(Having problems photographing layouts from the weekend. Will be back mid-week to share. In the mean time, I have a little story for you. Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! XOXO - me)
Several months ago on a typical workday morning, I experienced a very atypical and uncomfortable pain in my lower back. The pain had been present for several days, but on this particular morning, it had exacerbated to an unbearable level. I tried to ignore it in hopes it would disappear, but no such luck. I began to develop what I thought was a fever and was becoming nauseated. It became apparent I would have to go to the doctor.
Now, where I live, doctors have very few "emergency" appointments available. You can call in so congested you sound like an alien. Words are barely decipherable through the phlegm and coughing. You report a fever of 104 and the response is always the same cheery, lilting response. "The doctor can see you three weeks from Monday. Would you like me to put you down for an appointment?" And my response is most certain to always be - "Ummm, no. I will be dead by then. But thanks anyway."
This lack of medical-care-when-you-need-it has led to the overuse of our local urgent care centers. Not to be confused with the Emergency Room, these places are separate examining sites for those too sick to stay home, but not ill enough to go to the hospital. Wait time is lengthy and germs abound at these facilities. You can see why I avoid them at all costs. But this time I had no choice...I would have to go to Urgent Care. *shudder*
I left work, tediously drove with hands clenching the steering wheel in pain, checked in at the desk and waited. One very important point to note, although the word "urgent" was proudly used when naming this care site, they were in no way treating my ailment as "urgent". Despite my reported pain level of 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, they ignored me. I signed in at 1:30 and wasn't called back until 5:30. Never mind the fact the facility closed at 5:00. That only elevated my fear of sub-par medical treatment. I spent 4 horrifically long, uncomfortable hours sitting in an over-crowded, germ-infested waiting room. And each time I questioned, "How much longer", the response was, "We will be with you shortly". Yeah, right!
When I was finally, finally called back, I plastered on my happy face and exuded pure sweetness. You certainly want to make friends with anyone who possesses the ability to prescribe mind altering, pain relieving drugs! Especially when you are in urgent (there's that word again) need of said medication! Smart thinking on my part, huh? My male nurse took my vitals, asked some questions and listened to my self-diagnosis of a kidney infection all while nodding in sympathetic agreement. After having me pee in a cup, he smiled and patted me on the arm as he placed me in another eternal holding cell...errrrr...I mean examination room.
This wait was not as lengthy. A female doctor entered with a female nurse and proceeded to ask a few more questions and discussed the results of my urine test. While my symptoms mimicked a kidney infection, my test came back negative. With an authoritative tone, that was not all that convincing, she explained that she needed to do a pelvic exam. WHAT??? I came up off the table, eyes popping, arms flailing about and informed her that was NOT necessary.
Not sure if anyone else feels this way, but exploration of that most sacred area is reserved for a select few. And the local yokels at the "urgent" care center had not made the list. Only my doctor of choice, one who has already been there and done that to me on other dreaded and unwelcomed occasions, would be allowed entry. Barring a serious medical emergency, you know, the kind where I would be passed out, anesthatized or in a coma, would this type of exam take place in this environment. In other words...totally without my consent. Strangely enough, my pain was no longer as severe. What had felt like a fever was brushed off as a hot flash. I was miraculously cured. But the doctor would have none of that. I don't think she believed me...*insert shrug with eye roll*.
Here is where the story takes a serious turn for the worse...yeah, it really does get worse. The doctor did the courtesy exit allowing me privacy to prepare for the upcoming violation of my secret spot. I quickly disrobed from the waist down and frantically worked to cover myself as best I could with the token paper napkin. Itchy, crinkly, icky napkin. I always fear I won't be ready when they return so I do this in a very rapid manner. Nothing like getting caught with your pants down. As I laid there berating myself for having come here, I over heard the conversation on the other side of the door.
Nurse: "We are doing a pelvic exam?"
Doctor: (agian with an authoritative tone) "Yes."
Nurse: "And do we have the instruments to do that?"
Doctor: (with less authority) "I believe we do."
Nurse: "We actually have one of those....what do you call it?"
Me: (silently shouting) "S-P-E-C-U-L-U-M!"
At this point, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and tuned them out. I began repeating the following mantra. "This too shall pass...this too shall pass...this too shall pass."
They entered. Obviously, they worked to pull themselves together in order to appear more professional. The nurse took her position at my head. The doctor, of course, took her seat between my stir-upped legs. A light was positioned over the area to be examined. I was asked to slide down...a little more...a little more...and a little more. I was hanging off the examining table for goodness' sake! Gripping the side of the table was necessary just to keep from falling in the doctor's lap! Per an additional request, I ever so slowly and reluctantly separated my clenched-together knees. Then it began. The doctor requested the thingy (aka speculum). The nurse did not have it. The doctor asked where it was. The nurse did not know. After several excruciatingly long moments of speculation, it was decided it resided in the drawer on the examining table. Right. Between. My. Spread. Eagled. Legs!!!!!!!!!
As the doctor dug around in the drawer, the light was doing a good job of baking certain unmentionables to a crisp. She finally retrieved one only to realize it was broken. I lifted up on my elbows to witness her doing her best Julia Roberts impersonation. Remember in Pretty Woman when her character is at the opera and she thinks her opera glasses are broken? She repeatedly flips them over while stating, "They're broken. Mine are broken." Dear friends, I would not lie to you. The doctor was flipping that ugly piece of metal proclaiming its inoperable state. I would have laughed out loud had it not been for the fact she was staring me straight in the....well, you know.
At least she now knew where to get another one. The nurse was asked to "warm it up" while I lay there eyes glazed over with open mouth and legs akimbo. I would tell you what happened next, but I have forever blocked it from my memory. Only the strongest electro-shock therapy could jar it to the surface. And even then, I fear the consequences of reliving this nightmare would doom me to a straight jacket. I do remember pain...lots and lots of pain. I recall coming off the table amid my own gasping and groaning to be met with the totally unnecessary question, "Oh dear, does that hurt?" H-E-double-L, yeah! That! Hurts!
Somehow, someway, I escaped. And the irony of it all...I was scheduled for my annual gyno visit the following day! I had totally forgotten. Needless to say, I was violated two days in a row. Bummer!
In the end, I was diagnosed with ovarian cysts...by my regular doctor, thank you very much. A D&C was scheduled. I recuperated. Then life returned to normal. And what is the moral of this story? ANY, and I do mean ANY, pain below the belt is better left to the "private parts" professionals!