08 May 2012

What I did from 3-5pm on Monday

The worst thing about being broke and unable to afford health insurance is missing out on routine, preventative exams. It has been a few years since my last annual well-woman visit and that sort of thing freaks me out. Of the fifteen or sixteen annual check ups I've had, only one test result has been abnormal. I was 14 and had been sent to see a gynecologist by a hematologist (long story), I was not yet sexually active, my results came back with precancerous cells, I had cryosurgery and I've never had an abnormal test result since.

But the last few months I have been thinking about how important it is to get regular exams and I mentioned this to a friend who recently visited the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, had a great experience and she encouraged me to go. Their services are offered on a sliding scale based on income. The quality of treatment I received was better than most of the insurance-covered experiences I've had. The wait time was virtually non-existent, even in the exam room, they were patient and thorough, explained everything clearly, gave me options and I would highly recommend them to any woman in need of her annual exam.

So I was very excited to get a pelvic exam and Pap Smear. I never thought I'd say that because that whole experience is uncomfortable - unless you like laying on a table, spread eagle with your feet in stir-ups while someone cranks open your vag, peers in there with a light, does several uncomfortable scrapings (to be sent away and microscopically examined) and lastly pokes around in there with his or her fingers for good measure.

It's awkward.

Somehow I managed to feel more awkward after that whole scene went down. 

I thought that it'd be a good idea to get the STD screenings, too. The guy didn't tell me not to, but he said that based on my consultation and exam I didn't really need every single test available. I expressed my concerns and reasoning for why I'd rather be safe than sorry and I thought I did a great job of convincing him that I should be tested for everything, man.

Then he side-eyed me for a second, gave me a puzzled look and said, "But you can't give yourself an STD." I returned his puzzled look with a puzzled look of my own. He went on to explain, "Based on your sexual history.... I mean, I understand that you had A sexual partner - a while ago - and it's never a bad idea to get a routine screening, but ummm... you can't get an STD from yourself, even if you use a toy."

Point taken. 

I brought my own cheese into the gas station.


Some dude and I walked in at the same time and because there wasn't a wait and they had the registration, exam and payment systems down to a science, The Dude and I ended up on the exact same schedule. We each got our paperwork, filled it out and turned it in. We were called in for our consultation and exam. We ended up back in the waiting room together and then called back for our exam results. And then we ended up leaving at the exact same time. As we're walking toward the door I said to him, "It seems like we're in a race." He replied, "It looks like we're tied."

I don't know what came over me because I am in no way shape or form competitive; I immediately give up if I find myself in a competitive situation.  But I took off running for the door, opened it and exclaimed "HA! I BEAT YOU!"

We laughed about it for a minute and then he says, "I've never done this at an STD clinic before......."
[I'm thinking: I thought this was a PAP SMEAR clinic!?] 
He finished, "........but would you like to exchange eMail addresses?"

So, yeah.... that's what I did from 3 - 5pm on Monday.

Listening to: The Gories Radio on Last.fm


  1. Hi, I just came across your blog - smear tests are horrific at the best of times but very funny post and go you on email swapping.

  2. I wanted to be a gynaecologist at one point in my life.... Till I saw Grim Prairie Tales. :~)



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