So today I had my sixth month oncology check-up involving a pap smear and various episodes of probing and swabbing best left to the imagination. Most women go through a smaller version of this (one that doesn't involve the dr. sticking his hands so far up inside he triggers your gag reflex) once a year. In the last three years, I've had this gem of an experience 12 times.
There is nothing that can give you back your dignity during this examination but I have a few suggestions that might improve my overall outlook (yanno, from "touch me one more time and they won't be able to identify you with dental records" to a more moderate "I'd like to hurt you but in the interest of getting out of here faster, I'll refrain.")
1. Stock magazines in the examination room that I would actually enjoy reading. Today my choices were Bassmaster and some local magazine whose featured article bore the fascinating title "Menswear Lightens Up". Yeah, like I care. And honestly, any woman facing the long metal speculum used in the pap smear really doesn't want to study up on fishing poles.
2. Buy paper gowns that actually cover my body. I get that I have to strip from the waist down. It's necessary, I know. What I don't appreciate is having to choose which side of me to cover as I sit waiting on the examination table. One of these days, I'll get fed up enough to just chuck the whole thing and then you'll be sorry. Very sorry.
3. Eschew the useless small talk. Don't put my feet up in the stirrups, exposing me to breezes where breezes shouldn't be, and then ask me about my day. I guarantee you won't like my answer.
4. Warm up the speculum. I don't need it hot. I really don't even need it warm. Room temperature would do. Anything but the current "reminds me of a trip to the Arctic" temperature you currently use. Nobody likes to be impaled with a popsicle. Don't believe me? Bend over and I'll demonstrate.
5. When I get understandably irritated at the whole experience, do not frown at me and ask me about my hormone level. I'm lying, half naked, nowhere near covered by a gown of less quality than my bargain brand paper towels, with eight inches of frozen metal stuck inside me. I'm not at my best. Any violent tendancies on my part at this point fall neatly under the category of "justifiable homicide".
This has been a public service announcement. (And can I get an "Amen" from the women reading this!)