Pop! Goes the Speculum and Other Gynecological Horror Stories
In response to "What's the funniest story you ever heard?" I must say that a series of gynecological horror stories have to be the most dreadfully amusing things I've recounted in awhile. However I must say the following anecdotes are not appropriate for children, squeamish people, or women's health advocates...
I was a moody teenager of about fifteen and about to go through the closest thing to a rite of passage my culture had to offer, my very first pap smear. It wasn't one of those encounters you wanted to take photos of for your scrapbook. I was naïve as ever, I didn't really have the faintest inkling of what on earth a pap smear really was and quite frankly I would have been more then content if I never found out.
A year previous I had walked indignantly into the gynecologist's office and complained of horrific menstruations, the kind that make "regular" woman squirm in horror. The answer to this problem came in the form of some tiny little pills, those all too familiar oral contraceptives.
"Can't you just spay me?" It works for cats; I don't see why it wouldn't work for humans. Not to be ungrateful or anything but I knew God was playing a practical joke the day He gave me my first period. It was on Mother's Day. At the time I prayed to God I was just internally bleeding. Fuck womanhood! I wanted to stay sterile! As happy as I am there are people out there willing to become mothers I knew I was never meant to be one of them. I hated children when I was a child. The older I got the more I couldn't resist seeing them as liabilities swaddled in germs.
Apparently radical hysterectomies were reserved for people with life threatening conditions. Damn. I hated pills and what they stood for. I loathed the pop-a-pill society I was brought up in. Have a headache? Take a pill! Have heartburn? Take a pill! Have menstruations that resemble the wrath of God? Take another pill! Needless to say I wasn't very good at taking those pills. Though I was warned in full that if I skipped too many I'd be answering to my own enraged ovaries I still needed to learn this on my own, four times. It was so much fun to spend an entire month bleeding, in agony, trying to figure why my swollen basketball sized ovaries were stabbing each other with shivs.
By the time I got into the gynecologist's office for this first pap smear I wasn't a happy camper but I had no one but myself to blame. I was handed one of those all too sexy Johnnys to slip on and was left to do so when my gynecologist left. I hated those things. I spent five minutes wrestling it into submission and trying to tie it. Now I had to ponder if I should keep my socks on or display my lovely feet? No one needs to see that. I kept my socks on and by the time my gynecologist came back into the room I only had a few seconds to realize just what an uncomfortable feeling it was to have your bare bottom sticking to the paper on the table like eggs to a frying pan.
She was now putting on her gloves and smiling, making small talk and explaining what was going to go down today in only the glossiest of terms. I slid down on that paper and listened to the deafening noise of it crinkling underneath me. I put my feet in the stirrups and let go of all sense of dignity. Oh yes, this was a pose for the ages. Can you see my appendix from there? I'm sure if you have a degree in body spelunking you could see it with the gentle use of a bright flashlight.
I heard the clanking of metal as she picked up what could only be described as a medieval torture mechanism. It apparently had been soaking in a bucket of ice before being picked up and shoved where the sun doesn't shine. Oh my! I wasn't sure which feeling to concentrate on: the feeling of my crotch being colder then an arctic tundra, the ripping pain of having something metal shoved where I hadn't even dared shove a soft tampon, the feeling of my insides being brushed with what felt like a Brilo pad, or the feeling of my entire torso tensing up to try to expel that rotten gadget from my body.
"Relax! The more you relax the sooner I can get this out of you."
My mind screamed, "You relax! This hurts like hell!" My teeth were gritted and my knuckles were turning white. I tried to relax. I felt it go in further. AH! Make it stop! By the time she did take that indescribably horrible object out I had long since stopped making myself queasy wondering how many other women it had found itself lodged in.
By the time I limped out of her office, clothed but not happy, I came to one of the strangest realizations of my life. I was fairly certain I had just lost my virginity to the equivalent of a human car jack. They told me I had to come in the next year if I was to stay on The Pill. I had to go through this all again in as little as twelve months? That hardly seemed worth it. The next year went by with me flitting from one month to the next trying to decide if I wanted to be on synthetic hormones for the rest of my life or not. A month of horrible writhing pain would go by and I'd cry uncle and take them again. It seemed no time at all before I was back in that office being asked if I'd allow a student to watch. Oh, why not? It's not like I had anything to hide, I was already propped up on a ridiculous contraption displaying my sweetness like a Georgia O'Keefe painting.
My gynecologist was again sitting on her little rolling stool fiddling with those human car jacks. "Oops, almost used a large one. I don't think you'd like that much." You better not! My mind screamed. Until that moment I hadn't known they came in shirt sizes. The student seemed to take pity on me, pointing out how I was trying so hard not to grit my teeth (this was a miserable failure as I don't even think I took the time to breathe until that ghastly object was again removed.) She was talking to the student smiling, "This patient doesn't lie! A lot of them do but this one doesn't!"
"I can see that. She's so tiny!"
She was not referring to my whole body. I refrained from blurting out whatever angry witticism was flitting through my head at that moment. It was sad. I was getting far more action in this office then I was getting in life. I was OK with that but would have preferred to stay home and ate ice cream instead of coming in.
"You could wear tampons. That would make this a little easier each time you come in."
Tampons? How can you wear tampons? I had never seen them dangling from woman's ears or woven into a shirt. No one in history has worn a tampon, they've eaten them, eaten them with something that I don't honestly think likes having cotton shoved in it. No thank you.
Several years passed with this annual event darkening my mood for at least an entire week beforehand. By the time I decided I didn't want to be on Birth Control to beat my unruly ovaries into shape I learned I still needed to go in for a pap smear anyway. It beat a lingering death, I suppose. In any event I learned I had it easy when I started to share my horror stories with another of the female species. Her story was more horrific then I could even imagine. For the sake of a little noir humor I have written below a ‘re-imagining' of the basic story...
So "Miss Q" had entered into the dreaded thirty-something phase of her life and she realized it'd been probably a good decade since she'd last went to see one of those lady-lovin' doctors that are probably the inspiration for alien abduction/probing stories. Figuring it was time to admit defeat and go have a lousy check-up she called a new doctor, a male doctor, and filed into his office as nervous as ever.
Being the social butterfly she was she of course had to chat up the doctor and cover her own nervousness by cracking a string off ADD jokes in between her intermittent mad giggling. The doctor was a good one, a lovely piece of Asian eye candy with a spiky (and as it turns out ticklish) hair cut. He managed to get her calmed down and set about his work, chatting casually to keep her nerves soothed.
Things were going well, the doctor was already taking a peek around Miss Q's innards with his handy little speculum when he quite innocently uttered a string of words he'd likely regret for the rest of his life.
"You know, you remind me of an old girlfriend I had in college."
Miss Q, unable to help herself blurted out, "From this angle!?"
The doctor turned beat red and lost all concentration. His head tipped to the side and his spiky hair caught Miss Q's inner thighs, which was the straw that broke the camels back. She burst out into a raucous laughter that made all her muscles contract. Before either knew what was going on a loud WHOOSH! CLANK! Was heard as the speculum rocketed out of Miss Q, flew at warp speed past the doctor's head, and slammed against the wall. Congratulations! It's a boy!
Both parties broke into a hysterical unstoppable laughter until the good old doc' had to leave the room to gather himself again. It was a good fifteen minutes before he came back in, still a little pink in the cheeks. Very tentatively he finished the examination with a new speculum and left Miss Q to get dressed.
Later when she was out in the waiting room preparing to leave the doctor came through and saw her with her boyfriend. Still amused by the whole sorry event he turned to her boyfriend and said yet another string of regrettable words.
"You're a lucky man to have a girlfriend like her." Shaking his head.
Miss Q's boyfriend was the jealous and paranoid type and responded, "What do you mean by that?!" At which point the doctor left absolutely mortified and embarrassed for the second time in half an hour. We can all assume the nurses and staff all got a good chuckle out of this during their next coffee break.
If you got a chuckle from this article try some other satirical keepers by Theophanes: