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If you are anything like me, I tend to cringe each time I receive my reminder letter from my GP to have my two yearly ‘healthy woman check-up’. I initially think that they have made a mistake because wasn’t it last year that I had the check-up? So I phone my GP and she says “no it was definitely two years since your last pap smear! My heart sinks and I think to myself “I’m far too busy to have it done this week or the one after”. It’s just the same as going to the Dentist or having a Colonoscopy – It’s about as inviting as visiting your mother-in-law!
So after I’ve used every excuse in the book for not making the appointment, I begrudgingly go along for my check-up. I fill out the extremely long and invasive questionnaire which takes about 10 minutes. The questions I have to answer would make your hair curl! Then eventually after reading the October 2008 edition of the New Idea, or some other out-of-date trashy magazine, my GP calls me into her room.
My GP is a lovely lady and we always chat very comfortably (even when she has that spreader type instrument inserted in my ‘pink taco!) It is all over within minutes and I think “that wasn’t all that bad”. When she moves onto the breast exam it is actually quite nice as she kneads and prods my breast tissue. You can just close your eyes and pretend you are in a day spa having a lovely massage!
My experiences with healthy woman check-ups have been many and varied. I went to a new female GP years ago who mid taking the pap smear sample proclaimed, “you have a really tiny cervix”. I didn’t know whether that was a compliment or not but I later found out that that particular GP was a lesbian and I thought she may have been hitting on me!
My next experience was with another female GP who loves to have med students attend her consultations. So after signing the appropriate form to give approval for the med student to sit in on my consultation I was confronted by two sets of eyes looking up my ‘pink taco’ and remarking on my anatomy as if I wasn’t present. If that wasn’t enough she then got the student to feel my boobs and demonstrated how to knead them (like they were playdough or something!)
Last time I had the dreaded check-up I went to a nurse who is specifically trained in performing pap smears. (What a job!) Can you imagine if someone asks you what you do for a living and you say “I perform pap smears”. How would you respond to that? Would you say “that’s a very interesting job” or “Gosh, fancy looking up women’s vaginas all day”!
She put me through the ‘Spanish Inquisition’ for 5 minutes with questions like “how many sexual partners have you had in the past year”? and “are you are a sex worker”? To which I very primly reply that “I am happily married to one man and no, I am not a prostitute”. How dare she!
To lighten the mood the nurse then proceeded to tell me how she was practising taking a pap smear sample from her own ‘pink taco’ and her husband happened to walk into the bedroom and shouted “for God’s sake woman, what are you doing”? It did paint a very disturbing picture in my brain!
My friends and I often joke to my daughter, who is a first year doctor, that we are all going to queue up at her practice and have our pap smears done. Naturally she is absolutely mortified. To be candid, I don’t think I would feel comfortable being in that position with my daughter as it is bad enough baring your privates to a total stranger!
You would think that after childbirth and other various gynaecological procedures that we women would be comfortable just having a little pap smear. I guess it’s a generational thing of being bought up to be modest. I can assure you all modesty goes out the window once you have experienced childbirth!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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