In Want of a Colposcope
I had an appointment with a doctor on Tuesday. This appointment was but one stop in a series of cervix-probing experiences, so here is the brief timeline of what lead up to it:
for the first time in six years. I know that I should have had about six physicals in that time, but better late than never, right? Right. I urge everyone to go in and have a physical if you have not in the last twelve months, because
a month later in mid-October, when
, they were not what I was hoping for. Apparently, the tests showed that my cervix needs some work, so I was referred to a gynecologist for more tests and a colposcopy.
Today, I went to see that gynecologist.
I really thought that I was going to get biopsied and scraped and completely felt over on Tuesday morning, because my test results from my pap smear with my regular doctor came back saying that my cervical cells were highly abnormal. I had been eagerly awaiting some minor surgical operations for days. The gynecologist's name was
, for fuck's sake. Dr. Jabs is not a name that leaves you with serene feelings while you sit in the waiting room with three other women, envisioning your sensitive cervix under the instruments of someone who may or may not be jabby. With a Dr. Jabs on your agenda, you expect some show-stopping action.
After I had stripped from the waist down and waited under a paper sheet for far too long, the gynecologist came in and had me rest my heels in a pair of oven mitts (the stirrups actually sported floral-patterned oven mitts), plunged the most pinchy and over-sized speculum I have ever had the joy of accommodating inside me, swabbed my cervix, and told me to get dressed. That was it. No miniature knives, no vinegar wash, no cauterizing agents. Feeling a bit deflated after all the worry and apocalyptic dreamscapes I had conjured up over the preceding days, I put my pants back on. She handed me a couple of pamphlets on colposcopy and the human papilloma virus (HPV) and ushered me out to the front desk with the assurance that my own colposcopy would be happening in February. FEBRUARY. I had a physical in September, results in October, a gynecological appointment in November, and now nothing else is going to happen until February.
I think my cervix needs another advocate, because I am obviously falling down on the job.
Before heading home, I stopped off at a medical lab and made the following deposit, as requested by Dr. Jabs:
Yes, I made that specimen. If that bottle came with a magnet, I could have hung it on our refrigerator. I am quite proud of the fact that I managed to aim straight and true and delivered twice as much as they needed even though I had thoughtlessly emptied my bladder not fifteen minutes before. (Were you aware that there is
? I didn't think so.)
After leaving my sample, I didn't know what to do with myself. With what do you follow up a disappointing visit with your gynecologist? As I was feeling dazed and spent, I chose to take a brief tour through the nearest mall, which turned out to be the most depressing mall I had ever been inside. Half of the outlets in the food court were empty but for signs advertising their availability for lease. Several clumps of the over seventy crowd, padded with coats they'd neglected to remove, stooped over paper cups filled with coffee from the souvlaki counter. Not one, not two, but three stores bore names like Liquidation World and Buck-or-Two, their merchandise buried in a cacophony of brightly printed cardboard and shiny plastic packaging.
It felt like the inside of an old sneaker abandoned in an intersection by someone too drunk to feel ownership. I decided to that it was in my best interests to avoid the souvlaki counter and make a run for it before I inhaled to much of the building's air of resignation, and I boarded the next bus that would take me away. I needed to shuffle off the mall's overwhelming weight of palpable lassitude.
At least on the bus there were windows to look through and winter to watch.
I never really wanted this body I inhabit. Before I even went to kindergarten, I felt it wasn't properly mine, and so this thing with having an errant cervix is bothersome. I would prefer it if it would simply skulk away, but if that were possible, my emotional neglect would have driven it out long ago.
Coming to terms with the fact that I am here and that this is indeed my body is numbing rather than enlivening. Corporeality is a nasty truth. It fucks shit up. I preferred a body that I could drag along like a sack of potatoes, but now we're stapled together. There's no more floating through life under a lead balloon. I'm in it for good.
The bus took a long, circuitous route through once-suburbs, areas that have been surrounded and resurrounded like the interior of an onion by newer suburbs with larger houses and smaller yards and salmon stucco exteriors. About half-way along its route, the bus turned down a street that was lined on one side with industrial-looking buildings and on the other by the open prairie, its snowy distances defined only by the pencil-thin intrusions of a metal fence and lampposts meting out the rhythm of the cars.
We landed downtown twenty minutes later, and I decided that if I had to be connected to this meat machine, I would treat it to an open-faced steak sandwich. I even ate the pallid side vegetables and the iceberg lettuce with grated carrots. I read In Touch magazine and learned all the picayune details of celebrity weddings and weight dilemmas. The long wait for February's colposcopy became more manageable with the application of comfort food and thought-relieving literature, and while I browsed through pictures of famous hair, I worked out an equitable living arrangement with my cervix that I think we can both handle. It has promised to hover below my radar for the next few months, and I, in turn, have promised not to commit any grievous harm against it before it is colposcoped. After the colposcopy, though, it's open season on the sick little fucker.
I would like to extend special thanks to those promoting the Schmutzie vote: