All This, and Childbirth Too


I can’t do anything today. I just feel all blah and can’t get it up to do work, nor goof off. And when you’re too bored to reread Gilmore Girls recaps, you’re pretty damn bored. I have work I could be doing, but I keep vetoing everything I come across: “No. No. I’ll do that tomorrow. That’s waiting on something. No. Too boring. Too much math. I’d have to think hard. Ugh.” All I really want to do is curl up in my bed with a cup of tea and my French book, which was actually starting to make sense last night, but I have four more hours of work, then running, then home to shower… and I have a strange desire to eat all the sugary carbs in the world.

I blame the gyno.

Because yesterday it was that time of year again, that blessed time when you lie on your back in a cold room and offer up your naked uglies to the world, like some sort of bizarre human sacrifice. It’s a hassle, it’s dehumanizing, and—if you happened to be born with ovaries—it’s mandatory. As health-necessitated dread goes, I think I’d rather have an injection (sub-cu, though, not deep tissue), but I wouldn’t rather have a tooth drilled, so it’s somewhere in that scope; use that to gauge the level of apprehension. If you’re a man (and still reading), I’d wager it’s worse than having to shower with your classmates after gym, not as emasculating as asking a girl out in from of your friends. I bet that’s about on par. Except with a cold, unforgiving speculum. So, y’know, not exactly po-tay-to po-tah-to.

I could tell it was not going to go well from the time I walked in the door, plunked down my insurance card, and had a Larry David moment (read: “Humor” Through Seinfeldian Misunderstanding):

RECEPTIONIST: Just have a seat and we’ll call you in a minute.
ME: Thanks. Um, can I use the bathroom?
SHE: Sure, it’s right over there.
ME: No, um… I mean… can I use the bathroom?
SHE: Do you… need permission?
ME: No, but, do you need to keep it or anything?
SHE: Keep what?
ME: My, um… urine. Don’t you need it?
SHE: I don’t need it.
ME: I know you don’t, but when I get into the exam room, is she going to want any? I don’t want to waste it.
SHE: You don’t want to waste your urine.
ME: I know how stupid I sound, ok? Can you just give me the green light to pee?
SHE: Do you need a pregnancy test?
ME: What? No.
SHE: She may want to do one.
ME: What for? I’m not pregnant.

(Receptionist raises eyebrows in a weary, nonplussed, world-wise expression)

ME: No, I don’t mean, like, “I have a boyfriend and we mess around and stuff but we’re real careful,” I mean there’s no conceivable way—hee, get it? oh never mind—that I could be pregnant, because I haven’t done any of the things that one does to get pregn—well, I mean some of the things, obviously, but not like—

(Receptionist blinks, remains quiet. Along with the rest of the waiting room)

ME: Like normal things, that a normal healthy single girl does, like, with extra emphasis on the ‘one-person-ness’ of the word, not like Sex and the City single where it means your sexual partners are bussed in from other counties to satisfy the revolving door of your vagina while remaining blissfully unmarried. I mean no-intercourse-having, no-spermatozoa-even-in-the-building much-less-in-any-arguable-proximity so-as-to-risk-pregnancy single. I’m clean. (pause) But not like in a ‘prudish’ sense—
SHE: Ma’am?
ME: Yes?
SHE: Pee freely.
ME: Thank you.

I’m also blast at this visit because the whole process is so laughable—from the naked wait to the violation of the deed itself to the shirt-buttoning of shame—that I tend to make jokes. Jokes I don’t really think are funny, but I’m nervous and want to seem cool with paying to have a woman’s head in my bandicoot. Add the fact that she’s getting paid as well, and it would seem like a man’s dirtiest fantasy realized. See? Jokes like that. Jokes that are lost on 95% of the world’s medical practitioners, who just want me to shut up and fill out the damn form already. Like, “buy me dinner first” jokes—the kind that lack originality and therefore have been heard a thousand times before. Yeah, they’re pretty bad, but relate it to a hostage situation: any attempt to lighten the mood is welcome for the victim, and just annoying to the executioner. I think for the bargain price of a co-pay and my pride, the least they could do is play along.

GYNECOLOGIST: So, are you sexually active?
ME: Meaning…?
SHE: Are you currently having sex?
ME: Not at the moment; I’m talking to you.
SHE: (pained smile)
ME: A-ha. No, I’m not.
SHE: Have you had any sexual partners in the last year?
ME: I’m assuming ones called Rabbit don’t count?
SHE: (pained smile)
ME: Thought not. No. Wait… no.
SHE: Are you sure?
ME: Yes. That was longer than a year.
SHE: When was the last time—
ME: February… two years ago.
SHE: Ah. Good.
ME: “Good?” You think so?
SHE: Well, it means we don’t have to screen for STDs.
ME: Celibacy 1, Satisfaction 0.
SHE: Are you experiencing any spotting?
ME: Well, I… no, I can’t think of a good “spotting” joke. So no.
SHE: Discharge?
ME: Already? That was fast.
SHE: (pained smile)
ME: See, I was ready for that one.
SHE: (pained smile)
ME: (sigh) No. I’m really fine, I’m not pregnant, I’m totally healthy, no strange biological quirks as of lately. Just need to know that I don’t have HPV, a hormone deficiency, or any flavor of cancer, and can get some more of that tasty birth control for all the sex I’m not having.
SHE: (pained smile)
ME: (contritely) I shaved my legs. To be polite.
SHE: Thank you. (pause) I didn’t.
ME: There it is!

Then chick pokes my cervix and provokes some early-onset PMS. Men: Never start a diatribe about your testicular cancer screenings, because my boot in your maw will surely impede your finishing it.


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