Monday, March 2, 2009

A Wino at the Gyno

The female wellness appointment is perhaps one of my least favorite times of the year, second only to Valentine’s Day and Halloweens where my thighs are too large to wear sexy costumes. Somehow I was hoping that the appointment would be less miserable now that I’m 30, but it turns out even my gynecologist wanted to weigh in on my sordid lifestyle.

The whole appointment started with the usual stack of stupid forms to be filled out (even though they have a whole folder filled with my forms, filled out exactly the same for the past 10 years). I sat on a paisley couch next to a woman who chatted loudly on her cell phone as she worked with someone on the other end of the line to provide as much detail on her forms as she possibly could. I know this because I heard most of the details parroted back as she scribbled them down. Many of the words she was using suggested to me that the call should have been made in a more private place – but at the gynecologist I guess women just feel that “it’s all out on the table” anyway, so who cares about editing our symptoms whilst we speak about them in front of complete strangers.

Complimenting the blatant absence of etiquette in the waiting room is an interior design treatment that is screaming for a makeover. I’m not sure who signed off on the look and feel, but they clearly had a thing for large fruit, Elizabethan fashion and windmills. I can see how fruit might relate to a woman’s womb, and lacey corsets are feminine, but what does a windmill have to do with my reproductive system? To be honest, the first thing I think of when I see a windmill is Don Quixote. There is something disturbing when you are single, 30, and sitting in the gynecologist’s office with “The Impossible Dream” stuck in your head.

Back on the paisley couch, I have burned through three forms by dragging my pen through a series of boxes indicating my answer was “No” to all of the questions. I know from jiggering with these boxes in the past, that nobody even reads them because I’ve provided some information in these areas on things I felt were worthy of additional explanation and the doctor didn’t inquire about any of them.

The area that I always seem to be questioned about is my alcohol consumption. I always mark the same thing on my forms, which is the truth: I have two or three glasses of wine each day. My night sweats, irregular heart rhythms, anxiety disorders and psychic big toe yield zero follow-up questions – but the fact that I can drink a small bottle of wine on my own on a Wednesday evening seems to be a major concern.

Would you say that you are consuming a lot of alcohol?” the doctor asks me.

I would say that I’m consuming two to three glasses per day.” I repeat my answer from the form.

And is this fairly normal for you?” he probes.

Yes. It happens daily.” Redundant. Tick, tock, tick, tock. I am here on my lunch hour, you know.

This response usually isn’t enough and I feel the need to augment my answer with some background information. I can tell from the curious nature of the doctor’s voice that he expects to hear something about how I used to drink more than three glasses of wine per day until I tired of blacking out every night, so I scaled it back to just two. Instead I provide a very uninteresting rationale.

I usually have one while I’m preparing dinner. Since dicing up vegetables takes so long and I like to prep my own meals rather than microwave them, this can easily last through the first glass of wine. Glass number two is consumed with dinner. I usually make something very good that lends itself to a glass of wine. After dinner I continue my evening with an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, or perhaps some American Idol. Both of which merit the consumption of a third glass of wine. Then I go to bed and read, that is, if the words haven’t begun to blur on the page.”

The conversation ends there and moves on to more pressing issues like my relationship status.

This is a personal favorite of mine these days, and it’s especially fun to talk about with my doctor since I’ve gone from being single, to engaged, to spinster all while coming to the same guy for my annual visits.
I cringe when the nurse smiles at me and simply asks, “marital status?” Why does the status have to default to “marital”? What does being married or not have to do with the well-being of my female organs? I wish the doctor would just cut to the chase and ask me something like, “Are your ovaries smiling?“ Then I could respond with, “No, they are not smiling today. They are hoping for a suitable candidate to come along and provide them with the means to create a human inside so I can carry on with the business of becoming a PODS unit for a nuclear family.”

Drawing the conclusion that I will remain sexually active in my newly single state, I feel further degraded when the doctor goes into the same spiels about safe sex that I heard when I was 25. As if I’m trolling MySpace looking for a flavor of the week and need to be reminded of the consequences.

They say “all is well that ends well,” and my annual appointments usually do, save for the lectures I get about doing regular self-breast examinations. My visits always end with the gifting of “breast exam” chotchkies. Usually it’s a plastic card that hangs on a showerhead like a do-not-disturb sign, showing the correct way to move one’s fingers about the breast to find any abnormalities. I leave the office with good intentions to do these kinds of activities faithfully each month, but the card has yet to see the inside of my shower. Perhaps if this information could make it onto the label of a wine bottle I could work it into my schedule.

1 comment:

The Singlutionary said...

Since I've pretty much quit having random sex, I have also quit going to the gyno ever year. I've decided that every two years or whenever have insurance again is good enough.

But I'm offended that every time I go I get asked about who I am humping and that they try and force the HPV Vaccine down my throat.

I wonder if married people get probed as much as the rest of us? 'Cause being married doesn't guarantee that you're monogamous. I wonder if they say "Ok. You're married? Are you and your spouse monogamous? You're not? Would you like the HPV vaccine?"

If that is the way it plays out for married ladies, I won't complain anymore.