When you hear the word, “annual”, what comes to mind? An annual family reunion, perhaps; or possibly an annual sale at your favorite store. It could be those annual flowers that pop up after months of snow. Maybe it’s the annual fee on your credit card. There are lots of times for this word to pop up in our daily lexicon. For women, however, “annual” denotes a very invasive doctor’s appointment. We get the distinct pleasure of these visits because we were blessed with a uterus. I’m no physician but apparently that uterus is a complicated thing. I cannot recall another body part that needs to be scraped for cells on a regular basis. Could we not do this to the elbow? The ankle? Hell, your ankle is already right up there in the stirrups, go ahead and grab some cells from there too while you’re at it. But I digress. The point is that I just had my annual visit to my doctor. Gentlemen, you may stop reading here. Unless you haven’t eaten in a few hours; in which case, please feel free to continue reading.
I am not a particularly modest woman but I really dislike going to the doctor. Send me to the dentist all day long. They let you lay down and relax while you listen to relatively decent music and they clean your teeth for you. The OBgyn does NOT do any cleaning and there is no music. (Sidenote: OBgyns, you might want to consider music…) Anyway, there is nothing I like less than this visit, and after two children, I quite frankly would be fine if they shut that factory down and I could carry on with my life. But, alas, in the name of health…
So my doctor, with whom I have only met once prior to today, is one of those crunchy granola types. I ADORE her. She is just a little on the the hippie edge of things. When I spoke to her last year about my anxiety, which is a longstanding issue for which I am well medicated, she plopped some lavender oil on a cotton ball and sent me on my way, telling me to smell it whenever I was stressed. (For the record, I still have an active prescription to Lexapro and Xanax and I do not forsee substituting lavender for them in the near future.) With all of her earthy love and such, I should not have been surprised when she asked me if I wanted to watch her perform my PAP smear and pelvic exam.
“Absolutely not,” I replied incredulously.
She smiled a matronly smile. “Sometimes it makes people feel better. Did you know that some women have never seen their vagina? I mean if you’re here, you might as well get the full experience.”
My jaw dropped. Does she really think anyone wants to “experience” this more than they already must??
“Well, I prefer to keep this procedure limited to only sense, and I don’t need to feel it AND see it. I might not recover as quickly.”
She chuckled and patted my leg. “Ok. We’ll get started.”
And then she…just kidding. If you know what happens next, you don’t need to read about it. And if you don’t know what happens next, you don’t need to read about it either.
So once my legs were back together and I was in an upright position, I decided to pose the question that was burning on my mind.
“My husband has had a vasectomy. I know this is not 100% effective, but we are definitely done having children. Do you think I should go on birth control?”
And then she laughed so hard she fell on the floor and almost choked to death. Not quite, but you guys, it was seriously close. I’ve given that “are you fucking kidding me” look before and I know it when I see it. She informed me of the science of vasectomies (which I know) and about how it can NEVER be undone, which is an absolute fallacy. So the moral of that story is: A) my doctor thinks I’m an idiot. B) I’m not on birth control and C) I tried to share with her webMD info that she promptly rejected.
So, not only did I leave there exposed physically and mentally, I could get pregnant. Thanks, Doctor.