Like all women, I enjoy a trip to the gynecologist about as much as a man enjoys buying tampons for his wife.
For me, the trauma of a gynecologist visit begins when I enter the waiting room. In the far corner is an adorable young pregnant woman, all glowing with cherubic motherliness. Straight across from me is a mother with a barely week old infant, cooing to her little one. She looks up and smiles at me, glances at my stomach and then looks down nervously.
Oh, I know what she’s thinking: She’s not pregnant. She’s probably here because she’s come down with some horrible sexually transmitted disease with a name like human asymptomatic pelvic genital papilloma-mydia-rhea B. Or she has some strange discharge that smells like sardines and looks like lumpy French cheese.
Oh, that’s right! That holier than thou thinks she’s the Virgin Mary and that I A.) am a high-end prostitute (hopefully she’s thinking high-end!) or B.) was the most popular girl in school. Popular because I was easy.
My smile disintegrates to a narrow slit, like the not-smiling and not-frowning smiley face that some people draw. (Isn’t a not-smiling smiley face an oxymoron?)
I realize I haven’t told them I’m here, and amble toward the receptionist desk, grab the clipboard, and sign in as the receptionist checks me out and then attempts to avoid eye contact. She’s pretty smug behind her sliding glass door.
I walk away and find a chair. Just when my tush has settled into the mauvey easy-clean fabric, I hear a low rumbling as the glass window in front of the receptionist rolls open.
“Excuse me, ma’am, but we need to see your insurance card,” the receptionist bellows.
I drag my comfy tush out of the chair. “My insurance hasn’t changed,” I explain.
“We still need to see your insurance card, ma’am.” Does she have to call me “ma’am”? It makes me sound so ancient.
I rummage around in my purse. Drug store card. Grocery store card. Video rental card. Library card. Credit card. Debit card. Pet store discount card. Driver’s license.
Yikes! It looks like a prostitute’s mug shot. I bet I could make a million dollars setting up glamour shot photo booths at the DMV. I’d certainly shell out an extra $20 to avoid looking like someone who should be wearing neon green leopard print spandex while standing on a street corner, waiving—fingers only—to middle-aged fat men in late model American sedans.
Garden center discount card. Prescription card. Social Security card.
I read one of those attain financial success books, and it warned that identify thieves were waiting to pounce on country bumpkins foolish enough to carry their social security card in their wallet. My first reaction was to leave it at home. But contemplating my home filing system, consisting of a laundry basket stuffed with bills, old resumes, and pictures the kids drew two years ago, I decided to take my chances with the thieves.
Business card. Dental insurance card. Other credit card. Car insurance card. Old college ID card (still good for two bucks off at the movies). Customer appreciation punch card. Finally. Insurance card.
I hand the card to the receptionist, and she immediately rolls the window shut with a vaccum suction induced “wonk!”
I saunter back to my mauvish haven and settle in. Two minutes later the window rolls open again. “Ma’am.” I hate that! “Here’s your card.”
Unable to completely stifle a sigh, I rise, retrieve my card and parade through the waiting room to my chair once more.
Another two minutes and the grind of the glass window in its track sounds again. “Ma’am?” I bite down hard to avoid growling and drag myself toward the window. “We need you to fill out these forms.”
Exasperated, I remind her that none of my information has changed. “Sorry, but it’s office policy.”
“Fine,” I mutter and sulk my way back, clipboard in hand. I bet the office workers have contests to see how many times they can make people come up to the window.
I write my name, address, age, previous maladies, etc., with a sour expression on my face and the enthusiasm of a child writing, “I will not talk in class” 500 times. My writing assignment complete, I go to turn in my missive at the desk. The receptionist opens the window, takes the forms, and says, with high and mighty superiority, “We’ll need your co-pay now. The doctor will not see you unless you pay your co-pay first.”
I swivel on one foot, like a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, return to my chair, and rummage around in my two-ton purse for my checkbook. I pull it out only to find that I’ve run out of checks. I dive back into my cards and retrieve my debit card.
Clomp, clomp, clomp. I go back to the window and hand her the debit card. She goes to close her window, but I thrust my hands in the way, blocking her move. Touché! I’m not going anywhere until this is done. An oh-shoot-she-got-me look on her face, she quickly processes the charge and returns the card.
Confident that she can’t find additional excuses for making me get up again, I hunker down in my seat.
I look around to find a distraction to keep me from obsessing about the disgust on new mother Pollyanna’s face. Ahhh, a rack of pamphlets. There, let’s look at that one with the young woman smiling and looking contemplatively while sitting on a park bench.
I reach over, yank it out and notice that below the smiling young lady are the words “Gonorrhea and You.” Cripes!
I look to see if Angelic Angie has seen what I picked up. The now total loathing on her face tells me, yes, she has. I replace the brochure in the holder while making the Ooops! gesture (to no one in particular, but me and prego know who it’s for) with shoulders lifted, hand in front of my mouth and eyes wide in surprise.
I look at the brochures again. Certainly there has to be reading materials that will help me pass the time without embarrassing the crap out of me.
Ah-hah! That purple one. It says “Talking to Your Doctor about Infertility Treatments.” I’ve hit the jackpot! I pick up the brochure and study it intently. Then I look up with a wistful expression, complete with pouty lower lip.
And notice that Patty Perfect is buying it. I think she’s going to cry. Yes!
Just then, the nurse calls my name and I walk out, shoulders back, head held high in triumph, saved from any further shaming by my waiting roommates. And just for fun, I do a princess wave—elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist.
To be continued...