I had my annual physical this morning. Ever since my bout with cervical cancer and the resulting total laparoscopic hysterectomy (they took my cervix and uterus but left my ovaries), I have been loathe to let a medical professional touch my body. This extends beyond general practitioners and gynecologists to optometrists, dentists, and chiropractors. I've been avoiding all of them, because somewhere in the back of my head I have this feeling that they're all screwing with me.
I know. What a brilliant, if somewhat paranoid, way to go about maintaining my health after a personal experience with malignant tumours, except that it's not brilliant, and now I've been dealing with an out-of-place hip joint since January. My hip joint has nothing to do with this entry, though. It has to do with my annual physical, which I screwed up the courage to both schedule and actually attend for the good of all those people who would like to keep me around for a while.
My therapist has taught me how to ground myself out by guiding anxious energy down and out through the bottom of my feet, so while I spent ten minutes waiting for the doctor to come back — why do they move you from the waiting room to an exam room just to make you wait another ten minutes? — I concentrated on breathing into the bottom of my lungs and feeling the prickliness rising in the bottoms of my feet, which was good, because it stopped me from bolting, but when the doctor came to get me, all she saw was me slumped in a chair, mouth agape, with toes wiggling out of my sandals.
"Ahem." She cleared her throat.
"Oh! Hey. I wasn't having a seizure," I said. Smooth.
I was surprisingly calm throughout the boob manipulation, abdomen palpation, and whatnot. My new doctor has a gentle personality that manages to put me completely at ease. In fact, she put me so much at ease that a potentially very awkward — read: VERY AWKWARD — situation gave me a case of the giggles.
Before we move on, remember: this is a doctor that has never examined me before in a clinic in which I have never been fully examined, so she was not necessarily aware of my whole health history.
She did an okay job of lubing me up and inserting the COLD speculum into my vagina. First they tell you to relax, and then they jamb cold metal up there. Sadists. She cranked it open. She angled it up. She angled it down. I waited for a minute and noticed that she was really quiet down there. I couldn't feel any swabbing action going on, so I butted in, if you'll pardon my double entendre:
"Um, are you looking for a cervix?"
She looked up at me.
"'Cause that thing was removed two years ago," I said giggling. "Should I have mentioned my hysterectomy earlier?"
"Of course!" she said, rolling her eyes at herself.
I don't know if she thought I might have once been a guy or something, but she looked relieved when I told her what was up.
Word of advice: MENTION YOUR HYSTERECTOMY TO PROFESSIONALS WHO EXPECT TO FIND A CERVIX ON YOUR PERSON. They feel kind of ridiculous when their little easter egg hunt turns up nada. It totally breaks down their I'm-in-charge facade.
Also: DON'T GIGGLE WHEN THERE IS A SPECULUM CRANKED OPEN INSIDE YOU.
Later, I giggled while she was listening to my chest just to see if it would be really loud through her stethoscope. It turns out that it was. And that my doctor has really sensitive hearing. I'm seven.