I loved my former gynecologist, who was cute, smart, and laughed in all the right places. She once even agreed–eagerly, I might add–to take pictures during my exam in case I needed some for my blog, and you can’t put a price tag on that, although they might have been worth something thirty years ago.
So just as soon as you get a doctor you really, really like, what happens? She treats you for twenty-five years and then up and quits on you. Was it something I said? Something I might have emitted under pressure? Either way, I needed a new doctor.
And it’s not like choosing a plumber or a mechanic, most of whom don’t charge for the breast exam. It’s a special relationship. You don’t generally shake hands with someone you’re meeting for the first time and then wing out your knees and say “check this out.” In the 70’s, sure, but not these days.
They usually talk to you while they’re spelunking away, but I’m not always paying attention to their actual words; I’m listening for an echo, and as long as I don’t hear one, I figure everything’s okay. Or close enough. I do have a sorority of fibroids that have been living rent-free in my abdomen for a number of years, and that was a concern. My new doctor hadn’t met them personally, so I thought she might subject them to a scolding or something, and I’d have to rush to their defense. “Oh those,” I’d say. “No, they’re okay. We have an understanding. They don’t sit on my bladder, and I don’t have them cut out.”
Fibroids are something that nobody tells you about until the day they’re poking around and say, casually, stripping off a latex glove, “looks like you have some fibroid tumors in there,” and by “in there” they mean “down there,” and by fibroid tumors they mean–what, exactly? Do I have one foot in the stirrup and the other in the grave?
My gynecologist could have called them fibroids, as most people do, allowing me to imagine I had a belly full of breakfast cereal of some kind, but she–the one, come to think of it, that I liked so well–clearly said “tumors,” and didn’t act too concerned about them at all, which made sense inasmuch as they were in me and not in her. And, once she expounded on the topic a little, and revealed how common they were, and how cancerous they weren’t, I did begin to relax. Still, anything growing inside my person that I have not made personally out of beer falls under the category of “unauthorized,” and I don’t approve of it.
The theory goes that you don’t do anything about fibroids unless they’re getting unruly or keeping the neighbors up, because by the time menopause comes barreling through and runs off with your estrogen, their infrastructure is likely to collapse and cause them to shrink, in much the way tax cuts cause bridges to fall down.
Anyway, my fibroids and I have come to a truce over the years, and I didn’t want to upset them by introducing them to a brand new doctor, but there was nothing for it: she was going in, and that was that. I needn’t have worried. She met the sorority; I believe she may even have shook hands, and all was well. I was informed, without echo, that I now have “pale tissues,” which is a normal consequence of the eviction of estrogen, along with chin whiskers and an inability to give a shiny shit what other people think of you. I argued that the paleness could be put down to my Norwegian heritage, but she said no. Apparently, the bloom of youth is not solely on one’s cheeks.
Things were going so well that I went ahead and told the new doctor all about concerns I have about gynecologically irrelevant areas of my body, chiefly my head, and mentioned my fainting incident. “I guess it was a loss of blood pressure due to a combination of giving blood, having a beer, and standing under hot shower water,” I explained. My new doctor frowned and shook her head.
“I don’t think the beer had anything to do with it,” she said.
I love my new doctor.
Finding a new doctor is indeed a chore that I recently endured. The previous doctor understood me and my allergies and finally accepted the notion that my allergies didn't take to pussy footing around….they needed to be killed dead with high powered allergy killers. My new doctor is slowly learning this. Maybe after my second visit within two weeks will help convince him.
It sounds like your new gyno is catching on pretty quick.
Good to find a doctor who doesn't blame everything on the beer. And hey, I had a "good to know" moment there.
It's hard to find doctors in our little section of the world. You try to find one that is much younger than yourself in the hopes that their practice will outlive you.
"spelunking" – ha! Now I'm never going to be able to have a pelvic exam without laughing. And I am so glad to have an answer to the age old question: "How are tax cuts like menopause?" It's been bothering me for a while.
I got a new doctor at the beginning of the year, and he's my first male doctor in two decades. He also looks like he's sixteen and a nerd, so I find him quite a bit of fun. But I do miss my gyno from Boulder.
Love your pictures. Leave it to you to get THAT last picture. I laughed out loud.
I'm on that rockin' roller coaster "peri-menopausal", the ride with flashes of "How much do I care? Check out my middle finger." Although I've made impressive advances in "I don't give a shiny shit." That's a good thing given the irony of chin hairs coupled with the diminishing ability to see them. Beer helps.
I'm not entirely sure what to expect on this wild ride. When I report a new symptom to my doctor, she simply smiles and says "It gets better." Is she being sarcastic or what?
So far your blog has the best information.
Spelunking? Listening for the echo? Scuze me while I clean up after the cats. My bray of laughter scared the shit out of them. Hope you gave the medic your blog address.
I am racing towards my mid-60s (what will I win?) and I find that there are more and more things that I don't give a "shiny shit" about. And it's nice to have an official term to apply to them. Thank you ever so.
Loved your post, as always. But y'all have it all wrong. They're not chin hairs, my dear. They're stray eyebrows.
My doctor refuses to prescribe my allergy meds until he gets to look at my hoo-haw. I told him to hire another female physician and I'd be happy to get an exam. It's been a long eight years without my meds. And my epi-pen is long past expired. But seriously, what the heck does my hoo-haw have to do with my sinuses, lungs, and propensity for anaphylactic shock if I eat raw plants??
Oh man, Susan, I never put it together before. Of course they are. My eyebrows have been sneaking off for years, but I never figured out where they ganged up.
Ah yes, Djan, that was my former doctor. She took some of the pictures that day herself, but you'll not see them here.
Thanks, Cognitive. I try to put a lot of good scienterrific information in here. And here's what you need to know about menopause: you'll get a new symptom every week, and some of them will make you think you're dying, but you're not. I even got myself checked into the ER with monitors plugged into my chest and they couldn't figure out what it was. My friend pointed right at me when I got home and said: "menopause." Take it to the bank.
Poor Jerry! What kind of allergies need to be nuked? Aw.
Gee, Kat, it sounds more like your doctor is trying to scratch his own itch.
It is such a kick to read you saying all the things I would write about growing old(er), if I had the words, and the talent, and the wonderful twisted outlook with which you are blessed! Thanks for my morning laugh!
No one commented on the title, which is of course a pun.
Love this! What really resonated with me was the part about…meeting someone new, shaking hands, and then <> Sigh….there are still times when I sorely miss the '70's. (No pun intended.)
i don't like my gynecologist. he's a dweeby little man, who has repeatedly recommended removal of my 'original equipment from the manufacturer'. i say "no" and tell him to scrape the damn cervix and get out.
not a healthy patient/doctor relationship. i think i love your new doc. does she travel?
Here we do everything through the GP. Only if there's an issue will we get sent on to the specialists and the GP picks them.
I like my gynecologist a great deal too, thankfully. I also like your writing a great deal and am very glad to have found this place. Spelunking! Hahahahahaha!
Please clone your gynecologist. Get the clones to set up practise as general practioners, allergists, hell clone enough so you have all the medical arenas covered. Suggest that you will be happy with a dollar kick back from each visit and settle back on your money stuffed sofas. Good doctors are much, much rarer than hen's teeth.
Kat — Why would a general practitioner want to look at your lady bits, especially when they have nothing to do with allergies? That sounds very strange.
"The theory goes that you don't do anything about fibroids unless they're getting unruly or keeping the neighbors up …"
If your fibroids are so noisy that they're keeping the neighbors up, you need an exorcist, not a gynecologist!
"I do have a sorority of fibroids that have been living rent-free in my abdomen for a number of years, and that was a concern."
Oh! No wonder fibroids keep the neighbors up! They're sorority girls!
Wondering if I could get up to Oregon for an exam…it'd be my luck to book on QANTAS, then have the whole damn' fleet grounded again!
Dinahmow, do y'all have special doctors to look at your pouches?
Ahab: word. I'd speak to the landlord, but I AM the landlord.
Elephant, I've had good gynecologists going back to good ol' Dr. Mengele-it was something like Mengele, anyway–but I am very fortunate to have not needed many doctors. Yes, I do know how lucky I am.
Daisyfae, OBGYNs who are also surgeons are forever offering to remove this or that or cut around a bit or shorten things or strap things up…they're doers, meddlers, waterbreakers, interventionists. It's very odd to have someone suggest that you simply turn in this organ that (by the way) secretes hormones that (by the way) allow you to sleep and trivial little things like that. Almost as odd as taking a photo through one's knees, and having a doctor willing to pose with a kind of evil grin on her face. Almost. Only you, Murre. Only you!
You have offered me insights into a realm no man will ever know, other than via admiration. I mean, what guy knows and appreciates what happens in a gynecological examination? And some of us care, we really do. At least we should. It's not all recreation area.
"One foot in the stirrup and the other in the grave": *SNORT*
In Canuckistan, our GPs do this spelunking. We only go to the gynies when the stalactites and stalagmites become ominous. Thank heavens my GP is a she. Kat's allergist sounds really, really iffy.
I can't stop laughing at the fact that you asked your OBGYN if you could take pictures for the blog. That's hilarious. My GP is also my spelunker. Since I don't have a GP at the moment, my cave is going unspelunked, at least for now.
Oh Julie, when I wanted the mammogram tech to take photos, she couldn't back away fast enough.
Thank you, mrwriteon. You sure talk a good game, and that's important.
Tiffin and Steph, I figure if the doctor doesn't flinch when the bats fly out, she'll probably do fine.
And can we all agree Kat's allergist sounds really, really iffy?
Oh, I am not the only one with a 14 year old doctor. It is quite unnerving to have a child in their spelunking away, as you say (quite creatively, I might add). I am in the midst of locating a specialist physician-a very difficult undertaking…no, wait, that's not the word I wanted….a difficult job, there,that's better.
You may not have wanted "undertaking," always, but I'm not sure "job" is what you're after either…although…
Anonymous: If it is any consolation, I couldn't get past the subject/title, either. Took me DAYS to get back to the blog, waiting until the tears of unadulterated punnitude cleared from my eyes in order to read it.
Who knew anyone could write a great post abut gynecology!! I love it.
I love that your doc let you take pics in the exam room. Hilarious!
Thank you so much, for I do believe you've sorted out my Whole Problem!
Subsequent to being spelunked at an Air Force Base hospital (where they do it in combat boots) at age 36, I was entirely excavated and post-surgically subjected to an estrogen-free year of hell. Having survived that without jail time, I got mare's piss in pill form to prevent homicidal tendencies for the next 25 years.
And then, on the basis of some spurious research, they yanked those pills away from me and everyone else in my condition and substituted a tiny little clear plastic patch of something supposedly "bio-identical." Which does not translate as "effective", I've discovered. Just when everybody else my age is getting past symptoms of menopause, my skin is crawling, my ears flame a fine shade of fuschia, #OWS could stay in business for a week on the heat I generate, and those homicidal tendencies have shown up again.
My Dr. Jekyll has gone totally Mrs. Hyde and I hadn't put that together with those little sticky bits of plastic. It's a fur piece to travel, but I like your new doctor, too. Is she still accepting new patients?
I like your doc too. Can I have her?
Murr, this paragraph had me chuckling out loud:
And it's not like choosing a plumber or a mechanic, most of whom don't charge for the breast exam.
You are perfect for a lazy Sunday morning.
You'll have something wrong with you every week, and you'll think you're dying, but you aren't.
Sounds like me! Thanks for the laugh.
This post left me speechless. And then I looked back at the picture of your doctor, and thought, that's it! That's what I want to say!
No, 'tain't fair, and there should be a law that all the stuff that goes along with being a woman is tax free.
Where else will get they get the man power to run their wars?
Murr, you're even hilarious flat on you back with your feet in the stirrups…if I may be so bold as to say so.
Dan. That was supposed to be our little secret.
I don't remember what my life was like without these snort-worthy stories…
did you know what a murmuration is? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vhE8ScWe7w I heard the name and thought of you. Eileen Belanger
Thanks for thinking of me, Eileen! But you'll have to get in line. At least a dozen people have sent me that link this week. I think it's a nice variation on people sending me stories about poop. And if you want to Google "Murrmurrs" and "murmuration," you'll discover I wrote about it in 2009. Why anyone would look at a world as wonderful as this one and feel the need to invent heaven, I'll never know.
As you probably intuit, even though I apparently never give enough of a shiny shit to comment, I really take great pleasure in your blog. Mostly, I'm pleased to read a blog that is so excellent that I have even less incentive to bother writing anything over at mine, which I seem to have abandoned like a baby at a firehouse.
Interesting the things that shrink and grow with menopause. With menopause, breast cysts also shrink, unless you're taking thyroid medication in which case they can grow large in new locations on your breasts (no small feat, given the dinky body mass I'm referring to). I found this new-to-me information fascinating right after I got over the panic attack at being re-called for further diagnosis following my annual mammogram last week. And then I made some ridiculous felt object that most closely resembled Venus of Willendorf but, retired after a full career as a psychotherapist, I never made the connection. And then the transformation to bushtit nests…and so it goes.
Thanks for making me laugh out loud- it feels good.
Clever woman, your new doc.
I think that the two of you, and the sorority, will get along just fine.
"You don't generally shake hands with someone you're meeting for the first time and then wing out your knees and say "check this out." In the 70's, sure, but not these days."
Ha! Thanks for a coffee-spitting moment. And thanks for stopping by over at Lighten Up! Come on back sometime – I'll save you a beer for the shower.
"Tain't Fair" followed almost immediately by the word "gynecologist" — priceless! Sometimes I think you're trying to kill me 😉
I seriously didn't know that my fibroids were tumors. Now I have to revisit that time of my life 20 years ago and get hysterical.
Tardy hysteria is better than no hysteria at all. "Hysteria," of course, is derived from the Greek word for womb, which is the seat of all unsanity, as the Greeks would have us believe.
And they're right. Oh lordy, are they right. But at least we don't launch wars.
Only you can somehow segue from fibroid tumors to bridges falling down Brewster. Well done. I hear they've got an opening for an opinion mister at 60 Minutes.
BTW… Did you ever hear the old Wildman joke about his 25th wedding anniversary only this time it was him jumping out of bed saying… on second thought, nevermind.
Again, Mr. Charleston nails it. You'd be perfect for "60 Minutes".
Many thanks again.
Now that's my kind of gyno. I love mine–been with her for years–travel all the way to Boston just to see her. She's the doc who told me that the yeast in beer was good to drink while I was nursing the two muses. OK, then! Who wouldn't want to go back to that doc?
More recently, she was initiated into my cyst sorority. That one's a good time, too. Bring it on, menopause! 😉
Omg, I cannot believe your ob/gyn let you take her photo, let alone from the exam table. Gawd, you're funny. And regarding starlings (I have two pet starlings so anything about starlings gets my attention), this video is a good one too…