Thursday, December 6, 2007

A size 2 is fat?????

When are we going to catch a break? Women are so paranoid and anxiety-filled because of these stupid unrealistic expectations.

Jennifer Love Hewitt was photographed in a bikini - A SIZE 2 BIKINI - and people all over the Internet were calling her fat. See this article in Newsweek: http://www.newsweek.com/id/73612

Well, you know what, Jennifer? You look GREAT! And don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. I would love to be a size 2, but given the amount of self-control I have shown around the holiday food gifts that have been sent to our office (oh, those giant caramel apples with all that gooey candy and gunk stuck all over it so that you can barely pick them up and they are so unmanageable to eat, but you don't care because they are heaven on earth), I'm doomed.

Fortunately, she stuck up for herself on her website: http://www.safesearching.com/jenniferlovehewitt/news.html

Come on, people. Woman are more than what they look like. Let's quit putting so much emphasis on looks and more emphasis on what we are inside.

Why do you love your family and your friends? Because they look good? No. Because of the kind of people they are. Let's focus on what's important.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Psycho at the Gyno - Part 5

This is part five of a series on the joys of visiting the gynecologist. (Oh, you know you love it so. Yuck!) You may want to go back and read the other parts to catch up.

But, be forewarned: If you're at work, you may laugh really hysterically and get in trouble. So get ready to cover it up with a fake cough. Just say, "I think I've got the West Nile," and people will run for the hills."

So here we go...

I figure it’s best to avoid the breast cross section. Too far away. I decide to check out a poster closer to the table. “The Female Reproductive System.”

Did you ever notice that your reproductive system looks like a ram with the fallopian tubes being the big curly horns? I start to read the poster and realize I don’t know the name of all my parts.
Well, I guess I already knew that I was ignorant about female anatomy. About a year ago, my daughter asked me, “Do girls have a wiener?” My first thought was to say, “At every baseball game they do.” But I knew what she meant.

I decided to use this moment as an opportunity to throw open the doors barring communication and discuss the wonders of the female reproductive system. But then I realized that I didn't know all my parts or exactly how they fit together.

Instead, I said, “No. We have a vagina. And don’t say wiener again or it’ll be a timeout for you, missy!” Looking at my daughter’s confused expression, I heard a vague “Thunk,” and realized that the doors of communication had just slammed shut.

And I think I heard them lock.

This poster is a chance to redeem myself. If I study the chart, I can use my new-found knowledge to enlighten my daughter.

Nah, that’s boring, I think and look around for something more scintillating.

What are those nasty gross-out pictures at the bottom? “Diseases of the Female Reproductive System.”

Great! Now everything hurts. I think my ovaries hurt. And my uterus, wherever it is. And all those other things I can’t name, too.

That’s it. No more educational health knowledge for me. Ignorance is bliss, or at least ignorance is a lack of psychologically induced pain.

I sit there daydreaming a few minutes until I start noticing that my breasts are sagging. You see, I have large breasts. Some women might think that having a large bosom is like hitting the sexuality jackpot. I’ll admit that boys were mesmerized by my breasts when I was younger, and I was probably the envy of some girls. But, ogling men just don’t compensate for the negatives.

Large breasts weigh a lot. Now that I’m older and things are beginning to sag, if I lay on my back without a bra, I feel like someone is trying to tear my chest apart for open heart surgery. Plus, the place where my boobs and chest overlap is a big sweaty mess.

Thinking of sweaty messes reminds me of my butt, and I remember the torn piece of crinkly paper underneath. But, I figure, not to worry! The tear is hidden, just like my underwear.

While glancing down watching my exposed skin turn different shades of blue and purple, I notice the vinyl floor has a multi-colored speckled pattern. Come to think of it, all doctors’ offices have a similarly patterned floor. Huhn. They must get a bulk discount.

But then it hits me: They pick this pattern because it hides stuff that falls on the floor. Then I think of the kind of stuff they’d need to hide in this office, like blood and tissue and discharge and other bodily fluids. Ewwww! I just walked barefoot on that. Why didn't I remember my socks?

Then I wait. And wait. And wait. 20 minutes. 30 minutes. 40 minutes.

It takes so long I wonder why I ever worried about them walking in while I was getting dressed. More likely they’ll walk in the moment I die of old age. Just in time to cover me up with a sheet.

No, wait. Ain't no sheets in this joint. I guess they’d have to try and cover me with the blankette. Then, frustrated by its inadequate size, they’d tug to see if it was fully expanded, rip it and then try to glue it back together with their saliva. Hah! Then I’d have the last laugh.

I guess it would be more of a death gurgle. But still.

(To download the series or to sign up for future installments, visit: http://shelldgirl.googlepages.com/home.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Now Seriously

While I laugh at the horror that is the gynecologist's office, I'm glad that the doctor has never told me I've had anything too horrible. I saw an article on MSNBC today that talked about a woman's struggle with breast cancer.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21209744/

Not only was the illness horrible (and think of the embarrassing exams and inadequate gowns she's had to contend with!!!!), but it's practically bankrupted her.

I can relate. My husband has been sick with degenerative disc disease for over 11 years. Even with health insurance, our portion of the bills has been monumental. And, now that he's disabled and not working, I've had to switch the family to my insurance. I pay $520 a month to keep my family insured. Add to that co-pays for prescriptions, doctors visits, surgeries and procedures, and we pay about a $1,000 a month on medical expenses.

What are we going to do? I mean all of us? It's not funny!

Psycho at the Gyno - Part 4

In an earlier episode (September 10), I sat mostly naked and freezing in the gynecologists office. And, we continue...

Now how to entertain myself? I glance around the room taking in the bland, neutral d├ęcor and spy a Cosmo on the counter. Thank goodness! I’ve been needing a new do, wondering what’s hot and what’s not, and I have not yet learned how to become a sex goddess and make him beg in five easy steps.

I go to get up and find that the crinkly paper has adhered itself to my butt, and my blankette is stuck to my legs, and consider whether the Cosmo is worth redoing all of that. No, but there must be a way.

I look at the tools at hand. The crinkly paper under my butt, my gownie, and my blankette are all too flimsy to be worth anything, as I’ve already found out. But I do have the rolling tray with the Instruments on it. The Cosmo is on the edge of the counter, so maybe if I push the rolling tray hard enough into the counter, the Cosmo will fall. Then, I can wedge the magazine under the wheel, pressing down on the tray as I pull it toward me, and reach down to pick it up. Sounds doable.

I grab the tray and line it up at a 45 degree angle to the magazine. And whoosh! I push it away with what I hope is sufficient inertia to knock the magazine down without overturning the tray.

And find that non-physics majors should not attempt feats that require such calculations. Instead of falling forward, the Cosmo falls backward into the damp sink, and the collision is forceful enough to send some of The Instruments in with it and make a big crash at the same time.

The opening of the door timer just got reset and it’s only giving me a few seconds. I spring into action, taking a large chunk of the crinkly paper underneath my butt with me.

One of The Instruments was in a paper wrapper, and it’s now damp from the sink. But given that my poor person doctor’s nurse didn’t get out The Instruments until I was in the room, I know where they are. I race to the drawer, pull one out, replace it and the plastic instruments on the table, and throw the wet one away. Panicking, I toss the wet Cosmo in the cabinet under the counter, slam the door shut, and in a ballet-like move take one running leap onto the step at the bottom of the table landing my hiney on top with an unceremonious, “Thwump!” just as the nurse opens the door.

She looks around the room with a puzzled expression. “Are you OK? We heard a crash?”

“Oh, I’m fine,” I reply, looking at my fingernails. “I didn’t hear anything.”

The nurse scans the room again, a bewildered expression on her face. Finding nothing more to do, she leaves.

Now I’m sweating. And I have a piece of paper stuck to my butt.

Before long, though, I start to get cold. The heat generated by my frantic clean up and the giant leap back to the examination table has worn off, and my skin is starting to turn a glaring white with purply-blue splotches.

My feet look and feel like they belong to a dead person. They begin to hurt so badly, dangling there in the icy air, that I’m certain I’m going to die and then they will look appropriate.

I decide to warm them up. First, I try the old rub and blow method. That works only slightly and is very temporary.

(Don’t worry; I haven’t forgotten I have crinkly paper stuck to my butt. I’m just too tired to deal with it right now.)

I do a systems check on my body and find that the only part that is warm is where my skin touches the thick vinyl covering of the examination table. The skin on the bottom of my butt and back of my thighs has become sweaty and slick.

Now, to take advantage of that heat generation, I sit Indian-style and tuck my toes between the vinyl and my hot, wet thighs. (That sounds porno, doesn’t it?)

I have to scrape off the crinkly paper that is stuck on my butt, but once I do, the heat hits immediately. I’m a gynecological patient genius!

Now, how to while away the minutes (hopefully minutes and not hours)? I survey my surroundings. Breast exam shower cards. More health pamphlets.

I notice a model of a breast chopped down the middle with half thrown away. My boobs begin to hurt just looking at it. Plus it’s kind of nasty with all those little fluid filled pustules, veins, fat, nodes, milk sacs, and other unidentifiable blobs of stuff. Boy, I bet my husband wouldn’t find this glimpse at my boobies too appealing.

I wonder if the model is accurate color-wise, because there’s something blue in that plastic half breast. That can’t be right. What would be big, round and blue?

I can’t read it from where I am, so I lean precariously forward and feel myself start to tumble. But at the last moment, when gravity has its icy (remember we’re naked in a doctor’s office) grip on me, I feel a slight tug on my butt. It’s just enough to suspend my forward motion, and I activate my core, like I learned in Pilates, and bring myself upright.

Wow. The crinkly paper stuck to my butt saved my butt. Not only is it used for hygiene, but it doubles as a life-saving device. Just like the seat cushion on an airplane.

Tune in next time for more grins and giggles at the gyno...

(To download the series or to sign up for future installments, visit: http://shelldgirl.googlepages.com/home.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Psycho at the Gyno - Part 3

In an earlier episode (August 14), I had gotten undressed in an unlocked room and hidden my clothes. And, we continue...

Eventually done with the clothes arranging, I decide to get myself in position on the table. I pick up the blankette, which is about the size of an average bath towel at maximum and sit down on the crinkly paper that runs from the front to the back of the examination table. Of course with the shortness of my gown, there’s crinkly white paper to buttock contact. The crinkling potato chip bag sound makes me hungry for junk food, while the sight of my huge thighs simultaneously makes me vow never to eat again.

I feel a cool breeze across my backside, and realize that while the gownie closed almost completely when I was standing up, when I sit down, the gownie spreads wide and my crack is now bared.

But, it’s OK that my gownie has failed me. That’s what the blankette is for.

I look again at the tiny piece of paper folded in quarters that they dare to call a blanket. (Good thing they don’t hand these out in Antarctica!) I unfold it and discover that the blankette is the same thickness as the gownie. It’s an onionskin thickness, see-through—OK maybe slightly opaque—piece of paper. What world do they live in where this is an acceptable covering?

But, it’s what I have, and I have to work with what I have. So I unfold it and drape it across my thighs.

Now my private parts are covered by the combination of gownie and blankette. Nice and tidy. I smile. Ahhh, I made it.

The table has been angled so that when I lay down, my head is pointed toward the door. So, sitting up, my back side is in plain view of anyone entering.

I think gynecologists have their tables angled toward the door on purpose to see your butt crack.

But, hey, I say, let’s be positive. The blankette does cover up my thighs. I can kind of see through it, but it’s a little warmer than full nakedness. I’ll just wrap it more securely around my backside.

I tuck the tiny rectangle around my buttocks. But I find, (hunh!) the thing barely wraps around the side of my hips.

Something has to be wrong. I don’t think I unfolded it all the way. I hold the blankette up in front of me and pull at the edges, seeing if it will expand further. Instead of expanding, when I pull at the elderly-person-skin thin blankette, it gets a tear at the bottom.

Great! Now not only is my blankette see-through, thin, and inadequately sized, but it has a tear.


Well, again, I just have to make due with what I have. It will work. With a look of steely determination, I drape it across my thighs.

And find that the tear goes right up the middle, exposing my hoochiemama.

Fantastic! You know, when rips like this happen on one of those shows where a plane crash-lands on a deserted island or a boat sinks and survivors have to swim to the island, sure, their clothes rip. But they rip in all the right places! The seductively-placed tears only improve the outfit. They only make the poor shipwrecked woman—who, of course, is beautiful, tanned, and toned—more gorgeous.

Can that happen to me? Can my rip make me look better? Nope. My rip has to expose the one side of me that wasn’t already exposed!

Well, maybe being paper-thin as it is, I can glue it back together with my spit. Wow! I found an advantage to its thinness. Maybe if I moisten the edges and then press them together, using my spit as glue, with a little compression? Yes, that’s it! That’s how people make paper, right? A little pulp, a little liquid. This is going to work!

I drool a little on the fingers of my right hand and quickly rub the glob along the right edge of the tear. I lick the fingers of my left hand a moment and rub my spit along the left edge. Then I hold the moistened paper together for a little while, and let go. Ta-da! Paper!

Now I’ll just put the blankette around me again.

But, the blankette surgery doesn’t hold. And now I have a blankette that’s paper-thin, see-through, ripped in front exposing my winkie, and has a tear that’s damp along the edges. Wonderful! What is the doctor going to think?

I’ll just explain, “Doctor, I ripped it, and then practiced the ancient-art of papermaking using my saliva.” Perfectly rational. I’m sure she’ll understand.

Maybe if I tuck the rip between my thighs it will hide the tear. I try it.

That’s good. Can’t see it. Looks like the blankette accidentally got wedged between my thighs.

Bad news is now it’s pulling the blankette toward the front of my body more, which means additional crack is showing. But that’s OK; we had that showing anyway. What’s a little more glowing white exposed butt skin? Then again, with the harsh fluorescent light and my pasty complexion, I could blind someone.

Oh, well, at least I’ve got the moist part hidden. One problem solved before the timer goes off, the doctor walks in, and I look like I’ve lost my mind.

Of course, the blankette paper tends to straighten out. So, about every ten seconds I have to reach around my backside and retuck the blankette under my buttocks so that at least the maximum possible portion of my butt is hidden. Annoying. But, it occupies me while I wait.

Unfortunately I’ve forgotten to wear socks. They’re the one piece of clothing that you’re actually allowed to have on your body during the examination. Socks are a great article of clothing for the gynecologist. Except trouser socks or knee highs. They make you look like some disheveled old man who should be wearing a white tank top, boxers, and man-slippers to complete the outfit. Plus, when you remove them, they leave the most unattractive ring around your leg where they’ve gripped your skin to keep their limp, thin and usually saggy material from shooting down to your ankles.

My sock of choice for the gynecologist (when I remember) is a sporty anklet with a well-known sports clothing manufacturer logo emblazoned. It makes you look young and physically active. Then when the doctor asks the inevitable, “Have you been exercising?,” you can say, “Well, of course. Look at my socks.”

I’m finally settled. Alright, I made it! The umpire crosses his arms, fans them out, and yells, “Safe!”

To be continued...

(To download the series or to sign up for future installments, visit: http://shelldgirl.googlepages.com/home.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Can We Give Women a Break?

While standing in the checkout line a couple of months ago purusing the literature (I use that term VERY loosely), I noticed an article entitled "Who's pregnant?" Below the title were three photos of female stars (I don't even remember which ones now, Britney Spears? Gwyneth Paltrow???) with ever so slight belly bulges.

Looking down at my own much larger belly bulge, I started imagining what they might plaster over my photo, "Due any day now?" "The miracle of multiple births?"

Don't we all obsess over our figures? And, what a weight it must be for celebrities whose every ripple of fat is photographed and discussed before millions of people.

I got to thinking of the "Who's pregnant?" magazine cover recently when I was again browsing the fine literary selections at the local grocery store. This time it showed a pencil-thin Angelina Jolie. She hasn't always been this thin. But, as a person who has given birth, I can tell you that it's awfully hard to have a flat stomach afterward, no matter what your weight. I wonder if she's not getting so thin to try to deal with what all mothers do--the stomach that will never, ever, ever snap back to its original position. Especially if you aren't 18 when you have your child.

I occasionally watch with my daughter a kids' show called Zoey 101. Thought not the topic of this post, it stars Britney Spears' little sister.

I noticed the last time I watched it that one of the characters on the show, a pretty young, maybe 14-year-old girl, looks like a skeleton with skin.

What I'm trying to say is that I understand all of these people. Obsession with looks is out of control among women. Male stars... do you see them pencil thin? Does society have the expectation that men always look fabulous and thin and never age?

Then why do we try????

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Psycho at the Gyno--Part 2

In an earlier episode (see the July 31 entry), I had just had suffered the indignity of the gynecologist office waiting room and was being shown back to an examination room.

We continue...

The nurse takes me to a room and gets out the gown and blanket. As the smell of bandaids and other first aid equipment surrounds me, I wonder how anyone can call pieces of the thinnest paper ever produced a gown and blanket? I think they should, quite appropriately and mockingly, refer to them as gownie and blankette.

If it’s a less classy doctor—also known as “the doctor that actually takes your insurance and hasn’t gone out of business because of malpractice insurance rates”—the nurse will reach into a drawer and pull out The Instruments. (Yes, they deserve to be capitalized.)

It’s scarily similar to a scene in the movies where a fiend preparing to torture someone, with suspended and wickedly slow delight, lays out the thumbscrews, drills and various knives?

I expect to look up and see Igor, his lumpy hump under his frayed jacket, no neck, one eye bigger than the other, and a mole on his forehead with a straggly black hair poking out, looking at me, all the while rubbing his hands together gleefully and laughing maniacally. “Heh, heh, heh. Heh, heh, heh. Heh, heh, heh!”

I look up quickly but find only a middle-aged, tired of life nurse attempting a half-smile to put me at ease.

At a classier doctor’s office—also known as “the place you can’t afford”—The Instruments are already set out.

But back to our poor person doctor. (That’s right, don’t even dream.) The nurse places The Instruments on a tray by the examining table and goes to write something in her chart, giving me time to contemplate their various uses. I don’t want to look, but my eye is irresistibly drawn. What are they going to do with that? Look at the size of it. Horrible possibilities flicker through my mind. Or, gulp, I already know, and it grosses me out.

But, I’m a big girl. The body is a beautiful and natural thing. Anyway, the doctor’s done this so many times, we all look the same to her. She took this job because she wanted to help women so much that my body is practically sacred to her. Blah, blah, blah, I continue in a useless attempt to convince myself that it’s really no big deal.

While I’m furtively, but intensely glancing at The Instruments, the nurse leaves and I begin the wonderful process of getting naked in a public place without a locked door. I repeat: without a locked door.

I try to be casual, but in the back of my head a timer has started. I know eventually the doctor will give a short knock followed by the immediate opening of the door. Or, the nurse will have forgotten to set out one of The Instruments, come back to set it out, and catch me with one boob hanging out. Or standing there in nothing but my pantyhose—control top with a roll of fat bulging above the waist due to the compression of the body shaping comfort band. Or me, bent over, with the moon to the door, my underwear around my knees as I take them off. My slightly yellowed underwear. With the holes.

The safest bet is to have only half of your body exposed at any time. That way, if someone pops in, you can take just one piece of clothing and cover the vital part that is exposed.

I decide to go top first. I take off my shirt and begin to unhook my bra. Here’s the part where I have to go fast; I finish unhooking my bra, throw it down, grab the gownie from the table with speed akin to superpowers so great that my arm is just a blur, and put it on.

Now I’m safe. If someone happens to come through that unlocked door—that still mocks me—the gownie just barely covers my butt cheeks. I feel confident that if I stand facing the door with the opening of the gownie in the back, it will hide my doo-lolly and my hooch-i-macallit and all the other nakie private parts, too.

Facing the door, I take off my pants. Now, why exactly does someone buy a gown, or as we say, “gownie,” that just skims the bottom of your buttocks? Is this some gynecological competition to see who can purchase the skimpiest gowns? How much would it cost to buy, say, six more inches, so that bending over wouldn’t automatically expose the moon? What, five cents? We’re not talking quality material.

More leisurely, and after dwelling on these and other great questions of life, I finish removing the clothes from my bottom half. Next conundrum: how to arrange my clothes?

Rule #1: Your doctor cannot see your underwear. Even if it doesn’t have holes and has retained its ultra dazzling whiteness.

I know you’re asking, “Why is that a rule? Certainly the doctor knows that you wore underwear today.” Or at least hopes, and especially ones with cotton crotches for breatheability.

Like my doctor thinks I don’t wear a bra and underwear. Like she wonders, “Is it commando-city in my practice?”

Still, it’s one of those situations where everyone knows something’s there, but they have to pretend they don’t. Like a fart in an elevator.

But hiding the underwear takes strategy. Doctor’s office chairs are always positioned facing the door, so if I turn around to arrange my clothing, I again risk mooning someone who walks in the door. The unlocked door.

My strategy begins thus: Still facing the door, I pick up my underwear and fold it in half, then in half again. Nice little quarters, just like in my drawer at home. (Yeah, right!) I reach behind me to place it on the chair. Then I take my bra and fold it in half. Cup resting in cup, I place the bra on top of my underwear. The bra makes a nice little mountain on top with its thick foam cup shaping.

Next I take my pants and fold them in half, draping them exactly across the little mountain of underclothing. Finally, I hold my shirt by the collar and drape it exactly on top of the pants. Then I muss everything a little bit. I don’t want it to look like I’ve worked hard because I have on red lace thongs, underwear with a padded butt or another embarrassing undergarment.

But with the mussing combined with the slick vinyl (or the also common, plastic) chair, my clothes go cascading onto the floor, and I must begin the process again.

To be continued...