I am on a deadline and working madly. As in: I am a Mad Woman.
I will write a new blog soon.
This column entry is from my book “The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life.”
Back to my scribbling…
And you! Go and get that Pap Smear!
A Life Coach Tells You How to Live it
By Madeline O’Shea
On Friday I got my pap smear.
To say that I don’t like getting pap smears is like I saying I don’t like hanging upside down from my heels in an underground dungeon in Saudi Arabia being whipped because my hair showed in public. Not to equate the two, but you get the gist.
There are a myriad of reasons for my almost pathological distaste for this particular medical infringement, but I do it anyway.
Why? For my health.
In my doctor’s office, I slip into the blue and white cotton sheath thing. The back opens so my bottom is out and about, wriggling on its own, my boobs unfettered by a bra. I read the gossip magazines while perched up on that brown padded table, something I never do because it is a waste of time and because the women look eerily, intimidatingly perfect. They are not perfect. Anyone with an army of professionally trained stylists, the exact lighting, and a photo shop crew can look wowza, trust me on this one. Still. The magazine women make other women feel ugly.
My doctor looks a bit like a crane. He is a benevolent crane, tall and lanky, with eyes like a giraffe, if a giraffe had blue eyes. Dr. Crane ambles in on spindly legs and we chit chat, but it is not long before he is asking me to lie back, spread ‘em, and put my feet in cold, silver stirrups. One day those stirrups will come to life and grab the feet of many a startled woman, I kid you not.
“You’re going to have to slide to the edge of the table,” Dr. Crane says, and he laughs. I imagine his crane wings spreading out behind him.
“No.” I am laying down, but I don’t yet feel like hanging my bare butt over the edge of a table so my lotus flower can be explored with cold metal salad tongs and pokey things.
He laughs. “Come on, Madeline, this won’t hurt.” He snaps on gloves.
I am sweating.
The nurse and the doctor wriggle me on down. The nurse has muscles.
“Let’s put your feet in the stirrups now, Madeline,” Dr. Crane says, like a cheerleader. “You can do it!”
“Let’s stab forks into my body first,” I tell him. “That sounds more relaxing.”
He laughs, he lifts my knees, I bring them, down, he brings them up, and puts my heels in the stirrups. I squeeze my knees together, tight, like a clamp. A vagina clamp.
Dr. Crane laughs. Then he and the smiling nurse start using the pap language. “Pass me the spatula,” he says cheerily.
The spatula? I think of something that flips pancakes.
He asks for some other tool, too. It sounds like he’s asking for An Inserter. He shows me this groovy long thing that is going to do the job. He’s so excited about his new vaginal toy. It is plasticky and definitely doesn’t belong in me. Maybe you. But not me. I slam my knees shut again.
“I don’t think I need a pap,” I tell him, and try to get up.
Dr. Crane thinks I’m so funny! “Aw, come on now, it’s not so bad!”
The nurse smiles and pushes me down again.
“If someone wanted to look up your thingie with a spatula, you wouldn’t like it, either, buddy.”
Dr. Crane laughs again.
My knees are shaking. I stare up at the ceiling. Please tell me why doctors have not gotten smart enough to create a “woman’s ceiling,” where there are pictures of Jimmy Smits, so that you can gaze at him when a doctor is using a spatula and salad tongs on your lotus flower. Surely this would be more relaxing than counting ceiling holes?
“I need Jimmy Smits,” I whisper.
Dr. Crane laughs.
“Me, too!” the chipper nurse chips out.
“No, I’m serious. I need Jimmy Smits.”
“I’ll warm things up!” Dr. Crane says, still so cheerful even though he spends much of his day peering up women’s woo – woos. “No one wants them cold! No one wants anything icy there!”
The salad tongs do their job, up and up, until I think they’ll poke out my nose.
The doctor is using a mini flashlight to peer up my lotus flower. “It looks splendid in there!”
For heaven’s sakes.
Next it is time for test tube like things and cotton swabs and, drum roll, my favorite: The pelvic exam! Think: Gloves!
You might wonder what my pap smear has to do with my telling you how to get your act together. Ladies, your health is your business. Your health is your top priority. If you’re not healthy everything falls apart: Your body, your mental outlook, your attitude, your job, your marriage, your relationship with kids and family. Your sex life. Save your sex life at all costs.
So, from me, the meanest life coach in the world, get your “health – act” together. Get you together. You can’t plan for your future, focus on a promotion, get creative ideas, or start a new business if your health is in shambles. Exercise that bod. Eat healthy stuff. Get your pap smear.
And if you can get Jimmy Smits to come with you and hang from the ceiling while smiling, all the better. If not, bring a picture of his face and hold it above your head when the doctor is using a flashlight and a pancake flipper on your lotus flower.