Thursday, October 18, 2012

The PAP Smear Texas Welcome

A few weeks ago, I went to my gynecologist for my annual exam. It's a ritual most women are familiar with, and, for me, is less about my cervical health and more about being forced to comply with the bastard's check-up demands as he holds my birth control pill refills hostage.

Thank god HE'S not running for President, amirite?

But as much as I want to hate him, it's actually hard to completely write the guy off. He has a delightful bedside manner, seems very intelligent, and often waxes on about philosophy and Western Medicine while examining my vaginal canal.

And therein, naturally, lies the problem. Allow me to walk you through my most recent appointment. We'll stick with the highlights.

When the doctor first entered (the room), he greeted me cordially, asking about my family as if he's just recently read my autobiography. It's nice, if not slightly creepy. But whatever. While the nurse busied herself in the background gathering lube and large Q-Tips and metal clamps, the doctor continued to distract me with questions about wellness. He wants to know if I'm happy, it seems, as opposed to medically well. This is strange, I note, and wonder about his hidden agenda. Do you think he works for Romney?!

We end up talking about my writing, vaguely, and he mentioned that his son does similar work and how we'd get along really well because we'd have "lots to talk about."

Now, at this point, I'm spread eagle before the man's face and I'm having trouble fashioning a reply that mentions ALL OF THE MANY THINGS wrong with him suggesting to a married woman, while eyeballing her vulva, that she meet his strapping young son.

That's when he interrupts himself to let me know he's going to stop talking while he enters my body (AND SOUL AND MIND FOREVER AND EVER OH MY GOD WHO IS THIS MAN) so that he can concentrate, and I'm sure you'll appreciate that, won't you?


As he finishes, he tells me how wonderful my innards are looking these days and asks if I need anything. He's referring to my pills, of course, but I'm suspicious he's dropping a hint. I mention my prescription and he holds my stare.

"Anything...else, at all?"

"Uh, no? No...thanks?"

I quickly scan the room for hidden cameras.

At this point, he rises from his chair, and the nurse skirts out of the room with a shred of my cervix in a small plastic jar. I'm not ready for what comes next.

The doctor signs off on a paper, sets it aside, and walks over to say good bye. I extend my hand, but dude goes in for a hug. This is, without question, one of the most awkward moments in my life. (Which, if you know me, is saying quite a bit.)

I should note that it didn't feel inappropriate, exactly. He wasn't hitting on me, I don't think. But, don't they have a class or something that tells them that hugs are not protocol? That, in fact, OVERT FRIENDLINESS is somewhat distasteful? You'd think they'd hold these guys to some sort of STANDARDS for fuck's sake, and not just throw degrees at any man that knows how to speak softly and warm his hands quickly and efficiently!

A few days later, when I got my test results back, he again mentioned, in his form letter, how "lovely" it was to see me and that he looked forward to seeing me again soon.

I can't imagine what our relationship will look like if I ever have another child. I'm not sure I could handle that much...kindness. (It's times like these when I miss New York the most.)