Monday, October 8, 2007

I'll Just Pretend I'm Not Here

Every year one of our local TV stations sponsors a Health Fair in my town, a two week statewide event. It offers free and low-cost exams to anyone 18 and older. I go every year because we only carry what I call catastrophic insurance, with deductibles so high that I never go to a medical doctor for routine maintenance since the entire fee would come out of my pocket. So while I'm waiting to get my blood drawn, the gal next to me mentions that she picked this site because they are offering pap smears. They are? That is new to my city's health fair this year...maybe I should get one. I cannot remember the year I last had one...must have been 10 years ago or so. So as soon as the vampire lady, strike that, the phlebotomist, draws my blood, I go see about the breast exam and pap smear. Turns out it's free. Okay, I'll get one. Well, the fair is open for another 90 minutes and they already have all the alotted time slots filled, but I am able to get my name on a waiting list in case some people decide not to wait around. I go have a couple other exams, checking back intermittently. Five minutes before the closing of the health fair, the sign-up lady says that the three or four of us left will be seen before the hospital crew comes to take down the tables and load them up. I am the next to the last person. By now, all the other stations are cleaning up and the firemen that sit on call in the large room where all the blood is drawn (in case anyone faints from the sight of their own blood I guess) are taking pictures of the volunteer phlebotomists.

Oh, and did I mention that the site for the health fair this day is a church, ... but not my church.

The breast exam/pap smear is held in what must be the kindergarten Sunday school room. How I know this is because there is a wipe-off board low on the wall where kids have signed their name when they've lost their first tooth. There is a privacy screen off to a side of the room for changing and the exam table is almost directly in front of the doorway. Great position. Right outside the room there is a large portable chalkboard that blocks the view in case the door is opened by an idiot during an exam. So I undress. I cannot believe I am stripping naked in a kid's Sunday school room, for crying out loud. When I woke up this morning this was not in The Plan. I put on my paper vest (open at the front), wrap the paper sheet around my lower half and climb up on the exam table. The midwife does breast the exam and starts the pap smear exam.
And she can't find my c-e-r-v-i-x! How long have you been doing this lady? What do you mean you can't find my c-e-r-v-i-x? It's hiding she says. Yes, she really said that. That's probably because we are in a CHURCH, in a little kid's Sunday school room, for heavens sake. It knows this is like a sin or something. I feel like God and all the saints are watching. This goes on for several minutes and she keeps's an equipment problem she says ( the cheap little disposable clear plastic thingies they shove inside you keeps slipping). So she has her assistant elevate my one thigh a little higher by putting her arm underneath and supporting the weight. "Just relax, hon, I'm strong enough to hold the weight of your leg." Relax? Are you kidding..this is the weirdest pap smear I have ever had in my life. How can I relax? This maneuver doesn't work and she still can't find the dang c-e-r-v-i-x. I am thinking at this rate I'm still going to be naked on this table when the little kids come marching in here on Sunday morning, so I ask, "Should I maybe elevate my other leg?" "Yes, go ahead", she answers. So I stick my other leg up and now both feet are aimed at the ceiling, like week old roadkill. And then ...the unthinkable happens...
A man just opens the door and starts to walk in. HEY! WE ARE TRYING TO HAVE A GYNO-CO-LOGICAL EXAM HERE, MISTER. DO YOU MIND? Apparently, the clean up crew has not been notified that this room is still being used. At least I do not hear anything like "My eyes! My eyes!" I never actually saw the guy, which is a good thing, because if I had, I would have been too embarrased to walk out of the room, knowing which guy saw me bare-butt naked, and maybe recognizing each other. I can only hope it wasn't the fireman photographer.
Anyhow, the man is shoo-ed out and the mid-wife finds the missing c-e-r-v-i-x and finally completes the exam. And I live to tell about it. When the DH gets home he asks me how it went at the health fair. And when I tell him, he shakes his head, saying "I am so embarrassed, I am so embarrassed, I am never going to the health fair again." And I'm saying, "what are you talking about, YOU'LL never have to get a pap smear." Men!

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