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.
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...