Smear has occurred!
So I go in, and they ask if it’s okay if a student takes my history and does my exam, with instructor lurking in the background. That’s fine with me–the nurse practicioner I’m seeing now WAS that student when I first started going to this clinic, and frankly, I’ve had such awful pap smears at various points in the past that there’s not a lot more they can throw at my anatomy. (My sexual partners are still in the single digits, but in terms of pelvic exams, I am a grizzled veteran. Planned Parenthood clinics are a truly wonderful thing, but the one I went to in college employed some incredibly ham-fisted individuals. Including one who claimed to be a professional midwife. After five minutes with her, I was wondering if she worked on humans or cattle.)
So I go in, everything’s cool–my cholesterol is around 220, but the ratios of good and bad are quite good, so it’s actually improved,* my vision is perfect, my thyroid has not exploded and my blood glucose is a cool 80. I insist that they make a file note that I got a saltwater fish tank, in case I come down with palytoxin poisoning or something bizarre, so they have someplace to start their little House moment from.
The student takes everything down, is very nice, very conversational, and VERY young. I’ve mostly recovered from having medical staff the same age as I am, but getting the ones that are clearly six or ten years my junior merits a mental sigh. Then it’s time for the main event! Into the stirrups!
(I was complimented on my tie-dye socks, which I wore on the principle that this is the only object of clothing the staff will be in contact with, and they might as well get something fun to look at.)
"Right!" says the Nurse Practicioner, as the nervous student goes after my nether regions with the speculum, rather like a lion-tamer with a chair. Speculum is duly inserted. NP clears her throat.
"Oh! Um. You-may-feel-some-pressure!" (Little late for that, but hey, you don’t see me giving pelvic exams, I’m not gonna backseat drive.)
"Now," said the NP with unexpected enthusiasm, "this is a great cervix to work on! It’s right where you want it, it’s pink, there’s no discharge, so you want to go in right there–"
I gazed at the ceiling, trying to stifle a snicker. I have been complimented on various parts of my anatomy in the past, but generally the cervix is not among them (and really, I’m okay with that!)
"Oh…" said the instructor, "I guess that was weird to hear, huh?"
"Well, better that than "OH MY GOD, WHAT IS THAT THING KILL IT KILL IT WITH FIRE," I said philosophically, forgetting that key lesson that you never, ever make the person holding the swab laugh.
Despite nerves and giggles, the deed was done, and quite rapidly. "I know you’re a student, but that was really very quick," I told the student, who looked so startled, and then gratified, that I felt about a hundred years old.
Still, if there’s any aspect of life that NEEDS positive feedback…
In celebration of a clean bill of health, improved good cholesterol, and the fact that I don’t need to meet a speculum again for another year, I hit the local thrift store, and found a pair of gorgeous Dansko sandals, size 39, for three bucks. The only thing that could improve upon such a day would be a bluebird in the birdbath, and as luck would have it, there is one there right this minute, so life is good.
*Heredity has cursed me on this front–Dad’s levels were the sort that make hospital staff turn white–but the doctor would like to keep me off the statin drugs as long as possible, since once I go on, I can realistically expect to be on them for the rest of my life.