By Hester Prynne
Saying goodbye is never easy, but there are certain relationships that absolutely require pulling the plug. Anyone who is in close proximity to your business down-there is responsible to treat you with respect, class and a nonjudgmental attitude. Ladies, let me share a cautionary tale of when my gynecologist forced me to give her the boot.
I had just returned from a long bout of being abroad in Europe, which easily meant that I was overdue for any sort of medical check-up, including getting my hoohah examined. I scheduled my appointment without reservations because I know I have always been careful about using at least two methods of contraception when boning (pills and condoms).
My reason for being this cautious is two-fold: first, pills are awesome. They regulate my period, giving me peace of mind when Flo is due since she comes on the same day in the same hour every time she’s supposed to. They ensure my skin isn’t covered in spots, even if I forget to execute my nightly facial regime once in a while. They make my PMS bearable, so I am less of a risk to society when anticipating my menstrual cycle. They are just the tops. I am so sorry to those of you who are unable to take them – medicine better figure out an equally dope alternative for you soon. And to those of you who have reservations about taking oral contraceptives, the most common excuses I’ve heard are that it is messing too much with your own system and that it will make you infertile. Neither of these comments is true – read a biology book.
Secondly, I always (or, so long as I know the partner is clean, almost always) use condoms. Although it protects against STDs and STIs (unlike the Pill) extremely well when used correctly, my preference for this method lies in the fact that it is cleaner. I fully understand that it may “feel better” for the guy if you go dong-bag-less. However, from a girl’s perspective, the splooge doesn’t just absorb into our bodies as a cleaning mechanism. If you want to have jizz leaking out of your most sacred orifice for the following day, by all means go bareback. I personally don’t like ruining underwear I don’t need to, nor do I like the feeling of dripping out of my bajingo all day, so I use condoms in addition to the Pill.
Anyway! I am a careful sex-haver, which then meant I was not concerned about a routine pap smear. I waltzed into the clinic without a care in the world, wearing a summer maxi dress with a matching floppy hat and jean vest. The clinic’s receptionist complemented my outfit on the way to the examination room and I was soon placed, feet-in-stirrups, awaiting the gynecologist to stick me with her cold speculum. I think that if anything was foreshadowing the fact that this was going to be a difficult saga was the fact that I caught myself thinking, “This is too easy!” I had shown up, as you recall, in a maxi dress right after returning from a semester abroad. This was strategic since I had no clean underwear left, and I was completely commando underneath the skirt. How simple is that? Showing up to your pap smear and only having to lift up your dress. Too simple, that’s the answer.
Strike one against my gyno – She opened the door into my examination room and immediately proclaims, “OH! I’VE SEEN YOUR VAGINA BEFORE!” Great. This is even more awkward because I swear on Chanel I have never seen this woman in my life. Ok, whatever. She’s seen plenty of charts with plenty of names – honest mistake. We schmooze about how traveling is awesome and how I am in the throngs of my youth, able to seize any goal, blah, blah, blah. She has decent bedside manner, but she is pretty much just using this time to hand-warm the speculum – ugh.
Strike two – She initiates the pap smear and has the audacity to say what no trained medical health professional should. She is speculum-deep into my cervix, talking about how everything looks healthy and normal. Great, it’s nice to know my innards are pink, not black and rotten. I suspect I could’ve told her that. However, she does not stop there. While peering into my nether regions, she blurts into my business, “Well, honestly, child, you don’t have a thing to worry about. We’ll take some swabs, run the routine tests, but you won’t hear from us for a while!” Dun dun duuun. Famous last words, Ms. Vagina Doctor, famous last words.
Strike three – Skip to a week later, I had not thought twice about my gynecological visit. In rings a phone call from an unknown number. “Hello?” Oh, fabulous, it’s a nurse from my clinic. She wants to discuss my test results. Let me explain to you exactly what happens inside your chest cavity when a nurse calls you and wants to talk about the results of a vaginal swab. Your heart stops beating and every ounce of cold, clammy sweat shoots out of your chest and hands. Your ribs cave in on your guts. You stop breathing. “As it turns out, you have tested positive for chlamydia and the human papilloma virus, or HPV. Oh also, you have abnormal pap results so you’ll need a colposcopy.” Well, guys, I thought I had broken my panaynay. I was barren. I was diseased. I was dead. I said thank you and hung up promptly, while simultaneously collapsing on the couch. Then, my logical, normal, human brain kicked in. I had not gone without a condom since I was last tested and had been clean – there was no way I could have contracted anything vaginally. I hate receiving oral sex, so it couldn’t be that either (my discontent with being eaten out is a whole other issue, guys, I can talk about that on another occasion). I also knew I hadn’t messed around with giving oral sex either, so it couldn’t have been contracted orally. So how could these test results be correct?
To every girl’s horror (or, perhaps, delight), false positives occur. Further than that, mixed up test results from an incompetent gynecologist also occur. My situation involved the latter. I called back the next day and demanded to have a release of my records. I grabbed those, as well as the Rx that was prescribed for my alleged clap, and scheduled a second pap smear with another doctor at a separate clinic. I also scheduled a colposcopy with that doctor, just in case, and grabbed my meds. Even when you get adverse results from a test, don’t let that stop you from covering every single one of your bases. This is some tough love, but if you do that, you are being stupid. I attended this second pap and the following colposcopy (for those that don’t know, it’s essentially a closer look at your cervical cells and a potential biopsy). What did he say?
Not only did I not have chlamydia or HPV, my cells were completely normal. WTF. SERIOUSLY.
Girls, this indicates that my original gynecologist had not only delivered incorrect results but, after a decent amount of sleuthing on my end, she had mixed my results with another patients’. While I walk around thinking my bajingo is diseased and potentially cancerous, there is another girl walking around thinking she is fine and healthy when she is not. This is incredibly hazardous and unfair. Mind you, I am very forward and pushy about mistakes on serious matters, as we all should be, but you’ll never know until you’re forced into that position. I screamed into the phone to my original gyno about how she messed up royally and how now I have a potential immunity towards the actual medicine for chlamydia because of her mistake.
This, of course, is something that can be catalogued into “Vaginal Horror Stories” in your mind. However, this happens more often than you’d think. Further, it is incredibly normal for young, collegiate-aged women to receive abnormal pap results. This means that the accuracy of your doctor’s work is even more important than you may believe, in terms of understanding what’s going on “down there”.
The moral of the story here is, yes there were some laughable bits like when my gyno shouted into my sexual cavity. But also remember – cover your own ass because no one else will, hold everyone accountable for their own actions, and make sure that your results are accurate. It is a total run-around to ensure accurate results, but it is a thousand times better than thinking you are potentially developing cancerous cervical cells. And, in the event that you do carry an STD or STI, remember that the most common ones are curable and those that are not, will NEVER define who you are a person. Because we are all too fabulous to be defined by STIs, let alone incompetent gynecologists.