I turned 45 in October. Since then, I’ve been trying to take better care of myself. The way I see it, I’m about halfway through my life. I do plan on living until I’m 90. So I have a good 45 more years to go.
I wanted to make sure I was still in good health though. I quit going to the doctor about 10 years ago. Every time I would go to the doctor, I would see this Physician’s Assistant. She was about 4’9″ and weighed about 300lbs. She was not even close to the picture of health, but a few days after I would see her, I would get this letter in the mail from the doctor’s office about obesity. I don’t know if they just sent those out to everyone who fell into the “obese” category, but at the time, I had lost about 20 pounds which she didn’t even bother to acknowledge and THEN I got the letter calling me obese. I took offense and decided I didn’t need to go see the doctor any more.
Fast forward ten years, I started working out again. The last time I worked out consistently, I was getting paid to do it at a gym. I would leave the gym and eat like shit. So I did lose some weight, but I was still “obese” according to the doctor and I wasn’t healthy. I had chronic migraines and a general feeling of unwell most of the time.
I figured since I’m halfway through my life now, I should go to the doctor and make sure things are in order. I don’t necessarily want to outlive my children, but when I die, I want them to all be in their seventies and just throw up their hands and say, “Finally!”
So I went for my first appointment. I went to the local University Hospital. So the doctors are only there for a year before they move on to their own careers somewhere else. The doctor that was assigned to me is super young and very nice. She ordered all the bloodwork and then a few extras that I requested. Then she told me that I would need to come back for a pap smear, a mammogram and eventually a colonoscopy.
I told her she was moving a little too fast since we just met, but I agreed to make an appointment to come back for the other stuff.
A week later, I had to go back for the pap smear.
I hate the word pap smear. The word “smear” itself kind of makes me cringe the way the word moist makes others cringe. Even when they say a “smear” of cream cheese on a bagel. That smear also reminds me of “pap smear” which is probably why I will never use the word bagel and smear in the same sentence. But either way, I found myself sitting half naked on a cold plastic covered table with a paper blanket over me waiting to be smeared by this doctor child.
The moments between the nurse saying “take your clothes off and cover up with this” and the moment before the doctor comes in are very anxiety causing for me. I always have all these concerns before the doctor comes in. Did I shave my legs? Did I shave my armpits? Is she going to give me a breast exam? Did I shave enough hair off my vagina or is she going to think I have a 70’s bush like that time I tried to be a stripper? Has it been too long since I showered? What if my vagina is sweaty? Did I have asparagus for dinner last night?
It is all so very stressful.
So there I am sitting on the table waiting and when she comes in, I start nervously chattering. “Waiting here naked makes me feel like I’m waiting to audition for a porn that I don’t want to be in but I just moved to L.A. and I have rent to pay.”
I think it’s funny. She’s not amused.
“Sorry.” I say. “Bad joke. Oh by the way, my pelvis is tilted.”
“Your pelvis is tinted?” she repeats.
“Yes.” I laugh. “I tinted it before I came in… just for you.” Why can’t I stop talking?
“Which way?” she asks.
I don’t know. All I know is that it takes a little extra effort to get the tools where they need to go. After I tell her that, I lay back and let her get to work. She does the exam very quickly.
I guess I would have wanted to get out of there too. But I couldn’t let her go so fast, because I needed my blood results from the week before. I needed to know if I was dying or if my cholesterol was high.
So she looked on the computer and told me everything was fine.
I’m still sitting there with a paper tablecloth on my lap that I have poked a hole in while resting my elbows on my thighs.
It was literally the longest five minutes of my life.
You would think at 45 after 3 kids a pretty exciting sex life, I’d be used to all the gynecologist stuff. Nope. Still not. I’d rather have a one night stand with a whole football team than sit on that table with the paper covers.
Talk about irrational fears.
I wonder if people who hate the dentist feel this way?
I’m still waiting on the results of that test and the mammogram isn’t for a few more months so I guess by summer I will know if I am going to live to 90 or not.