Yup, it’s another onePosted: September 1, 2007
I’m doing these “things we need to know” things because they’re important things that either I haven’t known myself, or others have asked me about.
This is one of the things I didn’t really know about myself.
Apparently, it’s now common practice to hoik UK girls into their doctors’ surgeries at the tender age of twenty and tell them that they could really do with having their girly bits prodded.
Hmmmm. Wish my school had told me that.
Last I knew, it started at 24, but admittedly this was when Mum once (very reluctantly, and a long time ago) told me where she was going and why. Anyway, because I’m on the Pill my doctors’ surgery is quite interested in prodding me, generally.
A couple of weeks ago, they took my weight and blood pressure. Woop. So I know that yes, my heart is still beating, and no, funnily enough, I’m not weightless! I don’t know how much I weigh, though, because…. I don’t really care! Hah! So there!
Anyway, so after the nurse then had made her assumptions, and irritatingly been proved right (“Aha! So, you take the Pill; Thus, you are in a relationship; Thus, you are sexually active”), she told me that given this information, I would benefit from a cervical smear.
Basically, the point of it is to determine if the cells of your cervix are normal. Which, 90% of the time, they are. You see, it wouldn’t be “normal” otherwise, would it?
Anyway, the other 10% of the time, you’re “abnormal”, and they basically sit back and wait, prodding you more often than if you were in the lucky 90%. (They normally call you back every 3 years. If you’re unlucky, it’s every 6 months or a year, depending.) Mostly it’s nothing. Sometimes they catch cervical cancer at the very beginning, which gives you better odds for surviving it.
Now, as the nurse rightly said, I am indeed sexually active. So I am no stranger to having things in my girly bits. It normally feels pretty damn good, if not better. And I am no stranger to talking to the doctors about personal things, even the ones that scare me by looking and sounding like an irish great-uncle of mine.
But even so, it was an effort not to turn and run very fast in the opposite direction from the appointment.
Anybody who’s still reading this because they’re looking for an impersonal account to take their fears magically away, I’m sorry.
Cervical smears are not nice.
They’re not even vaguely nice.
They don’t hurt.
And they’re not cold.
But having impersonal, latex-clad fingers on you does not feel nice. Looking up to see an instrument that looks like it would be the response to the request “nurse, the claw” does not feel nice.
Having things like long cotton buds are prodding about inside you does not feel nice.
It wasn’t really a claw, by the way. It was mostly just like a hollow metal dildo. Albeit one which stayed still, gave me no pleasure whatsoever and split open, a bit like scissors, to keep me open and allow access to my cervix.
Obviously, I consented to it.
But I still felt violated.
Once outside the surgery, I felt wobbly-kneed and tearful.
Even though the nurse had been calm, reassuring and generally lovely, even though it was something that I wanted done….. that didn’t, couldn’t prevent my instinctive disgust, my feeling of Fuck Off, It’s My Body.
On the plus side, at least I got to take my socks off first!