I’m having an indulgent week, you know the sort of thing, Belgian chocolates eaten in the bath, delicious home cooked meals with dessert (usually only eaten in restaurants), lie ins, reading for two hours straight without worrying about what I haven’t done or what I’ve still got to do……….it’s been bliss. Tomorrow I have a wonderful girlie lunch planned with Lydia (Mac is spending the day with his big brother and they’re going to do Men’s Stuff) and on Friday night I’m planning to meet up with Charlie and Saskia for a stuffed crust pizza or two and Mamma Mia. You see what I mean? Indulgent. I’m not usually indulgent – I feel guilty if I eat more than two chocolates at a time and whenever I’m reading my mind is half on the story line, half on the washing churning around in the machine.
So it’s probably because I’m not so familiar with the whole indulgent thing that I booked a smear test for today. You know, just to keep me on my toes. So to speak.
Now I’m know I’m not alone in thinking that this is a necessary evil. I booked the appointment on Monday morning and have spent a fair percentage of the time between then and 9.15am this morning alternately worrying about it and questioning my female friends about their last smear. It’s not because I’m perversely interested in my friends and their bits but I wanted someone to reassure me that it’s not going to be as painful as my last one five years ago. Because the last one hurt with a capital F.
My usual practice nurse was on holiday but had failed to tell me when I’d booked the appointment. She was fairly used to seeing my bits having examined me intimately when I told her that I was thinking of trying for a baby – not that I whip them out at every available opportunity you understand. I bowled into the room, drawers already removed (really, I don’t know why I feel the need to share this much with you all) expecting to find Grainne sitting at her desk smiling. Not so. The other practice nurse, a stick thin, no doubt ex supermodel stood at the couch, already snapping on the rubber gloves. Without so much as a “how are you and isn’t the weather lovely” she instructed me to assume the position.
In went the speculum (try as I might I can’t help but think of a ducks bill) and she had a good old rummage. “Can you lift yourself up a bit?” she snapped, still peering where the sun don’t shine. How undignified. I did as I was bid but to no avail. “No, it’s no good, I’m going to have to go again” she hissed. I ended up balancing on the couch like a limbo dancer mid limbo while she probed and prodded some more. It was not the best experience, nor the best recommendation to go through the whole thing again.
This time I cross examined Cheery Cassie who assured me that Grainne would in fact be the one to do the deed. And yes she would be gentle. Cassie knows me so well, during one particular fraught month of my pregnancy she spent an hour and three quarters feeding me camomile tea, wiping my tears and assuring me that the baby isn’t going to come out hating me. In fact, I’d like to put on record that I love my GP practice – all except Limbo Witch.
Mac was to be left in the care of Charlie who had agreed to take him shopping for some school stuff. Charlie, who is really only feeding her secret stationery addiction, was more excited than he was. I drove to the surgery with shaking legs and unable to exhale without whimpering. Once in the surgery, the reception team seemed to be on red alert, Pretty Polly came out to the waiting area to give me a hug. I felt very insignificant and more than a little stupid. I’d had a baby for God’s sake! More people have seen my bits and my insides than I care to think about. My midwife (lovely woman, she always had a packet of Murray Mints in her bag and wasn’t averse to sharing) once welcomed me into a consultation with the words “Do you mind if my students sit in on this?” and then revealed five white coated men and one white coated woman. I revealed a whole lot more, including the urge I had to eat tea dunked Jaffa Cakes every waking hour.
Grainne greeted me with a smile and an inquiry as to my health. Filled with the need to convince her just how healthy I was I considered doing a few star jumps just to prove my fitness levels but decided against it, it would merely put my blood pressure up and she was already advancing towards me with the cuff. Hm, not bad she said. My weight had gone up slightly (I blamed my indulgent week but promised to lay off the goodies for a bit). Her questions about Mac and David were only serving to delay the inevitable – I took matters into my own hands and plopped myself down on the couch, sans underwear. “Relax” she said as she unwrapped several eye popping instruments. I defy any woman to relax with a speculum in close proximity to their person.
Still. It wasn’t too bad and I’ll save you the gory details. It certainly beat my last one into a cocked hat on the pain front and I almost wept with gratitude when she told me to get dressed and I could do so without emitting painful squeaks.
Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. Although, don’t tell anyone, I went into Ayres for a comforting jam doughnut on my way back……..I think I need a trip to Coventry.