it should be." Was that a compliment? Should I feel proud that I successfully kept my junk in its rightful place for another calendar year? Does that even take effort? ("Thank you, I've really been working at it. I made a New Year's resolution to try harder at keeping my organs where they should be.") Better yet, what does it look like when your anatomy isn't where it should be?

When I go home at night, I like to rehash my work day with Clayton. I like to tell him about funny things that happened or confide in him when someone gave me grief or upset me. So I'll admit, the most nerve-wracking part of the gyno visit is the question of "Am I the vagina she talks about at night?"  

"So I saw the most unfortunate vagina today ..."

When it comes right down to it, going to the gynecologist is a necessary evil and thank goodness it only happens once a year. I can proudly admit that I've only had one sexual partner (wouldn't it be totally awkward and confusing if I then said it wasn't Clayton?), I keep my stuff clean as a whistle, and I thankfully haven't had any complications with the functioning of my reproductive organs (I have several friends who suffer from endometriosis and going through that is not a day at the beach). Despite how uncomfortable the experience may be and whether I like it or not, preventive care is the best thing I can do to make sure that I stay healthy and that my stuff is um, where it should be .... for years to come.

I asked my sister how many times is appropriate to use the word "vagina" in this post, and she said 15.

That's six.



  1. LMAO. Lady Box. That's my new favorite term! Hilarious.

  2. hahahahaha! cracking up over here! being a woman is marvelous! and i love that we all can 100% relate and know what you're talking about.

  3. This was the funniest way I have heard the experience described. I shall think of it next time I have to endure the dreadful annual, and laugh again. :)


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