Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Gynecologist Appointment

Pushing my limits to the extreme end of the “icky” side, I’m going to direct your attention over to my gynecologist’s appointment—so just beware. It may get explicit. “X” out if you are easily offended by…details.

As you all know and have heard, my OCD kicks up big time during the colder months. People are getting sick, catching colds and developing the flu. My stock in Purell is my safety blanket. The one thing I dread most of all, is walking into a medical/family doctor’s office. That’s where the big bugs are. I try to stay far away, unless I’m practically on my deathbed. Then they usually end up hauling my butt to the emergency room, because of my stubborn ways—and that’s even a hundred times worse than any doc’s office.

Anyway, you wouldn’t think going to the gynecologist would be alarming, as far as germs go. I never thought so. I sat in the waiting room, flipping through a magazine. And you know how much I rant about not touching those damn things, because of germs. But this isn’t about ‘sickness’, it’s about pap smears, ultrasounds and STD testing to me. Things are generally disinfected…so I thought.

“Deb?” The nurse calls out to me, motioning me to come into the second little waiting room. Not only was this a 45 minute wait, but I expected to see the doctor within seconds. She hops me on the scale, takes my blood pressure and then asks me some basic medical questions.

“He’s running three patients behind, so I apologize if you have to wait a little bit longer.” The nurse practitioner says, as she shuts the door before I can get a “NO!!!” out.

So here I am, in this small room the size of a porta potty. Great. I need reading material or something to prevent me from having a major anxiety attack. I start looking at the diagrams of the female anatomy. Like I don’t know this already. Frequent urination posters and information regarding different types of vaginal discharge. Hmm.

I started to get a bit tired, so I decided to sit down on that beautiful green vinyl recliner with the light paper rolled out onto it. The only difference between that chair and the one at my family doctor’s chair are the stirrups. Before I sat down, I noticed that the light paper sitting on the chair had a small drop right where the doctor slides your butt down to examine you.

Oh no!... They didn’t have the nurse change the paper? This room was used and not cleaned up before the next patient? My blood pressure starts rising, my pulse starts speeding up and now I am in full-fledge anxiety attack mode. My chest starts to hurt and I begin to panic. My thoughts were racing. “Do I just walk out of here? Do I just say I’m having chest pains and fly out of this office? Maybe I should just leave, hoping no one notices!” Before I can even decide on which excuse to use, the doctor comes in with his little clipboard.

I tense up. I don’t say one word about it. He introduces himself and walks over to his little sink and counter to fill out some paperwork and to ask me more medical questions. He glances over at the chair, wondering why I’m still standing up. He then begins to notice the crinkly used up dirty ass paper still lying there. He quickly attacks it—throwing out the old paper out, and wiping down the seat with rubbing alcohol. I love this guy! He recognized my OCD. I still was uneasy about sitting on that thing—but it was necessary.

Now keep in mind, he’s asking me questions that I already filled out on a medical sheet---which he has RIGHT in front of him.

“Age?”
“Thirty-two.”
“Last period?”
“The seventh.”
“Smoke?”
“No thanks.”
(He chuckles—thank God he has a sense of humor.)
“Alcohol consumption?”
“Way too much.”
“What’s way too much?”
“Two glasses of wine with dinner.” (Totally lied.)
“History of people you slept with---how many?”

*edited out*

“Are you sexually active?”
“Yes.”
“What type of protection do you use?”
“A pillow so my head doesn’t hit the wall.”
“What?”
“I’m gay doc. I also refuse to use those dental dams that taste like a car tire.”
“Oh.”
“How many partners?”
“Just one.”
“Great. Put this gown on and I will be back in a moment.”

He leaves the room. I have no idea where he’s going or what he’s doing, but now I’m alone-- sitting on that awful chair that was once soiled right before my very eyes. I’m marinating in germs and rubbing alcohol at this point. My anxiety goes up once again, and I’m starting to get those chest pains again. I start putting the gown which looked like a fricken tent! The thing was so large that it basically wrapped around me ten times. I was cold anyway, so I wrapped myself up.

He comes back in with the nurse. His bedside manners weren’t so great. He was too quiet, I was his last appointment, and he’s seen way too many crotches for one day. I’ve never “primped up” so much for someone in my life. Thank God he wasn’t in for a rude awakening!

He starts examining me with the nurse standing right there. I had this look on my face like, “PLEASE PLEASE GOD GET THIS OVER WITH!” Yes, I included a prayer to God in this post, for all of you cringing in disbelief over my topic right now.

“Are you okay?” The nurse asks as she's also putting on latex gloves..
“He could have at least bought me dinner, or offered me a strong martini!”

They both laugh, and the tension eases up in the room. Even if you go to these doctors every year, it’s still unnerving for two people sitting there analyzing your most valuable prized possession. My bread basket was fine, cervix smooth as a baby’s butt, and no STDs. Other blood work is being followed for next week. I did ask for the HPV test—as ANY woman should do. He informed me that you don’t need to ask for it anymore—they give it to you automatically.

(This was taken from the CDC website.)

Genital HPV infection is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Human papillomavirus is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 100 different strains or types. More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted, and they can infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), or anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum. Most people who become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms and will clear the infection on their own.

Some of these viruses are called "high-risk" types, and may cause abnormal Pap tests. They may also lead to cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, or penis. Others are called "low-risk" types, and they may cause mild Pap test abnormalities or genital warts. Genital warts are single or multiple growths or bumps that appear in the genital area, and sometimes are cauliflower shaped.”

Heidi, are you cringing yet? I know CP deals with the last part of this paragraph being in the line of work she does. She has told me many stories regarding ‘fresh cauliflower’.

Okay, so point of this post was to inform women to get your tests done and always make sure that the HPV testing is included. The scary thing is that you have absolutely no symptoms. A regular breast exam is also important as well. Not too long ago, the doctors detected two large masses on my breast, and sent me to get a mammogram and an ultrasound to see if it was anything to be concerned with. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything. But, self exams and trips to the doctors will put your mind to rest. Also, early detection gives you better chances, if you do develop anything.

I’m done. If you have come this far, I applaud you. You’ve rummaged through some of my ‘icky’ posts and you’re still with me?