I am going to warn you right up front that this post is not for those who don’t enjoy slightly humourous discussions of women’s preventive health procedures. Or my father-in-law. You don’t really need this info unless you have a cervix, so if you’re still reading Ted, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
As you may know, I am a lady. This means that I have lady parts. It also means that I need to visit the doctor on a regular basis to have those lady parts checked out. Because while a date with a speculum is not exactly my idea of a good time, it beats undetected cervical cancer hands down. If you want to hear more about why you should be proactive and make that appointment, chat with Betsy. Or really, if you just want to laugh your pants off, chat with Betsy. Either way.
(I’m having the same problem with this post that I had with the poop post – what photos to use? I’ve decided that this time I’ll go with cute shots of my kids.)
I have a daughter! She is cute!
It occurs to me that all of us ladies have this shared experience in common, and yet we do it so very much on our own. Visiting public bathrooms in a group may be clichÃ©, but I don’t know anyone who rounds up her girlfriends before heading to the doctor. You may compare notes or crack jokes about it, but when you find yourself on that table wearing a hospital robe, you are hopefully the only one in the room. There was one time I had to take my 4-month-old, but really, I don’t recommend that if you can possibly avoid it.
Since I’m left to my own devices as I head to the doctor, I have my own comfort measures that I employ. For example, I wear my warmest, fuzziest socks. Sexy? No. But I’m not trying to come on to my doctor, so I’m cool with that. I also wear a big sweatshirt and skip the contacts. If I am going to have to put my feet in stirrups, I want to be as comfortable as possible before and after. I don’t know how other people do it, but that’s just how I roll.
I also have a son! He is cute, too!
While I still wouldn’t say that a pap test is my idea of a good time, my views towards it have changed over the years. Today, I am in my mid-30s. I have given birth twice, one time in front of an entire team from the NICU. I always have an audience in the bathroom, and I have had the joy of answering explicit questions about my period from my daughter who thought I might be dying. When I was 18 I found the idea of baring it all for the doctor embarrassing. Now? She could parade a class full of medical students through for observation and I would probably just shout out tips.
Shame? I have none anymore.
Beware a toddler with a spray nozzle!
In fact, taking a solo trip to the doctor is kind of relaxing. I get to drive there in the car and listen to whatever I want, without anyone complaining. I can read a magazine while I wait, or just sit and enjoy the novelty of not having anyone climbing on me. Because I don’t really give a flying fig, I can chat with my doctor about how she can travel now that her daughter is 19 while she gives me a breast exam. It sounds sort of like this: “Lift this arm. So, yeah, when she was younger I didn’t really want to leave her, but now that she’s older … my hands might be cold, sorry … I can go away for a week and I don’t have to worry.”
Although I will admit it is a little surreal to discuss good places to travel with younger kids while someone is knuckle-deep in your vagina. But I’ll take her tips no matter what she was doing while she gave them.
Sometimes my children actually play together, yay!
The best part of going in for my appointment, though, is the smug feeling of satisfaction I get after it’s over. I’ve done my part. Held up my end of the bargain. Taken a step for preventive medicine. All that good stuff. I feel like I’ve earned a gold star, and I’m free and clear until the next time. As I leave the office in my glasses, baggy sweatshirt and fuzzy socks, I give myself a mental high five. My health will thank me!
So, what is my point? My point is that all of us ladies should make sure that we get our lady parts checked out on a regular basis. Because we owe it to ourselves. And when you have little kids at home visiting the doctor by yourself may be the closest thing to a spa visit you ever get. Plus, you can keep your socks on.
Do you have any comfort measures you use when you need to go in for The Appointment? What are they? And do you need to book yours soon? Because you totally should. And then share your funniest or most awkward moment in the comments. Use a pseudonym if you have to, I won’t judge.