Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Pap Smear That Wouldn't Die

I just finished off the Chinese food that we got last night. It was delicious.

I had my pap smear re-do yesterday. I was not looking forward to that at all. But before I went to my appointment I went into the BX to pick up some Easter goodies for 50% off. I found some cute stuff. I can never pass up a good deal. I have this compulsion to buy if I see the sign 50% off. Of course Tom wasn't pleased when he saw the bags of Easter stuff. He looked in the bag and went, "What's this? I don't understand. We're trying to get rid of junk not bring more in!"

"It's for Easter. Next year!" I said brightly.

He just sighed and rolled his eyes at me.

After I went to the BX I made my way to the hospital. I walked down the dreaded hallway with the flickering lights overhead. I breathed in the antiseptic mixed with the cafeteria food. I found the Family Practice Clinic and waited in line to check in. When I was called to the front I forced a smile and said hello as cheerfully as I could muster. The woman behind the counter looked bored and tired. She just held out her hand and went,

"ID Card."

In the military most people won't talk to you until you show your ID card. They'll just look at you as though you're a potential terrorist. So I dug into my purse, pulled it out and handed it over. She typed into her computer and returned my ID card.

"So this appointment is for your...your...your..." she couldn't seem to get the proper word out.

I finished for her. "My annual. Yes. Again," I added. "You see they messed up the first time and..."

She didn't care to hear it. She just gathered up a piece of paper, snapped it on a clipboard and handed it to me.

"Fill this out and bring it back. NEXT!"

Okay then.

I sat down on a plastic chair and filled out the same paperwork that I had filled out last time. Then I returned it to the woman and she said I'd be called back shortly. I returned to my seat and waited. I overheard this woman shouting at the people behind the desk and pretended that I didn't care when all the while I was leaning forward slightly to catch what was going on.

"What do you mean the doctor won't see me now? I'm only six minutes late! Have you driven on these roads? Do you realize that there are tractors all over the place? I cannot believe the doctor won't see me. You go ask him. Ask him now!" the woman shouted.

I think by now everyone in the room was listening in but pretending they weren't. Although one woman was making it perfectly obvious that she was indeed listening. She watched what was taking place with wide eyes and a few times she'd laugh to herself.

"Look I'm sorry ma'am but the rules are the rules. If you're late you'll have to reschedule. Or you can wait around and see if someone else is late for their appointment," the woman behind the desk explained.

I didn't get to see what happened. I was called back after that. I did hear the woman that was late shout,

"This is the last time I come to THIS hospital!"

(Although I'm not sure where else she'd go. I suppose she could go to a British hospital.)

The nurse was a short woman with dark hair. She apologized right away for having to do this again. Then she led me into a room where all the equipment for my pap smear was laid out. I always feel slightly faint when I see the speculum, the large cotton swab and the lubricant less than three feet away from me.

After checking my weight and blood pressure the woman said the doctor would be right with me. I only had to take my bottoms off since I didn't have to re-do the breast portion of the exam. So I took off my clothes, covered my bottom with a starchy blanket that they supplied and waited.

The doctor arrived a few minutes late. He also apologized for having to do this again.

"It's just they're having us do the pap smears differently now. They want me to take this wand and scrape a different way. I'm not sure why," he explained.

I paled when he showed me the "wand" but politely nodded and pretended I knew what he was talking about.

"This won't take long at all. Just put your legs in the stirrups. Move your butt all the way down. Let your legs fall open.."

(Yeah right.)

As soon as he started he went, "Hrm.."

I did not like the sound of that "hrm."

Then he went, "Is your period about to start?"


And here's where I have a problem: I never know when my period is going to come. I know it's easy math to figure out but numbers confuse me. When my period comes it comes.

"The reason I ask is because it's really bloody back here. Your period is going to come any day now. I'm not sure if I'll get any cells."

Oh for--

"Could you please try?" I asked. I was already uncomfortable as it was. The stuff was already inside me and I was beginning to feel like I needed to pee.

"I can try. But you'll probably have to come in again."


He did what he needed to do. And when he took out the speculum it HURT this time. Ouch.

"So we'll call you if you need to come back in, okay?" the doctor said and then he was gone.

But know this: I am not going in again. No way. I have my birth control. Two times is my max.


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