audience participation

I packed a great deal of activity into my Wednesday so I could forget all about my Tuesday, which worked surprisingly well. It wasn’t that my Tuesday was all THAT bad – I’ve certainly had worse days – but it won’t end up on any “Best Of” lists, regardless of the nudity.

For the past two months, I’ve been experiencing localized cramps in my junk. They’re worse when I lay down and accompanied by all sorts of mysterious things with terrible words like “spotting” and “discharge” (which is probably my least favourite word ever; it’s just so .. unseemly), and they just won’t go away. On Tuesday, the pain escalated from “this is annoying; I wonder if I should be concerned” to “So THIS is what it feels like to give birth to a wombat through my left fallopian tube – good to know!”, and the internet advised me to go see a doctor immediately – and for once, I listened. Cheryl suggested I hightail it to the UBC Urgent Care Clinic, which is sort of like a walk-in clinic and ER combined: the likelihood of an actual inspection of your injured areas is a thousand times greater than the traditional walk-in clinic method of 2 minutes with a disinterested doctor who’ll tell you go home and take Advil the end, but you won’t have to take a back seat to actual emergencies like car crashes or knife fights. Sounded good to me, so I asked Ed to pick me up and we were off to UBC.

After registering at the desk and explaining my vaginal woes, we settled in to wait my turn. I may have fallen asleep, but it wasn’t too bad – they weren’t crazy busy, and I was called in soon enough. Nurse Friendly (not an ironic name; he was totally cool) took my blood pressure (needing to use the Fatty Cuff; I HATE that) and told me to go pee in a cup so they could verify that I wasn’t pregnant and in denial. I trotted off to the bathroom to comply, only to experience a baffling problem: I didn’t need to pee. For what is probably the only time EVER, I utterly and completely did not need to pee. I gave it the old college try, but eventually had to give up – the last thing I needed was to develop a complex about peeing under pressure. Sheepishly, I shuffled back to the desk and said I’d have to try again later, which was apparently weird judging by the looks I got.

Nurse Friendly took me to a curtained area and handed me a backless gown and instructions to strip down, suit up and hop onto the bed. He gave me a blanket, which was still warm from the dryer and highly appreciated as I was freezing my nuts off. I started texting people, since I had nothing else to do and my phone hadn’t been confiscated – I even took a picture of my sexy hospital attire:


After what seemed like a million years – I had texted everyone I knew and was starting to get bored – the doctor came around to see me. He had several students in tow, and asked if it okay if they were in my curtain while we chatted. I saw no harm in that – I am nothing if not sharing – and agreed that the minions could stay. I explained my problems again (time #4), and Dr. Combover asked me questions: am I sexually active? how many partners? male or female? It felt more like an OK Cupid profile than a medical exam – I was suspicious about the questions pertaining to my ideal first date scenario – but then Dr. Combover said I’d be getting a pelvic exam to see what was up down there. The group left to arrange my internal prodding with the nurse, and I decided it was time to try to pee again – he really wanted to make sure I wasn’t pregnant, and wasn’t taking my word that I had peed on a stick not long ago that assured me I was baby-free. I should have whipped out the picture to show him, but instead I put on a tattered robe to hide my backside and attempted to pee. Success! I managed to pee into a cup and all over myself at the same time! I cleaned up and hobbled back to the bed, only to be told to put my shoes on and follow Lady Nurse to another room, where’d I be getting my exam done. Decked out in a hospital gown and Fluevogs, we went down the hall to peek at my insides.

Lady Nurse instructed me to get onto the bed and wait as she laid out the terrifying instruments that Dr. Combover would be using on my delicate lady junk. Thankfully, she wasn’t going to put me in stirrups right away so I hung out and stared at my toes and wished I had smuggled my phone with me so I could text more people. A very long time later, the doctor appeared .. with his entourage. This time, he didn’t ask if it was okay if they watched – apparently, the permission I gave for the students to hang out during our Q&A session extended to my pelvic exam. Shit. One of the students awkwardly made small talk with me as the doctor prepped himself, and we began the exam.

It wasn’t at all awkward that the doctor was describing what he was doing to the students as they eagerly looked at my naked vagina: “always warm up the speculum before inserting it, but test it on the thigh first to make sure it isn’t too hot or you’ll burn the lips. Okay, now we’re looking at the labia – let’s insert the spec and open up .. see, there’s the cervix, hand me that swab and I’m going to take a sample ..”. While the keen audience crowded around my unkempt vagina and looked in, I was extremely interested in the walls. What seemed like seven hours later, Dr. Combover was done tinkering around in my womb and closed up shop – I was grateful that he hadn’t asked one of the students to step in for extra credit or something, but that gratitude quickly vanished when the he told me he was going to do a quick rectum check as he was doing it. I barely had time to realize he was all up in my bum before he was done and class was dismissed – I could shuffle back to my curtained area and get dressed.

I need an ultrasound; the appointment for which was made for tomorrow morning. I knew the physical exam would not yield any answers – I’d had my smears done earlier in the year and did not hear back, which means my vagina is a glowing wonderland of health and fortune. The ultrasound is the golden ticket here – I need to see what’s going on up in my tubes. I have two working theories, based on my years of medical experience: 1) my WSD has shifted to the left, causing cramps and mysterious activity in my gardens, or 2) there’s an egg clog in my left tube. Tomorrow morning I need to get up ridiculously early (I’m on vacation, after all), drink a liter of water, then HOLD IT for almost two hours so they can look at my insides to see exactly what manner of beast impregnated me in my sleep. It’s going to be a painful morning of near-accidents that I’m not at all looking forward to .. but it’ll be nice to know once and for all just what the fuck is going on in my junk and if I should be worried or throwing an alien baby shower.

I’m all for sharing my vagina with a lot of people, but getting a pelvic exam with an audience was just weird, even for me. I don’t recommend it, to be honest. I give it my lowest rating ever: seven thumbs up.

10 thoughts on “audience participation

  1. Been there, done that – the women’s health clinic I go to is also part of a teaching hospital. After the doctor and the nurse and two students all had a look-see, I felt like inviting the receptionist in for a peek.

    Seriously though, hope your girly bits are ok. Take it easy.

  2. Education is a noble endeavour, thus, you have a noble vagina. :) Seriously though, I’m glad you have your foot (lips?) in the door now.

  3. I’m glad that you’re getting the medical attention you need – though I’m sad that they didn’t give you quick answers or anything to reduce your wombat labour pains.

    For the ultrasound, the dire need to pee is definitely the only awful part. Other than that, it’s just a warm vibrating wand wielded by a mysterious stranger. Word to the wise – pace yourself on the water consumption, particularly if there is ANY chance you’ll have to wait around.

  4. UBC is terrific if you can get there easily. You’re seen by some of the best doctors around and very quickly. Although not usually all at once like that.

    That’s the best picture of someone in a hospital gown I’ve ever seen. If they do catalogs of those things, you should definitely get the modeling gig.

    You’re probably sick of advice, but I’ve been doing a lot of hospital trips lately. Take a bag with you for ALL appointments and in it have your phone, your charger, your laptop or netbook if you can tether it to your phone (no wifi at most hospitals, alas), a non-challenging book, comfy pjs and slippers or slipper socks, and your makeup/skincare bag. WITH a toothbrush and deodorant. Icing on the cake: take some DVDs too.

    If you don’t need them, great, but if you get admitted to the hospital it’s entirely possible to go mental from boredom and/or discomfort. Having those things with you will make a big difference.

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