I had no intention of writing about the following, but a good friend suggested it, and I've (sort of) warmed to the idea. If you're male, you may want to move along - nothing to see here.
Last week, I finally had a long overdue check-up. A simple enough procedure, but of the variety that I think most women put off doing.
First of all, a nurse ushered me into her little office to check my blood pressure, weight, height, and ask all the routine health-related questions.
Next, I was led to the consultation room to wait for the doctor. I was told to get undressed, put one of those backless gowns on, and that the doctor would be there shortly. Having never worn such a gown in either Australia or the UK, I'd always thought they existed solely for American TV shows and movies. I first realised I was wrong about that when the Faery had to have a paediatric physical in order to attend preschool last year. She was four, and they produced a mini backless gown for her to change into. Really? That, right there, seemed like an OTT moment to me.
So, naked under my medical-centre-issued gown, I waited. The doctor arrived, and told me she just needed to wait for the nurse to come and assist. For a pap smear? Really?
The nurse arrived, wheeling an entire tray full of shiny implements. Really?
The doctor instructed me to get on the bed, and place my feet in the stirrups. REALLY?
It's not like I'm afraid of stirrups, but I've had this procedure done numerous times, had countless pregnancy check-ups, given birth twice... and never once saw a pair of medical stirrups. It felt so... unnecessary. OTT.
The Aussie equivalent of this procedure involves half-stripping, hopping onto the bed for the doctor, the doctor tells you to pop your heels on the bed's corners, shuffle your bum as close as possible to the edge of the bed, take a deep breath... and... then it's over and done with. Relax. No assistant on standby.
The British version (yep, I've been around the world where pap smears are concerned) is pretty much the same, except they call it a smear test, and registered nurses are also able to perform the procedure.
This American version? OTT, if you ask me. I guess the backless gowns could be interpreted as an attempt to provide some dignity by protecting one's modesty.... but then the stirrups go and do away with any sense of dignity.
An interesting aside - in Australia, pap smears are recommended every two years. In the UK, every three years. In the US, it's recommended every year. I wonder what the stats are for rates of cervical cancer in each country, and just how much difference yearly, versus every two years, versus every three years really makes.
At any rate, at least I can now cross this off my very long to-do list...