Pregnancy

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

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Dr. Rick told me that it was hospital policy for a female nurse to be in the room during pelvic exams performed by male doctors. He brought in Ellen, who was very clearly the calmest person in the room. It dawned on me that Dr. Rick was nervous. He was psyching himself up to the point where Jordan gave him a quick “You okay, man?”

“Nah man, feelin’ good.” This is a real statement spoken by a (questionably) real doctor in relation to examining my vagina.

Before Dr. Rick could get started, an extremely elderly phlebotomist wheeled in a cart of blood, and announced he had to take a vial or ten from my arm. He was unsuccessful at finding a vein on my arm, and was a caricature of a doddering senior citizen in need of retaking his drivers’ test. At this point, Jordan passed out while watching the phlebotomist poke at my arm for thirty seconds, so there was quite the hoopla involving finding him a chair and some orange juice. Once Jordan was resting comfortably, Ellen pityingly and gently moved the phlebotomist out of the way and quickly took some blood from my arm. The phlebotomist, perhaps embarrassed by his poor performance, berated me as I was being drained for having “VERY DIFFICULT VEINS, YOU KNOW THAT?” He truly had such a way of speaking that it felt like reading an all-caps comment on a website dedicated to debunking the moon landing.

To recap: I was experiencing an unfamiliar and searing pain in my lower abdomen. My emergency room cubicle was crowded with the following:

Dr. Rick, now jogging in place and doing a breathing exercise,
Jordan, sipping orange juice with a straw and slumped in a chair,
Ellen, the nurse, tending to Jordan,
the angry phlebotomist, counting his blood vials,
and me in a Hefty bag.

Once we got up and running with the pelvic exam, things deteriorated quickly. I won’t hesitate to tell you that Dr. Rick had to ask Ellen for directions no less than three times during my pelvic exam. At one point I asked him if he had ever seen a vagina before, either professionally or in his personal life. His answer was inconclusive, and then he dropped the speculum on the floor.

“It’s likely that this is an STI,” said Dr. Rick to my vagina. Ever since my underwear came off, Dr. Rick found himself unable to make eye contact. My blood and/or urine (I’m not sure) were sent off for testing, and Dr. Rick made a big show of taking off his gloves, sauntered over, and squatted next to me. We were almost at eye level–he was lower. Dr. Rick looked extremely proud of himself for negotiating my vagina with such aplomb.

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