(Very Important Preface: If your gender happens to be male, you might want to skip this post. Consider yourself warned!)
I think I might be a little bit paranoid, health-wise. I don't want anything big, bad, and/or ugly creeping up on me, so I do all the little medical things you're supposed to do as a woman. You know, the monthly exams in the shower, and making sure to see the gynecologist once a year. Once a year like a freaking calendar. I never miss seeing the GYN. Except last year, it sort of got away from me. And by the time I just very desperately needed to visit mine (which would be, you know, right this second), he was booked out for three weeks. And I couldn't wait for three weeks. So I agreed to see the new doctor in his office. Almost not a big deal, because once you've delivered four babies, pretty much all your modesty about your girly parts has fled.
Or so I thought.
One thing I like about my doctor's practice is that before they ask you to take off all your clothes and replace them with the oh-so-comforting paper gown, you have a little sit-down in the doctor's private office, where he's got photos of his family, and all his medical books carefully arranged on very tasteful and expensive bookshelves, and the other photos give you a hint to his hobbies. Since I've been seeing my doctor for nearly fifteen years now, we're nearly like old friends, but I examined the photos of this new doctor carefully. Hmmmm....he looks vaguely familiar. Huhn.
Then he comes in, we do the little chat, I share my symptoms and other embarrassing body stuff with this complete stranger who looks vaguely familiar, and then I make my way into the other room. The one with the paper gown waiting on the table. I do what I always do: hide my underwear underneath the pile of my clothes, which I fold and carefully place on the leather chair next to the examination table because hello: yeah, the doctor will be seeing me now, but I wouldn't want him to see my underwear. THAT would be embarrassing. The doctor steps in, the nurse steps in, the door is closed, the fun begins. Wheeee! Only this time, due to my symptoms and need to see the doctor right now, I also get the very thrilling experience of a uterine biopsy.
But this is not a post about gynecological thrills and horrors. (I'm certain you're all relieved.) Oh no. It is, as with a good 23% of my blog, a post about high school thrills and horrors. Because as the torture started, I needed a topic to discuss that would take my mind off the internal digging that was happening, so I started talking about running. (Remember: photos in the office give clues to the doctor's hobbies, and he'd had a photo from the St. George Marathon.) Which lead to a discussion of the merits of the half marathon, which led to him telling me his favorite is the Hobble Creek Half, which brought us to the realization that we'd both graduated from the same high school. He was a senior when I was a sophomore, and hello, could it get anymore surreal than that, because now he's digging around in my girly parts, rattling off names of his friends from high school. Names of guys. Guys I knew. But guys who never would have known me. A whole roster of Very Popular Guys.
OK. Could we drop this topic and start discussing something a little less humiliating? Like, how are things going down there where you are?
Because, you know, there were all these clues he was dropping in regards to his position in the high school caste system, and the generally polite thing to do was to start dropping my own hints. Regale him with tales of my cheerleading days at the old alma mater, etc. Rah rah rah. Except for the tiny little fact that none of my tales are worth repeating to a former Popular Guy. Especially one who's digging around in my innards. And any names I could swap with him would be of people who were infamous, not popular. Oh, even better, now he's wondering if I'm going to go to my high school reunion next year. Hey! Do you have a little salt to toss on those wounds you're making down there? Because i think that might be a little less painful than imagining me attending my high school reunion. If, that was, I even got invited to my high school reunions. Which I don't, as I didn't attend my senior year of high school. (My "walk" for graduation amounted to the fifty feet or so between my front door and the mailbox. Throw your hat up in the air for glee!) How might I sum up the three years of high school Iexperienced to someone who doesn't know the redeeming qualities I've managed to accumulate as an adult? What can I say to a former popular guy (who, blessedly, I still don't remember) about my former pathetic-ness?
It's a fairly odd position to be in: dressed in a paper gown, clutching a paper pillow in an attempt to not move while digging ensues, knees flung out to the corners, toes curling over the stirrups, and the roll call of names slicing through nineteen years of living and brings back up to the very forefront of my psyche the teenager I used to be. Awkward and angry and socially inept and very much on the outside of things. My adult persona crumpled underneath my clothes on the leather chair next to the examination table, right next to my underwear. That surge of memories completely undresses me and I find myself naked in front of this doctor in a way he could never imagine. In a way that he, luckily, cannot see.
Because I managed to clothe my naked psyche with a few tattered jokes. I managed not to cry at finding my old self in such an odd position. I managed to survive the uterine biopsy andnot melt down completely in front of the doctor. Managed, in fact, to tell him to say hello to his cousin's sister-in-law, who was in my grade. (Not that she'd remember me. Or, not that she'd remember me with any beneficence.) Of course, I did bawl for a few minutes once I got out to the car, wrestling with that feeling: just who, exactly, am I? Uncertain again if I've ever managed to grow up, really, or if deep down I'm still that lonely sixteen-year-old dressed in black clothes and tough boots. If I've ever really fit in anywhere.
What I am certain of, though: Next time, when I need to see the doctor, I'm waiting until I can see my doctor, no matter how desperate I am. Someone else can see the new guy.