This blog is clearly written for the female persuasion-WARNING: this material is graphic and unsuitable for children under the age of 35.
Ok. Every woman on planet earth knows this to be true: if we find a good gynecologist, we hold on to him/her like grim death. And so it was, when the receptionist told me that Dr. Burrows was no longer with my family practice, I flinched. I have a history of cervical cancer and I can’t put off the annual pap smear. We didn’t have insurance until May, so I was long overdue when I booked the new nurse practitioner. Actually, in all honesty I became unhinged. Let me tell you a little story about my experience with new gynecologists.
Two years ago, I had a lymph node the size of an orange, and that is no exaggeration. The brainiacs at my doctor’s office were stumped. I also suffered from fevers, lethargy, pain in every crevice of my body, and migraines. My husband and I showed up the day after Christmas, I in my tattered white robe and bunny slippers, dripping sweat and wincing in pain, and Dwain in his usual hiking boots and camo. We meant business. I had been suffering for three months, and at first? The doctor wouldn’t even look at the lump on my groin. He didn’t even ask me to take off my pants-“Oh, you probably overstretched your groin muscle…….” Ten visits later, we were on a mission with a capital M.
“Michele, because of your mother’s history of ovarian cancer, we are going to send you for an ultrasound.” They had to give me a shot of toradol in my butt to have this procedure done, I was that far gone. Two days later I received a phone call from Dr. Burrows: “We are alarmed at the findings, and the other doctors and I agree, we are sending you for a uterine biopsy.”
Friends, there is also a history of hypochondria in my family. My faith has taken care of that, but back then? That news was about as welcome as a frontal lobotomy.
“Who, who are you sending me to?” my voice quivering, I had to sit down.
“Dr. Brown’s wife is a gynecologist, would you like to see her?” Having had just about enough of the poking and prodding, I agreed. I showed up at her office twenty minutes late, as the directions were ridiculous, and even my VZ Navigator took me to the wrong place, twice.
As I entered the office, I saw the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my 50 plus years. She was breathtaking…..perfect everything-and her portrait hung on every inch of those office walls, leaving me a bit unnerved, and a tiny bit jealous. (Ok, I hated her.)
“You are late, we don’t do late here. Would you like to reschedule?” Mrs. Dr. Brown spit out.
Maybe you don’t do late, sweetheart, but I don’t do bitch. I went home and talked to my husband. I rescheduled for the next week, only this time, Dwain was coming with me. We arrived early that morning, and the smiling receptionist took me back to a room at the very back of the building. In hindsight I believe this room was chosen so the patient’s screams were not heard in the waiting room.
Enter Dr. Butcher, er, Brown……..stage right.
All I could manage to say was, “Is this going to hurt?” She proceeded to insert the speculum, and responded, “Only if you have endometrioses.” No lidocaine, no general anesthesia, not even a hesitation, and I am screaming like a banshee, so loudly that my husband heard me in the lobby.
“Hmm. Looks like you have endometrioses,” she smiled that condescending, I have all the power here smile, and I dry heaved in protest. My God that was the worst experience of my life (ok, maybe not the worst) and I told anyone and everyone who would stand still enough to listen. Bitch. Sadist. Gynecologist.
I ended up barging into my family practice a week later, but this time armed with information. I told them to put me on doxycycline for 30 days, as I had diagnosed myself with Lyme, and I think they knew enough not to argue with the sweaty Medusa standing in their office. So, that is how that story ended.
Yesterday? I was not surprised, nor did I blink an eye when, after ten full minutes of provoking my uterus, the nurse practitioner, peaking through my legs, said, and I quote:
“I can’t find your cervix.”