Open Wide

In Columns, Just My Bellybutton, Opinion by Nathasha Alvarez

open wide

Ask a woman how her appointment went at the dentist and she will talk your ear off. Ask her how it went at the gynecologist and she clams up or whispers her experience to her closest friends.

I guess there is something to be secretive about when a man you barely know tells you to get completely undressed, lay back, spread your legs and allow him to have a peek at your vagina!

There! I said it! I feel liberated now!!!

That was pretty much what happened to me recently when I went for a routine check up which was way overdue. Oh say about seven years overdue! Most women I know hate going to the gynecologist unless they want to get pregnant and that is far, far, far from my list of things to do.

But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

I make the appointment for the gynecologist, get a phone call confirming the appointment and I am informed that the doctor’s partner will be attending me.

So I ask the secretary on the phone if these two gynecologists take turns or is it whomever is available?

Yes, I was a little snippy! I am not on display for the whole world to see and on top of that I was being charged $30 co- payment for the peek! Please! Give me a break!

When I get there, I wait and wait forever! Then they tell me that I have to go the bathroom. I didn’t think I had to go to the bathroom but the nurse said that once the doctor starts to examine me I might feel I have to go so it is better to go before he starts to examine.

Fine and dandy except that the office doesn’t have an accessible bathroom. I take the elevator to the second floor, go to the bathroom and return to the office.

Once I enter the examining room, I am greeted by an extremely high examination chair or table with stirrups that are covered with little socks. How cute!


It has now become my second challenge to climb up to the examination chair. I have to stand on the wheelchair and then lift myself up to the chair. 

ach department phoneto the chair. Once that dangerous feat has been performed, I am given a paper dress and told to remove all of my clothing.

The gynecologist comes in 10 minutes or so later, tells me his name and goes straight for my breasts! Good grief! Sounds like the guys I dated in middle school!

After the breast examination from which he tells me nothing positive or negative, he asks me lie down and proceeds to grab me from the ankles and pull me off the table!

Hello! Even the people in the circus have a net under them to catch them if they fall!

That’s when I realized how happy I was that I was in a hospital with the emergency room nearby. I thought for sure this gynecologist was going to drop me!

The gynecologist directs me to spread my legs, umm… you won’t get a joke out of me on that one.

But then he wants it wider!

Okay, here I draw the line! I told him if I could spread them wider I would be a gymnast and I am not!

I would think that he would notice that I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta and that there is only so much I can do with my body.

To say that the examination went smoothly afterwards would be a lie! The gynecologist prodded me with something cold and hard to get a pap smear from me. I don’t even like the way it sounds, “pap smear”. Yuck!

So I left the gynecologist  with an appointment to get a sonogram later on this month because he wants to get a better looksy there!

Oh goody! I can’t wait!

Now I know why I waited seven years to go the gynecologist. It was a personal visit done in an impersonal way.

Yes, it is a necessary evil but does it really have to be this way?

Couldn’t they have an examining table that moves up and down?

Couldn’t they tell you what they are going to do you before they do it?

Couldn’t they give you more fashionable clothing?

Couldn’t they make you feel a little more comfortable than grabbing your breasts and asking you to spread your legs?


Are you like me? Do you dread going to certain doctors? Tell me about it!

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