Scooping Out My Insides

“Make yourself comfortable,” I was told, my lady business exposed to the cold winter air for anybody to see. As it my first time ever using a male gynecologist (my usual female OBGYN was booked up,) I was already primed to be anything but comfortable. Today’s particular appointment wasn’t the typical speculum-and-swab while making small talk about your sexual history with a person you barely know just so that you can renew your birth control prescription-type of appointment — I had that one a week before — but something even less comfortable.

“We got the results from your PAP back and it looks like we found some irregularities,” my gyno said through the phone. “We’ll need you to come back in so we can biopsy a piece of your cervix and get a closer look.”

UM WHAT? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Do I have an STI? Oh god I hope I don’t have an STI. Do I have several STI’s? “Irregularities could mean anything from a small change to pre-cancer. We just want to be sure.” OH OKAY, that’s so much better than an STI. NOT.

She then told me that the process of biopsying your va-jay-jay is called a colposcopy, so, once I booked my appointment and got off the phone, I immediately began Googling it. In retrospect, I’m SO glad I didn’t Google Image it. I may have fled the country. The process sounded fairly simple and no anesthetics were needed so I didn’t need to arrange for a ride. I got this, I thought. I had no idea what I was in for.

I rolled up to the office a little early and a lot anxious. The room they brought me to was full of wooden furniture and pretty artwork, and the radio was playing lite-pop. It actually was pretty comfortable. It felt more like a spa than a gyno’s office — they even provided me with a robe (albeit an ill-fitting paper one). I undressed, Sarah Bareilles playing in the background, put on my paper robe and comfortably arranged myself on the table. As I was admiring the adorable mismatched colorfully patterned socks they had placed over the stirrups so that patients’ feet didn’t get cold, the doctor entered… with an assistant. Apparently having one stranger gawk at my lady-bits wasn’t traumatizing enough — I had to have two. Ah, whatever. They see this every day. No big, I thought to myself as I assumed the position.

The assistant handed the doctor a speculum and he began to crank me open like it was the jaws of life. Once the speculum was so far back and I was so jacked open that it felt like I had one endless period cramp, he went to pull out a few jars of various solutions that I’d need applied to my insides before they could take a closer look. The first one was a vinegar and iodine mix to help clearly highlight any possible problem areas (like I wasn’t self-conscious of my lady business at the moment as it was — now I get to have a stranger point out its flaws!) and a jar of clotting solution that looked like something that was straight out of “Alien”. It was a clear jar with this thick, muddy, brown substance floating in it that looked as if the doc and his assistant took turns hocking lugies into the jar. (If you’ve ever bought a jar of apple cider vinegar, it looked just like the “mother” that floats around at the bottom.) He took a liberal scoop of this mutant phlegm and smeared it inside of me. And then it was time for the real fun to begin.

With my vagina properly swabbed (and my brain properly scarred) he prepared the colposcopy instrument. I have no idea what it’s actually called but the best way that I could describe it to you is that it looked just like a miniature version of a melon-baller. Man, they really weren’t kidding around! I concentrated on the ceiling and the Jason Mraz music in the background while he scooped out a piece of my vaginal wall. The internet said that I might feel some pressure as he takes the sample, but I was still riding through that endless period-cramp feeling so I really didn’t feel a thing. The only reason that I knew that he already took the biopsy was because I suddenly heard him and his assistant arguing as they scrambled to stop my bleeding. Apparently those alien boogers didn’t work as well as they were supposed to.

Now, I read during my Google search that it was possible for some light bleeding during the process, but “light bleeding” usually doesn’t mean a puddle on the floor. As if the double occupancy or the uncomfortable speculum or the bucket-o-phlegm, or even the fact that my vagina was flapping in the breeze wasn’t traumatizing enough, now not only did I bleed all over the chair, the floor and probably the doctor, but they were yelling and berating one another as they struggled to clean my mess and make sure that I was properly plugged. “Make yourself comfortable” my ass. That was the opposite of the “simple and generally painless” procedure that both the internet and my regular OBGYN told me it would be.

They finally managed to stop the bleeding and collected their tools and science-experiment jars and left as I slowly made my way towards the bathroom to put my clothes back on and give myself a good hug. As a comedian with a hard exterior due to years of bullying and self-esteem issues, I find it easy to laugh off even the most traumatizing situations nowadays, but, even as humorously as I recite it to you now, it definitely left a scar. I won’t lie, my palms actually began to sweat as I read through the step-by-step list of colposcopy procedures to fact-check for this article, having Vietnam-type flashbacks to the incident. At least I know that if I ever have to go through anything like that again, there’s no way it could be nearly as bad as this. (RIGHT?) Oh, and for the record, the colposcopy came back normal so, traumatizing and uncomfortable as it was, at least this story had a happy ending.

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