Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The rules of engagement

Don’t worry, I’m not engaged.
This post is much funnier, slightly less awkward and with more cringe than a marriage proposal.

As a celebration of International Women’s Day I got virtuous and booked myself in for a cervical smear.
Apparently noone told my doctor’s Locum the “rules of engagement”

It is quite simple... as with any other embarrassing situations (such as being at a urinal or a close space like an elevator), when doing an awkward procedure such as a cervical smear, or prostate exam there are rules.

Chit chat before, Chit chat after. Don’t chit chat at the time.
Don’t look me in the eye.
Don’t comment on what you see, my body is mine and your job is an honour.
Once it is over, we pretend it never happened.

I will fulfil my duties by arriving on time, with only my fluids inside, relax to make things easier, and not fart at the time.
As an added bonus I will try very hard not to sneeze or cough causing the speculum to shoot across the room.

Today it was not my lovely female GP who has known me since I was a wee girl.
Today it was (dum dum dum dum) the LOCUM.

The first insult... you asked me why I was there.

You talked to me during and kept popping up to make eye contact.
Not cool. Just let me sing songs in my head, deep breath, and pretend I’m somewhere else.

You didn’t warm ANYTHING, least of all the one thing that should have been warm.

You put the speculum in, and then wandered off to get your bits and pieces together.
Don’t stick ANYTHING in until you are ready (this goes for anything else in that area lads).

When you are finished even if you can see a GIANT cancer with a sign saying malignant and a “fuck you I’m stage 4” t shirt, you don’t say ANYTHING, you make polite chit chat and confirm you have the right contact number for when tests come through.

You DONT say “Hmm, that’s interesting, I’m going to take two swabs. We don’t call if it is ok, but are you happy with us giving results by phone?”

NO! No I’m fucking not ok.
What would be ok is not mentioning anything you don’t definitely know about, and if you do have to give (actual real) bad news, you do it in person, while I have a support person attending.


As I wrote this I realised that this could be off-putting to Women who are overdue for a smear, or men overdue for a prostate exam.
Please let me clarify.

If your doctor is an insensitive jerk – change doctors.
Don’t give up on your most important asset (health) because of a jerk – your health is more important than that.

Even if this swab is bad news, it won’t be that bad, because the cancer will be new since my smears are up to date. Thanks to the check up we will have time to fight it and it’s no big deal.
If it’s nothing I will be a happy chappy and really pissed off at this doc giving me unnecessary worry.

Go make an appointment now.
Then swish your hair, smile in the mirror and say these words.
“Because I’m worth it”.


  1. Hells yeah!

    Another note: if you've had no problems with smears in the past, and all of a sudden a new GP is telling you "your cervix is a bit odd" so "you'll probably get some bleeding" and then inflicts the only painful, uncomfortable, spotting-inducing smear test you've had in 10 years?

    Find another GP like I did, because you are worth it.

  2. Oh my god, that is LITERALLY what she said at one point.
    I was like "BLEEEEEEDING??? WHY?"
    panic stations!
    all chillaxed now. once I got my pants back on I remembered Im not a patient, I'm a person, and it's most likely nothing, and she is too stupid for me to fret about her "opinion" on my cervix.

  3. You know what? This reminded me that I need to go get a smear test, having cancelled the last appointment due to work commitments.

    I had one doctor who talked political theory with me as he did the test. I found that... disconcerting. Fortunately, at the practice I have signed up with here in NZ, the practice nurses, who are lovely, practical people, do the smear tests.

  4. You know, womanly things aside -- and I'm sure you are the same -- this is why I still go to the doctor I've been going to since I was 6 or 7, even though I live on the other side of the city now; he is, quite simply, nice to me.

  5. Funny. Unpleasant, but funny.

  6. My GP is so ace that I cough up $50 to go see her rather than the cheaper alternatives.

    She was also a semi-finalist in master chef.

  7. God, I am so overdue for a smear. OK. Booking an appointment as we speak. Because if it's good enough for you, QoT and Deborah, I am in.

  8. Booked. 2.15pm Friday. Oh goody.

  9. @Jeremy and Deborah- so true. A good, understanding GP is worth extra travel and dollars.
    @Andy, it always thrills me when YOU find me funny since your stuff makes my day!
    QOT, Megan and Deborah- you make the fact I made my humiliation public worth it. May your vag's be healthy. (the doc also confirmed my theory that in spite of my feminist leanings there is no sand up there!!)
    Mucho love to all of you who took the time to write a note. X

  10. Oops that was supposed to be @Jeremy and STEPH. sorry.

  11. I've forgotten when I had my last "spread n scrape" (as my dear mother likes to call 'em) but I have a wonderful doctor who gives me the friendly reminder over everything, so it should be cool.

    I remember I was so terrified getting my first one, it ended up being on my birthday for some ungodly reason. Yay *pitiful fist twirl*

  12. Well, that's done. And I was given a little pack of freebies: Aveena body wash, moisturising lotion, sun block, and Johnson's top-to-toe baby wash. Very nice. They also weighed me and got my height and waist circumference, but not a word was said about whether or not it was acceptable. They just wanted some baseline measures. Mind you, I am about a size 12, about 165 cm tall, so no one's ever going to comment on my weight anyway. If they had asked about my fitness then there might have been some issues...

    The nurse who did the test was great. Plus she answered some of the questions I had about Gardasil (?). Vaccinations are coming up at my daughter's school.

  13. What a hoot... and so true. Loved this blog


Feel welcome to post a comment on what you like or don't like.
Please use a name to make it easier to follow.
Remember; this is my space, if you want to shit on the lawn, that's fine, but don't feel hurt when I turn the hose on you.
If I feel that comments are attacking individuals I will choose not to post them.
Tough cookies.