Lady Parts

“So that Trump guy- good to have someone who’s not afraid to tell it like it is.”

“Uh huh.”

I hoped my apathy was clear. I didn’t want to be talking about politics. Not with a stranger, and certainly not while I was naked from the waist down with my legs spread.

It just didn’t seem like the right time.

It was the summer of 2015. The presidential campaign was gaining steam and I was already over it, so I just let the comment hang in the air like an un-reciprocated high five. I was just there for the pills. The only way to get the pills was to spread my legs for a stranger and let them get all up in my lady parts. But the pills were worth it.

In any other context, this kind of behavior and reasoning would tag me with some pretty unflattering names, but this was Gynecology.

So it was ok.

At the time The Pill was my drug of choice for warding off the threat of babies, and my prescription had run out. The only way to get more was to submit to a well woman exam. It was (and is) a circumstance that I hated on principle: I hated that prophylactic medication could be held for ransom. I knew that regular exams were essential for maintaining good health and I valued them, but I also hated the fact that I was forced to play doctor roulette on a yearly basis.

That year, the decision had seemed simple: I was enrolled at the University of Southern California and covered by insurance, so Health Services seemed like the obvious choice: convenient, well funded, and backed by the institutional authority of the USC brand. Surely, I thought, it would be nicer than the door buzzers and bulletproof glass of Planned Parenthood or the grim plastic waiting rooms and blaring televisions of the local clinics that I’d been going to for the past three years.

So, no. I was not interested in talking politics right then.

I recall being surprised to find myself being gynecologized by someone leaning towards the Trump camp. Maybe that’s why the encounter struck in mind- the exam itself was unmemorable. I remember the table being too low and the curtains that masked off the exam table from the door made the room too small and draped over the shoulders of the physicians assistant who hovered nearby like a chaperone- which, in retrospect, maybe she was.

“What are you on?” The doctor wanted to know, slapping a laminated copy of the list of options against his free hand in the office later.

I told him- Daysee or some other nonsense flower name. A pill that ran in three month regimens so that That Time Of The Month only had to happen four times a year, like taxes.

“And it working for you?” He snapped the plastic against his hand again. It looked worn- curled and frayed around the edges. I wondered how long he’d used the same documents. I wondered how clean they were. I decided I want going to worry about it. I was there for the pills.

I said they were working fine.

“If they’re working, no sense in changing them.” He said, and authorized a prescription.

Mission accomplished.

I left feeling the usual mix of relief and annoyed disgust: it was for my own good, it was over, and now I wouldn’t have to think about it for another year.

So, no: I wasn’t a victim. But I knew exactly which doctor the headlines were talking about when the urgently apologetic e-letter blast arrived in my inbox from President Nikias. And I was not surprised.

“Oh, hey, I had an exam with that guy.” I said- both out loud to the Curmudgeonly Lion as well as, more permanently, online on Twitter. I’m still not sure why I felt compelled to do so. I typically like to keep the details about my lady parts private. But also, maybe, I felt just a little bit defiant towards a system that forced me into the position of facing someone who could easily have done as he pleased. Because did I want my pills or not?

And maybe I wasn’t a victim but maybe I didn’t really feel like protecting that system by keeping quiet either. Because really, one doctor isn’t the problem- no matter what he did or didn’t do; to me or to anyone else. Because really, when the services provided by institutions of authority with a brand like USC’s are just as grim as the clinics behind buzzers and bulletproof glass then maybe I’m not interested in keeping my mouth shut about it.

After all: its good to have someone who’s not afraid to tell it like it is.

Isn’t. That. Right.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 21, 2018.

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