My ER Doctor Had Clearly Never Seen A Vagina, Dropped The Speculum, And Asked For Directions

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bad gyno

Forgive me—this is a long story, and primarily concerned with my right ovary.

As a sophomore in college in the spring of 2008, I woke my boyfriend up by punching him in the left shoulder and crying hysterically. Out of nowhere, I had been overcome by a stabbing, throbbing pain in my lower abdomen. Jordan calmly walked across the street to our friends’ house and asked to borrow their car. When he came back from across the street, he suddenly looked stricken and panicked. I had turned the light on to try to find my shoes, and he could now see me doubled over trying to locate a moccasin. Later he told me how pale I had looked–he could see every vein in my face. “You didn’t look particularly human,” he later said. No man has ever made me feel so beautiful.

After the requisite paperwork, a kind nurse named Ellen ushered me into a cubicle with a shower curtain surrounding it and helped me onto a hospital bed with a folded gown on it, which I soon discovered was essentially a paper sack lined with a Hefty trash bag. I insisted on keeping my bra and underwear on, and also that Jordan hold my hand awkwardly through the bed railing.

We stayed in silence, me fussing with my plastic wrap dress and Jordan trying to ignore that his wrist was twisted inhumanly, until the shower curtain was ripped back to reveal my new arch nemesis: Dr. Rick.

“Hey, I’m Dr. Rick!” he yelled. He had a carabineer with keys and Oakley sunglasses attached to his pocket. He bounced more than walked and shook my hand unconvincingly. He tried to initiate that bro handshake-hug scenario with Jordan, completely catching him off-guard. Do remember that Jordan’s left wrist was at this moment threaded through the metal bars holding my hand, so the bro hug became Dr. Rick hugging Jordan, who slumped towards him.

“So I hear we’re having some abdominal pain.”
“It’s not a stomach pain,” I said, pointing to below my belly button on the right side. “Is there, by any chance, a female doctor available?”
“Nope! It’s just me tonight. Well, let’s check out your stomach and see if that’s not causing it.”

He prodded at my stomach through my gown and asked if I’ve been particularly stressed with school, and, you know, everything. Friends, drama, boys. I shook my head and gripped Jordan’s hand as Dr. Rick jabbed his fingers below my navel. I shrieked wildly, while he dumbly asked “And does that hurt?”

“Alright, I’m going to need to get in there and do a pelvic.” A pelvic exam, for those readers who have never had the pleasure, is the main thrust of the regular gynecological check up. I will summarize by saying that it’s sort of like stuffing a chicken to check for cervical cancer. Dr. Rick started to crack his knuckles and stretch out his shoulders–the exact image of a roided-up asshole at my 24 Hour Fitness.

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