All that, and it was still a moderately rotten experience. First bad sign: the clear sealed bag containing the metal speculum. Metal? Who still uses metal for this? Uh-oh. Then I asked if they had a smaller one, the nurse said yes, pulled out another, set it next to the first and left. Door closes, I pick up my giant Kleenex cape and go look, only to find yeah, she was bullshitting Me. It's exactly the same marking, size, sku, the whole enchilada. Lying to Me is not good, and really not when someone is about to put that lying stainless steel in My tender coochie.
Then I look at the lube. It's sort of a generic KY, water based, doesn't claim to be sterile, and it's already got a couple squeezes out of it. Ok, that's not a deal killer if done with proper technique but hell's bells, I have single serving packs of steri-lube at home. My medical play is better than my medical office? This troubles me, while I also acknowledge that I'm bored and tense and prone to focus on things like this that maybe aren't all that important. Or alternatively, My intuition is picking up on something very important and how fast can I figure it out.
So I sit there, cuz that's what everyone in a paper dress about to be made to spread their legs really wants to do. And I quickly realize that much as I would dearly like to think I don't need half a Xanax for this, it really would have been a fine choice. I'm not hugely worked up, I'm not spinning disaster scenarios or anything. I'm just all Buddhist mindful about huh, yeah, I'm tense, and I know this about myself, and why did I so lack compassion for myself that I didn't do the obvious to manage it. I'm tense enough I completely forget that I do KEEP a halfa something xanaxy in a deep dark unused corner of my coin purse...For almost exactly *this* kind of oh-shit situation. But I'm all-in now, and the part of my brain that plans that sort of stuff isn't in the room.
So she comes in, hi how are ya, good fine great. Sorry to keep you waiting (can't recall the last time a doc didn't keep me waiting, can you? This is just ritual now, that passingly annoys me.) cuz I know how much you're probably enjoying sitting there in a paper dress.
Right. Is this like, post-modern irony we're going for or what?
She has me lay down and I'm immediately aware this isn't right. My butt isn't dangling off the table bizarrely enough, the stirrups are somehow not in the usual position. She goes to get the (grimace) metal speculum and substandard lube and says: now I just want to let you know I've been having a little trouble with the PAPs lately so if it's not going well, I'll just pop out and go get NAME and she's great, you'll love her, cuz it just kinda depends on the day, you know, and between the two of us we always are fine.
It flitted through my mind that 1. This Adam Sandler in Wedding Singer-ish should have been brought to my attention earlier when I was actually not already highly vulnerable, I'd been suckered and 2. W.T.F. What Doctor admits to having an off day and how do I feel about that? and 3. RUN!!! But I didn't, partly because the weight of the power imbalance inherent in most medical dynamics had already had the intended disempowering effect on me and two, I gots no fallback position. This is my gal, my prior visits with her were great, I have to believe those soberly formed positive impressions have validity. So she's having an off day, these things happen. I admire her for naming it and having a plan. That's what I'd do.
Plus I waited four months to get this appointment and took three hours off from my yes-in-2016-we-no-longer-get-sick-leave job. Nothing like finding yourself blindsided without options to keep you in frozen place.
So forward things go. That's ok, right? It's an article of faith no one enjoys this, right? We can all agree on that. And as accurately predicted by the doc's negative self talk, she can't do the PAP today. The angle is wrong, it pinches like holy fuck. I am NOT in a mind frame to be chill about it, and I'm waaaay too tense. The only person getting that damned cold thing in me is me. After thankfully only two tries, she bails and has the blessed sense (I knew I liked her for good reasons) to call NAME, who comes in with the bubbly personality of a freaking cheerleader, bends over at the waist so she can look at me straight on, a la Detective Goran, and then gets down to it. As she begins prodding again, she asks how many kids I have. Doc lady and I answer together "None" and NAME begins commenting on how deep my cervix is, so incredibly deep. I know this because I can feel the damned speculum coming out my spine on the other side. Now we're back to veeery significant, pinchy intense excruciating are-you-fucking-kidding-me discomfort. I have no idea what she is doing or where she is in the process or how far away the finish line is, I'm only capable of gasping and grunting and trying not to 1. Cry 2. Tense 3. Punch 4. Run 5. Pass out. Then it occurs to me passing out might be the best choice. Oh, yes, no kids, cervix so closed, very difficult, so much easier if you've had kids. I'm being blamed for this whole nightmare, and I know that's fucked up, and it makes me mad, mad makes me want to cry, but a bigger part is just in whatever-you-do-don't-move-for-God's-sake mode.
The Doc is now upset enough that she looks uncomfortable, she's actually trying to soothe me by stroking my leg a bit, and that act of kindness both registers and makes me want to completely disintegrate, maybe cuz the person I came in counting on, I can't count on, and I don't have any idea who this cheerleader painfully up my junk is. It feels like we're all in a blender and nobody has any control over what's happening in this room... to me. It's not good. And for a split second, it feels absolutely barbaric, it's the fucking Spanish Inquisition and nothing has changed.
Across this little narrative arc, part of me is watching me watch this. And another part of me is aware of doing so. And another part is counting how many different levels there are of me watching. And another is saying: you know what this is, this is dissociation, it's a trauma response.
Then it's done. We say what needs to be said. I cannot recall what that might have been. I get dressed. And here's where I land as I'm pulling on my socks:
1A. I'm bringing my own damned lube next time. Really, something thinner and more liquid. You could lube car parts with that thick shit. I don't use that crap on My pussy at home, don't see why we can't crack open a new bottle of the good stuff next time.
1B. I'm putting in my phone, in the contact for the doctor, next to her name so I can't miss it: "take the f-ing Xanax when you exit car".
2. I'm bringing my own damned speculum. It's gonna be the finest fucking plastic speculum in the world. I will find where to buy it. I will learn my size and once I do, I'm buying a box of em. I will happily overpay for this. Fuck it.
3. I'm throwing down the gauntlet to the world: invent me a stealth speculum-dildo that I can insert my Own. Damned. Self. and then doc lady can maybe attach a handle to open it once in place. Man on the moon. Rover on fucking Mars. This can NOT be that difficult. Want something done right, do it yourself.
4. I'm bringing My boy and during the paper dress wait, it is his job to turn Me on with every kinky skill and head trip he knows. And I'm telling the doc I'm not unlocking the door until I've had a good cum in the exam room. I need to be relaxed and I bet that cervix will open up a little with a good warm cum. Make everyone's life easier. Why the fuck can't eroticism have a place in all this? Boy also makes me a sexy recording I play on headphones, so I have a backup plan.
5. I'm bringing a damned wedge pillow so I can tip my ass off the table properly and I'm write down that I gotta tell them to raise the table back, which will shift the historically deep, unbreached cervix down and make it more accessible. I know I'm a Dominant, but do I have to think of absolutely EVERYTHING, people?
I leave the office, get in the car. Don't really want to return to the office, I've been through the wringer here. Seems unwise to get on the rainy freeway just now. I'm hungry. I head for Starbucks for an egg sandwich and when I get to there three lights away, I'm falling apart. Shakey and weepy. Something akin to suddenly and intensely depressed. I eat the sandwich and wait it out, working to allow it and be compassionate and let it go. I go to the grocery store and seriously consider buying myself roses, but they are beat up crappy roses. I have standards. I give myself persmission to go to a real florist for roses that smell and look good. I go back, sit in the car, turn on the heated seat. And wait. And remind myself this is a trauma response. It's completely natural. It's just your brain coping with something scary and unpleasant that, hey good news alert, you already survived. There's no story. There don't have to be any emotions. It doesn't have to be anyone's fault. It's just energy, just your body discharging the adrenaline and epinephrine that dumped into your system when you wanted to run away, and couldn't, and it got stuck for a while when you forced yourself to endure. It will pass, you will live.
I was shot after that. I made it back to the office but I was done. I immediately noticed My filters weren't in place, so I made sure I didn't talk. I deeply missed my now-moved-away massage therapist / healer. And I longed heartily for a gigantic corner bathtub at home. And eventually, in a few hours, I became engaged in something related to the music I love. And I forgot about it.
I didn't stuff it, I didn't block it, I let the wave pass through and then it was gone.
I'm very proud of that.