Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Class, Race, Gender, Werewolves, and Gynecology

Arriving in the mailbox a few days ago was just another thing to add to the list of
 "Creepy Things I Never Wished to Hear/Read."
It was a reminder letter from my OB/Gyn.
It stated that the office was "really looking forward to my upcoming visit."
As if ever since I made the appointment, the friendly Doctors and Nurses of the Nether Regions have been in a state of restless anticipaction and excitement about the viewing and groping
of MY nee nees and naa naas. Yikes. Much clenching ensued.

So it was with great trepidation that I arrived at the Ob/Gyn yesterday.
It has been 3 years or so since my last breast exam, pelvic exam, and pap smear...Triple Threat.
And it was the first such visit in the fair city of Syracuse.
And the first time using our new insurance from Michael's employment at SUNY Oswego.
I think all of the paperwork and questioning of my medical past is a close relative
to the legs up in the stirrup experience. Just as Bare All.
I guess I don't understand why the doctor needs to know how many sexual partners
I've had in my lifetime. That's really personal. Is it medical?
If so, why not also ask how many people I've kissed, held hands with...
also communicable activities.
And may I ask how many nee nees and naa naas you've examined, dear doc?
Do MEN ever have to answer that question at the doctor's office?
Are they patted on the back when they give their answer?

Funny to me also (or maybe very sad), a nurse spoke to me in a quiet, conspiratorial tone
about how this particular medical center serves more of the 'medicaid crowd,'
and how I would want to find another Ob/gyn in the suburbs for when/if I become pregnant again.
Of course, she would have no clue about my background of economic disadvantage,
that I'm a child of the 'medicaid crowd.'
I know she was trying to be helpful, but I wish I would have spoken up and let her know
that the 'medicaid crowd' is more diverse and complex than she realizes,
and that we all deserve quaility, caring Ob/Gyns regardless of the color of our skin.
But instead,  I was shocked into silence.
And  honestly, more than a small part of me was relieved that I 'passsed' as middle class.

The Triple Threat (exam, exam, smear), is never very pleasurable.
However, out of an excess of nervous energy,
yesterday I discovered a strategy to help.
Humor! Grin and bear it, while baring it.
It may not work for you.
Maybe you prefer prayer in situations of discomfort and humiliation.
But for me, joking around in a self-deprecating manner about my bodily flaws, aging, (and even laughing at my fears!) saw me through it to the end.

By the way, my doctor said it's perfectly normal that
I have a single, weird, bristly, black, werewolf hair that sprouts
from my neck once every full moon.
Nothing strange about that at all, apparently.


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