My favorite tradition, the annual pap schmear. No, I don’t have eurotophobia. I’m fine with the procedure, and have learned not to flinch when the nurse barges in mid-exam into my wide open crotch, and I mean, speculum-widened crotch. Ever year I get mildly anxious starting the week before, and the day of, I am a jittery, antsy wound-up mess, from the top of my head to the tips of the toe and certainly between the legs.
This is because my friend had an OB/GYN who told her that she shouldn’t delay pregnancy when we were only 27. Apparently this doctor had a lot of patients with infertility and was fed up seeing perfectly fertile women postpone decisions until it involved excessive medical intervention, dollars and emotional angst. This talk terrified her and terrified me. The friend went on to conceive her first child by 32 (before popping out two more) despite her high flying career. Me, I feared getting the same talk by my practitioner.
But Dr. S, for all the years we’ve been together–through ovarian cystectomy, the pill, yeast infections, the dry spell, STD scares, the IUD–never once has he asked me about kids. Every year, I get worked up about the visit, thinking this time, he would bring up the subject for sure, but no, just the routine. I would leave the office relieved but wondering–shouldn’t he be bringing this up with me? Finally, when I was 35, I asked him, “Um…should I…start thinking about my fertility and stuff?” He laughed rather gloriously and said, “In New York, no. When you’re 42, we’ll have that talk.” I nervously laughed with him thinking he was pretty wonderful and irresponsible at the same time. Clearly, he was on the opposite side of the pendulum from my friend’s doctor.
Over 10 years ago, I chose Dr. S after an extensive search for a new gynecologist. I wasn’t planning on a male gynecologist, but Dr. S was the first doctor to suggest not rushing into surgery to remove a cyst. He was older, and I felt more trusting about someone who had examined thousands of vaginas and delivered hundreds of babies. I thought: this doctor cares about my body and I want him to one day deliver my baby.
Uhhh, well, fast forward and now I don’t know if I’ll ever see the other side of the slash of his credentials–OB/GYN. But I like your style, Dr. S. I like how you leave me alone. You’ll answer my questions when I’m ready to ask them. I mean, what more do we need to talk about, since you already put your gloved finger in there and what not? Still, if vaginas could talk, mine would say, “Thank you.”