This post is not related to my health issues, but rather a little journey through my womanly health care experiences. Yesterday I had my 4-month post op appointment, and it made me realize how many odd occurrences I have had in doctors’ offices. As women, we have to go through so much more “down there” than men. AND we have to carry and birth babies? This seems rather unfair. Where do I send my complaint letter?
Anyway, I think I could be a contender for the Most Awkward Gynecological Experiences Award. I don’t pride myself on being in the running for this type of honor.
Allow me to explain.
Years ago, I had scheduled a check-up with my regular doctor. I found out when I arrived at the office that “a new doctor” would be checking me, because my regular doctor was on maternity leave. To me, meeting a new doctor is always a bit nerve-wracking. But it was especially nerve-wracking when I was told I needed a pap smear, and the new doctor asked the receptionist to be her stand-in physician’s assistant. Then the makeshift assistant ran around giggling while my feet were up in the stirrups. Was she giggling at my lady parts or because she was a receptionist and should have been answering the phones and not looking at my hoo ha? Either way, not professional.
I have since switched doctors.
I eventually found a doctor that I really trusted. She was part of a teaching hospital. I have nothing against teaching hospitals, but it can be slightly uncomfortable to tell your doctor about the stuff going on with your vagina while a medical student/intern/whatever, who you’ve never met in your life, looks on. By “looks on” I mean stares into your vagina with your doctor, and then they have a nice little conversation about it. Sweet. I’m so glad I could be of service to everyone.
Despite the presence of random students meandering in and out of exam rooms, I have stuck with this doctor because I like her. She referred me out to a few specialists during my health scare. These specialists have further sealed my nomination for the Most Awkward Gynecological Experiences Award.
First I went to a radiologist who decided I would be the lucky one who would get a “new” method of testing/procedure performed on me. Literally, the FIRST patient. Oh joy! As I chilled in the stirrups, I tried to separate myself from the fact that FOUR people were in the room (doctor, nurse, and two randoms) standing behind the brightest spotlight in history while I had this new procedure done. One of the randoms was so nervous and embarrassed that he kept running into things, and dropping his papers/pens/whatever on the ground. I felt sorry for him. Wait, wasn’t I the one who should be embarrassed?
But this last one really takes the cake.
Yesterday, I saw my surgical doctor (who I love), and he gave me a quick pap smear. I wasn’t phased by the fact that he had some random person in the room. I was actually just relieved that, for once, the random was FEMALE. Then he directed me to the radiologist whom would perform my ultrasound.
I got hustled into the ultrasound room where this miniature woman with glasses jerked to and fro with her magical ultrasound wand. She must have been in a real big hurry, because she basically de-virginized me. Wait, I’m not a virgin. Well, it felt like I was being de-virginized all over again. Yeah, I know. Terrible. I have had these types of ultrasounds before, and they don’t feel like that. Then she told me to get dressed. Before I could eek out a response, she was out the door. Okie doke. So, I put my pants on and waited for her return. 5 minutes…10 minutes…15 minutes…ummm, hello, de-virginizing lady, I don’t have all day. 20 minutes…I was starting to go cross-eyed because the lights were off and I had only the ultrasound monitor to light my way. 25 MINUTES.
At that point, I poked my head out the door. No sign of her. No sign of life. Where is everyone? I fumbled out into the hallway, and made my way to the reception desk. I asked the receptionist, “I’m trying to find my radiologist. Have you seen her?” The receptionist’s response, “Oh, she’s at lunch. Do you need something?”
Uh, do I NEED something?!? You must be crazy, b*tch.
I cooled myself down quickly, and resisted my growing need to strangle her or anyone in the nearby vicinity, and let her know that I was left in the exam room alone for half an hour while the radiologist disappeared without a word.
She apologized profusely, and tried to make up some story that covered the radiologist’s ass. Lies. She just told me she went to lunch. It wasn’t the receptionist’s fault. I feel for people who have to apologize on behalf of their idiot boss’s behaviors. (I have been there.) But still, the whole situation really irked me. Her roughness, her coldness, and then her need to go get a sandwich while I nearly fell asleep in the ultrasound room?
I am hoping that if I ever get pregnant, I somehow get lucky and don’t add to my list of awkward experiences. Hey, it could happen, right?
I realize this post is quite revealing, and basically a topic that many consider private. But if you have comments, experiences, or anything to share, feel free to share away.

March 10, 2010
March 11, 2010

thelessthandomesticgoddess

13 Comments

  1. Reply

    Pink Heli

    March 10, 2010

    Oh man. Wow. I feel you on the crazy teaching hospital stuff. I go to one too. Superfun example: when they agreed to give me an IUD they decided a student ought to 'give it a go' and 'get the experience' since I was a 'special case': someone who had never given birth. Boy was THAT wonderful. Two different student-docs poking around down there and 20+ minutes of excruciating pain later… a 'real doctor' finally came in and did it. The whole time, a frazzled nurse was standing by saying stuff like 'oh you poor thing, it'll be over soon?' (And at that point I was like "over? you're going to kill me?! FINALLY!")

  2. Reply

    michelle @ blissful musings

    March 10, 2010

    Omg! Carly, each story was getting worse. That is terrible! What an awful and insensitive radiologist. I'm trying a new gynecologist at the end of month and am nervous. My other one was just too far away and I wasn't super attached to her even though she did my surgery last year.

    @Pink Heli…pretty sure I'll never go to a teaching hospital now. That sounds horrifying.

  3. Reply

    My Dream Ring

    March 10, 2010

    I absolutely hate the teaching hospitals…I had my first daughter at a teaching hospital and they wanted an angry pregnant women in hard labor to allow 6 student doctors in the room to watch as I gave birth to my first child. I flipped out to say the least and the residents went running for the hills. Needless to say I switched doctors and hospitals.

    I also hate when you have to apologize for others faults, I do it all the time at work for sales reps who forget they have a meeting an leave a client waiting for an hour. UGH!!!

  4. Reply

    Heidi

    March 10, 2010

    Wow! That's horrible! I can't believe she just left you in there! Hopefully the next appointment is less eventful!

  5. Reply

    Mrs. Hot Cocoa

    March 10, 2010

    HOLY CRAP. That's ridiculous what that radiologist did. (Not to denigrate radiologists in general, but the few I've met are not exactly people people — that's why they read labs.)

    As for your previous experiences, since my husband's been there as one of those randoms, I can tell you that he feels pretty damn awkward when he has to stand around stupidly as someone's cooch gets examined. 😉

  6. Reply

    -J.Darling

    March 10, 2010

    I think I've had your ultrasound tech. YOUCH! At the time, though, I was a virgin. It hurt SO BAD! I'd had others "up there" that didn't hurt so bad. What a pain!

  7. Reply

    Krista

    March 10, 2010

    I don't mind teaching hospitals. Someone has to learn somehow, right? What I do mind is when they don't do it professionally! (Um, dropping your pen b/c you're nervous. Get a f-in backbone and get over it.)

    I would, however, complain to the boss/dept head of the radiology dept. Explain exactly what you put on this blog – that you were left alone while the radiologist went to LUNCH for half an hour. Not only is that unprofessional, it's unethical, immoral, and just bad bedside manners.

  8. Reply

    honey my heart

    March 10, 2010

    i cannot imagine how i would handle any of the situations you were in, well besides freaking out! my hospital visits have been scarce and the doctors have been nice. the radiologist story may have been the worst one. did you talk to a supervisor in the end?

  9. Reply

    Sugar

    March 10, 2010

    I once had a Gyno leave me in the room and forget about me. She also left in the middle of our introduction (read: I still had my clothes on) to take a call from her Dad. I never went back to her. So sorry you had such a horrible experience. No bueno.

  10. Reply

    brooke @ claremont road

    March 11, 2010

    Ugh, so sorry you've had such lousy experiences! I can barely stand to have the gyno and 1 nurse in the room; I can't imagine having lots of "randoms." I am SO mortified when I'm in there, and I've never even had to deal with any of the more invasive stuff you have gone through.

    I hate when doctor's/nurses/assistants don't give clear instructions or speak slowly, or they leave the room without telling you where you're supposed to go when you leave (sometimes it's the front desk… sometimes it's not). I know that they've gone over the same questions/instructions a million times with a million patients, but I'm already nervous enough to be there — slow the hell down so I can understand what you're saying and patiently tell me what I need to know!

  11. Reply

    Mo

    March 11, 2010

    ::Hug::
    I can't believe the doctor left you in there! What I really hate is when they make you wait so long and then slap you with a huge bill. Are you going to see a new radiologist?

    Some of my awkward stories…
    When I was 16, I once had a doctor ask me if I was sexually active in front of my Mother. And then she said "whoops! I wasn't supposed to ask you that in front of her!" And then my Mother chimed in and said "of course she's not!" Well, thank you doctor and mother for looking out for my best interests.

    I have also had a nurse comment on my breasts while doing a breast exam. I'm not sure if it was a good or bad thing that it was a positive comment.

  12. Reply

    LauraJane

    March 12, 2010

    I suspect you and I have had similar diagnoses… 🙁 Hope you're doing well!

    Sorry you had a tough go of this, I hate lazy/inconsiderate people at the best of times- so much worse when you're feeling vulnerable!

  13. Reply

    Jessica Lords

    March 15, 2010

    My worst gyno experience was when I got fitted for a diaphragm. The hubs and I were just switching from the Pill to the Fertility Awareness Method, and I decided a diaphragm would be good to have on hand as one of my options.

    The fitting was TERRIBLE. I've never given birth but she still tried to fit the biggest diaphragm in there first, which hurt SO BAD. I was about to cry when I finally said "okay that is just not going to work thank you very much." She then put in the next biggest which also didn't fit. I'm not exactly sure what she was trying to do; she said she was trying to "tuck it" behind my pubic bone. Have you ever put sheets on a bunk bed? You know how you have to sort of lift up the mattress and shove the sheets under, between the mattress/baseboard/legs, and you just sort of shove it so it stays there? That's what she was doing in my vagina. It was super painful.

    After THAT didn't work she seemed to lose her optimism and I told her "listen, if this isn't going to work, this isn't going to work. Whatever. I'll figure something else out." But she wanted to try the smallest size. She told him, however, that the smallest is much too small for most women. But whatevs, she shoved it up my cooch and it was the only one that wasn't extremely painful. She told me she was going to leave the room for 5 minutes, and while she was gone I was to do some lunges, bear down, do some kegels and just make sure it didn't move out of place. Then I was supposed to take it out and put it back in again.

    I got it out after a couple of minutes but putting it back in was super tough since she had pretty much slathered the thing, and me, with KY. I finally got it back in when she came in, and I asked her to check that I did it right.

    "I think it's good, but I'm a bit worried that you can pull on the lip of it and break the suction," she says. And then "how about you put your finger up here and see what I mean." So I did. Yeah, I suppose it would be worrisome if my husband's penis had a joint in it that would pull on the lip of the diaphragm and shoot his sperm up in between the diaphragm and my vag walls. But. He. Doesn't.

    She was still worried it may be too small. So. She proceeded to take her fingers and "simulate thrusting" for about three minutes. Slow thrusting, fast thrusting, from this angle, from that angle…

    So I paid her for a hand job, pretty much.

    It was hella awkward, and after all that shoving and prodding my vag hurt for a full two days!!!

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