BY ABBY WALLER
Meet Queer Abby, feel free to ask her anything in the comments below or write to her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the title wasn’t warning enough….
WARNING: this story contains language not suitable for those who are squeamish about the female body and it’s hormonal complexities. Do not read if you are offended, grossed out by, or have any other negative feelings about the functions of the female body. Also, if you feel this way don’t read anything I write ever because you’re a sexist poop-head.
A thing that has been a thing in my life for quite some time is that I have had chronic urinary issues. Like, it sometimes still feels like I need to pee after I pee and sometimes I just feel like my vag is mad at me after I do pee. She’s so high-maintenance.
So, I set up a doctor’s appointment. My normal OBGYN didn’t have an appointment for a while so they asked if I wanted to set one up with someone else. Eh, sure. Why not? So they set me up with a different doctor. Important to note: I was also told I was due for my pap appointment…so I set that up for the soonest my doc. had available: Jan. 14th.
I go in to see her and she checks everything out — yay, pelvic exam #1! She ultimately tells me that everything looks okay but considering my symptoms I should see a urologist. Ok, fast-forward to two weeks later…aka: Jan. 13th = pelvic exam #2 and some other extreeemely unpleasant catheter-type stuff. It’s not fun. Don’t do it.
Well, the doc. determined (I guess by process of elimination) that I have IC or Interstitial cystitis…which means peeing can hurt sometimes. Great. He prescribes some pretty cool sounding natural stuff that I’m actually optimistic about and then some stuff that turns my pee blue. Seriously. Freaking blue kool-aid blue. Am now a smurf.
Okay, so that just leaves my last appointment…the very next day. Pelvic exam #3. I guess my high-maintenance pelvis is finally getting all the attention she wants. FML.
At this point, I’ve been prodded and probed so many times that I’m pretty copacetic about going in for yet another pelvic exam. I meet with the incredibly kind nurse who asks me questions to update my medical history, takes my blood pressure, and tells me to undress and put on the always-chic hospital gown. After she leaves I go through the process of taking off my numerous layers of winter clothing — including my tall boots and tall socks. I put my socks back on because; dammit…it’s cold in those exam rooms! My doc comes in the room and proceeds to ask me how I’m doing. I let her know that, other than the bladder stuff that’s being addressed by the urologist, everything seems fairly normal with the exception of monster cramps during some of my menstrual cycles. Just when she starts to talk about how birth control or a Mirena IUD might help, the lights above my head start flashing. I start to ask what’s going on when alarms start going off too.
Doc: “Oh no. Really? Not again.”
Me: “Um, oh…it’s the fire alarm.”
Doc: “Yeah. It’s a drill. You’re already here and undressed. Do you want to try to go ahead and take care of the exam?”
Me: “…….I. Um. I’m not sure, I guess? If you think we have time?”
Doc: “Let me check just to see if they want us to evacuate.”
My doctor leaves the room and I sit there with sirens blaring and lights flashing around me with nothing but my thin over-sized gown and see-through sheet over my lap. No longer do I feel completely copacetic.
My doc reenters the room and tells me that, yes, they want us to evacuate. She then says that, if I’m up for it, we can go ahead and do the exam really quickly so that I don’t have to put all my clothes back on, go all the way downstairs and out of the hospital, and wait for who knows how long only to have to come all the way back upstairs and get undressed again for such a quick medical exam. I agreed that, sure, if she thought there was time, to go ahead and do it.
So, the doc calls the nurse in, I scooch my butt all the way to the end of the table…and with lights flashing over my head and alarms sounding, my doctor proceeds with my pelvic’s third exam in less than three weeks. She’s doing all the things they normally do and asking me questions, but I’m distracted by the incredibly odd situation so I just murmur my responses as the nurse jokingly offers her elbow for comfort/support. Just then someone tries to enter the room and the nurse barks out a firm:
“No. No. NO!”
The door slowly eases back shut and I actually let out a chuckle and say:
“Oh my god, this is like an episode of Seinfield or something.” We all laugh, because as awkward as it may be, the situation is a pretty funny.
The doc finishes the fastest pap I’ve ever had and tells me that I can get dressed. I put on my nineteen layers as quickly as I can and walk out of a room into a completely empty hallway, that just fifteen minutes before, was filled with people. My doc tells me we can follow up by phone and the nurse walks me through the empty hospital, down five flights of stairs, and out into the January air where a crowd of people make room for a fire truck to pull up to the building.
And that was, I hope, my final female exam for at least a year….preferably more.