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Another doctor's visit...

Posted Thursday, January 17, 2008, at 8:43 PM

Ok, I've learned from experience not to leave ink pens lying about and I've learned that Comet works on some stains, but not all (see previously posted "Dr.'s Visit" to fully comprehend this statement). But I finally addressed another aspect of doctor-going that came to light a few years ago…one that I never could quite figure out how to approach with a response, until this week.

It seems that when a post-meno woman appears for her annual exam, in particular a post-meno woman who happens to be single, one of the questions that is annually asked prior to the raising of the stirrups and the annual thorough humiliation (I believe there's a better way, but doctors are just not willing to reveal it 'cause they enjoy the humiliation aspect of it all, at least the male doctors. There is likely a simple blood test available that would reveal the same results as the dreaded pap, but there is a well-kept Conspiracy Theory (good movie, by the way…Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson) at work that keeps that under wraps, unlike we are for that period of time.

Anyway, sorry..got off track..not out of the stirrups, mind you…just off track. The doctor is question persists annually in inquiring, in his quite delightful English/Indian accent, "Are you sexually active?"

The first time I was asked this, I was really tempted to turn it around and simply ask, "Are you?" I refrained, however, and credited it to what tiny bit of dignity I still had left while dangling in the cold metal devices extending skyward like eagles wings, minus the feathers.

This year, however, I was ready, and sure enough, several minutes into the appointment, he popped the question. He was looking down at his chart making continuing notes as I responded to the various questions…do you take calcium daily…yep…do you exercise? (sure, I lifted my hand to my mouth to take the calcium, didn't I?)…Do I try to cut fat?…Sure, I cut it off the chicken right before I deep fry it…Do I walk daily?…yep, to the freezer for another Skinny Cow (actually, that would constitute three daily walks)….Are you sexually active? Hmmmmmmm…..a lull in the conversation, long enough that he had to finally look up from his clipboard and as he did, he sighted me holding up my left sleeve with my right hand to examine my watch with my head fairly cocked to one side. When he looked at me with those dark eyebrows raised in anticipation of an answer to his question, I replied, "Hmmmm, not yet, but the day is young!" I'm afraid his forehead may be bruised from hitting the clipboard. I must remember to check on his well being later.

This is a true story and the names have not been changed to protect the innocent. There are no innocent. The guy who invented those cold stirrups took it.

Minnie o'

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

OMG-I hate that question,but it reminds me of the first time my older sister and I really bonded.

When my Mom took me to my first visit,she explained what was going to happen,and thank goodness my big sister,Her Majesty,told me about THE question I would be asked in front of my Mom! How embarrassing (for my Mom),as I lay in wait,shivering,mustering all my teenage stupidity.

When I was asked "that" question, I looked as naive as any teen girl can and asked the doctor, "What's that, like kissing?" He looked like he wanted to RUN when I asked my super embarrassed Mom,"What's he talking about?"

She started stuttering (I am so NOT kidding) "You know what he's talking about,you know sex between a boy and a girl, I explained it to you".

"I have gym three times a week or are you talking about my monthly friend?" then my Mom "NO I AM NOT-stop acting like you don't know, I told you about this,didn't I?" I still to this day, believe it is one of those questions that is totally fine to be asked on a questionaire,no need to repeat it in person,if I'm not late or asking about STD's,just take my word for it! I won't forget Minnie's answer,saving it for this year,so he probably won't ask me anything!

Now, the doctor is about to die,and starts mumbling,"Uhmm, I've got a pamphlet that might help" and does the quickest exam known to modern medicine. I NEVER saw him again, his nurse handed me the pamphlet,and we never went back to him again.

I got to have lunch at Hickory Log,it was all worth it.

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 9:23 AM

Girls, girls! Let's do hope the guys avoid this blog like the proverbial plague!! Hahaha!

The very thought of those cold stirrups is exactly what's keeping me from making the appointment. I think surely you must be right about the blood test, Minnie. However, I dislike giving blood every bit as much as I dread the stirrups!

They need to invent some sort of scanner with which they can look at things that they need to see...

If they can put a man on the moon, they can invent a "gynocological scanner."

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 5:56 PM

I'm SO with you, GT. It could be kind of like a geiger counter or a metal detector...just wave the magic wand and find what you're looking for. If the device doesn't emit a beep, beeping sound, you're ok. I'm all for it! By the way, what does being "active" have to do with the dreaded test anyway. Some docs say that if the answer to the question is "no," then the test is only necessary 3-4 years. Someone clear me up on that one.

-- Posted by bringwine on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 6:08 PM

WOW! If that's the truth, then MY gynocologist is certainly keeping it a secret!! I get a reminder every year, without fail.

Maybe each year he thinks, "Well, maybe she's 'active' THIS year..."

Mmm...I think it has more to do with his wanting the money from an office call... What doctor is gonna recommend that his patient NOT come to see him, whether she needs to or not?

I like the "magic wand" idea, but as long as it's primarily men in charge, we aren't gonna see such an innovation for women. I guarantee ya that!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Jan 19, 2008, at 8:06 AM

P.S. - I don't believe that a woman's "activity" has anything to do with her rate of cervical or other cancers, so I don't see how "activity" could be a factor. Of course, HIV or STD's is another matter entirely.

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Jan 19, 2008, at 8:09 AM

OK GL, not that it is a subject that I know absolutely anything about, but I did read on one of the medical pages that activity frequency especially at an early age is a contributing factor. Could be wrong, it is just what I read.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sat, Jan 19, 2008, at 12:08 PM

I.B....(if indeed that is your real name again)...good to see you back. Perhaps at an early age that is a factor, don't know, but at "our" age, can't imagine what the reasoning is there. As much as I dread the thing every year, I'd rather be safe than sorry and just grin and bear it...well, not too much grinning, but considerable bearing.If anyone has any more reasoning out there..do tell. If not, warm up those stirrups at least.

-- Posted by bringwine on Sat, Jan 19, 2008, at 4:18 PM

Now why wouldn't that be my name? Isn't yours bringwine?

Maybe there is a nurse or doctor on here who can provide knowledge. Not that I really should need to know, just curious I guess.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sat, Jan 19, 2008, at 6:34 PM

One would think that the physicians of the world would be flocking to indulge in Minnie's words of wisdom, but perhaps not. Someone needs to inform them that there is more vital info out there than what can be found in those silly medical journals.

-- Posted by bringwine on Sat, Jan 19, 2008, at 6:41 PM

I wonder why a medical specialist would not want to post on a blog? No money maybe? It is a simple thing. Why do they ask the question? Do you think they don't know why?

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sat, Jan 19, 2008, at 10:39 PM

And again....TMI

-- Posted by LUFER on Sun, Jan 20, 2008, at 12:04 AM

Not enough, the next time my wife goes to the doctor if the Doctor asks that question and can't tell her why I want her to find a new doctor. One that actually knows what they are doing.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sun, Jan 20, 2008, at 8:52 AM

Lufer, dear, we love to hear from you (You've been gone too long) - but, for Pete's Sake, if it's "too much information," go read Corey or Sacha's or Madeline's blogs!!! They never talk about trips to the doctor!

You just leave our dear Minnie to her own devices. She knows what she's doing, darlin'!!!

I.B., Ye of the Conventional Wisdom, I have never read that early "activity" caused an increased risk of cancer, but I shall certainly research the topic -- and, Minnie, you can be sure I shall ask my gyno when I see him soon!

Blog on, Girl!!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Jan 20, 2008, at 9:21 AM

Maybe, Maybe I don't know, but it might mean if you are active at an earlier age that you have an increased opportunity for an increased number of partners which increases the chances for contacting the HPV. Right?

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sun, Jan 20, 2008, at 5:46 PM

I.B. you are correct. The risk factors include, but are not limited to...if you have sex before the age of 13, if you have multiple partners before the age of 16 (I believe), and so forth. But as far as how much "activity" you see when you reach an older age, I've never heard any reasoning that this has anything to do w/ anything. I don't believe it does, unless they are looking into how your hormones are functioning w/o going into a deeper, less-liked conversation. That's the only logic I can come up w/. I guess if you're doing it, you feel ok???

They don't ask me if I've had any activity, they ask me if I've had any activity w/ more than one partner...even knowing that I'm married. It's offensive, but they still ask.

But I guess we could either be asked that question, or be asked to turn our head and cough...

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Mon, Jan 21, 2008, at 12:25 AM

Good one,mrsdolphin!

-- Posted by AngelinaJolie on Mon, Jan 21, 2008, at 9:20 AM

Ok I think I understand. If that is the reasoning don't you then think they have to ask if they are evaluating your risk? I know you have seen the statistics about infidelity. That statistic is staggering for both men and women.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Mon, Jan 21, 2008, at 11:08 AM

Which again is true I.B. I do get offended a/b them asking that question...but the only reason I do is b/c they are asking me personally, and it never occurs to me at that time that they ask everyone my age that question. It doesn't matter if you've had one partner, or 20...we're all at risk now days if we have sex at all.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Mon, Jan 21, 2008, at 7:57 PM

I know you may not be as old as me so you may not be able to answer this?

Did you remember this kind of thing going on when you or I were young(er)?

I don't, but I don't know if it is the fact that we have access to medical doctors now, there is actually an increase in problems or we are just made more aware now because of our ability to access information.

I am amazed at the number of women that how are having hystorectomies. I know that couldn't have been going on thirty years ago.

What do you all think?

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Mon, Jan 21, 2008, at 8:36 PM

I am assuming that we are of the approximate age and I do recall many women having hysterectomies in the 60's, but I also recall that it was a hush, hush, thing. I recall when my own mother had hers in the mid-60's, five of the brood were herded off for an extended vacation...something we rarely enjoyed, so it was great as I recall. The thing is, I do remember that she had just undergone this very serious surgery for the times,necessitating a significant recouperation period, but I don't recall her ever missing a beat once we returned home a few days later. Says much for the times...grin and bear it and there are some things that were simply not discussed.

As far as the prevelance of STD's, I believe it was minimal back then. With the sexual revolution came the high incidence of STD's and many single women (and men) are paying the price these days. I'm told that over 30% (I really need to look this stat up) of the single population have been diagnosed with Herpes or some form of STD. Hard to believe, And that's just the SINGLES!!! So, beware, girls (and boys)...enemies lurk within! What is it they say about a pound of prevention...truer words were never spoken!

-- Posted by bringwine on Tue, Jan 22, 2008, at 12:47 AM

...make that an "ounce" of prevention....ooops! Had a blonde AND meno-moment.

-- Posted by bringwine on Tue, Jan 22, 2008, at 3:19 PM

Well I.B., I'm not sure exactly what things you're talking a/b in particular, but I do know this. HPV was apparently a very recent thing. And maybe more hystorectomies seem prevelant for the same reasons as the many diagnosis' of ADHD. They finally found more out a/b it. I do think that ADHD is misdianosed a little too often, but it will even out w/ more technology. I think the only reason things seem to happen more often now is b/c we know more a/b it, and people are more open w/ their diagnosis' and treatments. You definetely couldn't google the statistics of any known disease 20 years ago (which is when I was younger). So maybe that's why it all seemed more hush-hush.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Tue, Jan 22, 2008, at 7:41 PM

Well, I was young 40 years ago, and EVERYTHING was off-bounds when it came to explanations about anything! My mother swears that she told me about "the birds and the bees," but all I recall was her flipping the light switch when my boyfriend (later my husband) and I were sitting in the car in the driveway.

(For all the good it did...)

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Jan 22, 2008, at 9:25 PM

OH, GT...

I recall those days of lights switching off and on while engines idled in the driveway. There were so many of us, my mother would first flip the porch lights and then start going from car to car in the driveway and knocking on the fogged windows until she got a response. It wasn't that we were even doing anything wrong...usually just sitting listening to the AM radio, but that tap, tap, tap, sure brought you back to reality in a hurry. She had a way of making us all THINK we were in the wrong! That's what kids need today...a little more fear of God...or at least Mom! Oh, the good old days.

-- Posted by bringwine on Tue, Jan 22, 2008, at 11:17 PM

Hahaha! Your mom sounds like our dorm mother in the old Leming Hall at Semo!!

There has to be a special place in heaven for moms of multiple daughters!

I'm sure you WOULDN'T be "doing anything," when you knew that "Mom" would be rapping on the window before long!!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Jan 23, 2008, at 7:17 AM

There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the old pap test. Minnie is right, it's a power/degradation thing. I went to sleep one day thinking my doctor was just going to cut a hole and shine a light in, but when I woke up I'd been spade. Yes, a hysterectomy - a full one. Everything gone. However, same doctor still did an annual pap test. I asked him what it was for. He say "to detect cervical cancer." I say "but I don't have a cervix any more." He say, "oh."

Ducky won't do those any more. I have a running battle with my new doctor. He says I need one every 5 years or so (since my hyst wasn't due to cancer). I say "how good are you at hitting a moving target with a dart gun?" He no longer asks the "activity" question. He must not have liked my reaction the first time he asked. Did you know that you can get your foot out of that stirrup and into your doctor's eye faster than he can lean back? I did have to promise him that if the situation changed, he'd be the second one to know.

Hey, my Dad pulled the same light switch thing. Is it something they learn in parent class???? Must come under the heading "How to thoroughly humiliate your child."

-- Posted by Ducky on Wed, Jan 23, 2008, at 1:12 PM

I don't know how to look it up, but from what I have seen or heard actually, the hysterectomy rate for women has gone up dramatically in the last 20 years and I wonder what caused that.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Wed, Jan 23, 2008, at 7:51 PM
Minne O'Pausal's response:
It's called "profit," my dear, "profit."

Minnie o'

more hysterectomies = better medicine. I would suppose removing the "system" is better than dying if it is left in. Depending on what year(decade) you are zeroing in on, look at the life expentancy of women. But back "in the day" it was not a problem if a spouse died - people just went and got another "newer" model (that applied to both men and women)

-- Posted by D.W.B. on Fri, Jan 25, 2008, at 3:48 PM

Mostly men... And they didn't always wait until the old one was dead...

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Jan 25, 2008, at 10:40 PM

I can't believe that we are still victims of the pap and a hysterectomy is someone's (weird male doctor's) idea of getting rid of the problem by taking all and leaving a woman's body void/empty where parts used to be. Do they intend to replace/fill-in this whole? No, they realize that they just insured that you will now and forever more need to come to them for the rest of your life to take care of the ongoing problems that arise from this slaughter. I feel we are just not listened to seriously enough when it comes to complaints in the first place and they are too ready to hack away what they can't figure out. How much "practice" one doc has versus another is a question that we tend to ask when seeking medical attention if surgery is involved. Maybe we should look for the one that doesn't

"practice" such a "practice"..... Someone who has a natural remedy for goodness sake. Are those unheard of any more? Oh well, it's either surgery or a condescending pat and someone will be recommended for your mental state which they (male doc) see as the initial answer to the pain that is, of course, all in your head. Very funny considering the fact that it's never my head in the stirrups and yet they can see from that angle I need a phyc evaluation. My trust in docs for the female anatomy is null/void/empty ... just like my insides since my hysterectomy.

-- Posted by Grati Tude on Mon, Jan 28, 2008, at 1:13 AM

Sorry, my bad. It's hole and not whole....which is how some women would still feel if they had not had a hysterectomy. (Mostly those who are of child-bearing age).

-- Posted by Grati Tude on Mon, Jan 28, 2008, at 1:52 AM

Hmmm. Grati Tude, I must admit that I'm a touch past the "child bearing years" myself, but even when I wasn't, I didn't miss those particular parts. It was SUCH a relief to realize that after I healed from the surgery I didn't hurt constantly any more. I didn't (and don't) feel any less of a person/woman.

I do agree that many women too readily go along with their male doctors when hysterectomy is suggested - some just because life can be so much easier without all that baggage.

-- Posted by Ducky on Mon, Jan 28, 2008, at 1:05 PM

Wow, I didn't realize that there were problems with the whole "hole" thing... 26 years ago, I tried to talk my doctor into taking it all out after delivering my third child (a beautiful baby girl), but he insisted that it would throw me into premature menopause, so I have to put up with the "baggage." No problems now that the whole cycle thing is over - Thank you, Lord!!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Jan 28, 2008, at 5:24 PM

I guess I should say that...since there IS the whole cancer thing that remains a possibility when you have all the "baggage."

(Boy, we're using the word "whole" a lot, aren't we???)

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Jan 28, 2008, at 5:27 PM

I mean I "shouldn't" say that - not "should." What is it about this medium of expression that causes us to make such silly mistakes?

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Jan 28, 2008, at 9:07 PM

I wonder how easy it would be for you, Goat Lady, to be talked into taking out your esophagus?! There is the "whole" cancer thing you know...Somehow I doubt you feel the same way about that.

Ready for convenience are you? Maybe this is the "whole" hysterectomy outlook. I think you have determined why they (male doctors) have had such success getting the job done. Everyone included wants no part of what the parts/baggage bring to their life. Doctors (male gender) are laughing out loud.

-- Posted by Grati Tude on Mon, Jan 28, 2008, at 9:22 PM

Big difference between a uterus and an esophagus. When am I ever gonna need my uterus again? And what are the statistics of getting esophagal cancer for a nonsmoker? The risks of uterine cancer are significant - especially in a family prone to it.

What does a doctor's sense of humor have to do with the issue? Who cares if they're "laughing out loud"? That's your subjective opinion and your paranoia.

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Jan 29, 2008, at 7:31 AM

I must chime in that female ob-gyn's love to cut as much as the fellows. I had one in Cape and one in Poplar Bluff try to talk me into a hysterectomy,I didn't have cancer I had fibroid tumors. I finally found a treatment that didn't involve a hysterectomy,and now I am doing just fine. If I had cancer, I would have let them cut anything out,but I felt like the way the doc's shut parents of sick kids up with a script for amoxcillin,just to appease them,is how I felt about this surgery.

We now know there are implications for excessive use of antibiotics,so I felt that there has to be some complication to early surgical induced menopause.I am not a doctor,but I don't want to be their house payment either,just to keep me from complaining.

-- Posted by AngelinaJolie on Tue, Jan 29, 2008, at 10:57 AM

True, Angelina. I don't want to be their house payment either. I'm just saying that I don't miss those parts and losing them didn't make me feel "un-whole." I am more than my ability to bear children. I pretty much need an esophagus. My aunt, who died of esophagial cancer certainly missed hers.

I agree that we certainly do live in a society that is heavily biased toward surgical and pharacutical remedies. We could definitely benefit from more a more holistic approach and we're beginning to see more of a movement in that direction, I think.

The "C" word changes everything. Most people would let you cut off their arm if you said they had cancer in it. I suspect many doctors let themselves get talked into prescribing drugs and ordering surgeries by pressure from their patients (or their patient's families). If they refuse, the patient finds another doctor who will. Why do you think pharmacutical companies are advertising prescription drugs which so heavily on tv? They want the public to ASK the doctors to prescribe the med. They're not doing it out of their concern for the public health. Big bucks are involved.

You don't hear too much about doctors whacking off men's parts just because they have prostrate cancer, but I guess it can come to that. Men possibly resist that suggestion because those particular parts seem so critical to their self image and perform such an important secondary function.

-- Posted by Ducky on Tue, Jan 29, 2008, at 12:45 PM

I have such a fear of surgery,and the pain from surgery. I agree with you Ducky,my girlie innards and my boobs are not what make me a whole woman,and if I must part with them someday, I'll still check female on my driver's license.

What makes me a woman is knowing when my kids help unasked with chores,to expect a phone call from the school about something. If my husband wants "time for just us",a weekend together in Springfield,he wants something from The Bass Pro Shop because that is so romantic in his mind.

If my son calls from the service and says,"They feed us good,Mom" I know it's important for him to believe I believe,and I put on my gameface,and don't ask too many questions. If my Mom asks what's my hubby got planned for the weekend, I know my folks need help with something and don't want to be a bother. If my mother-in-law is feeling sick,and says she isn't up to chatting, I know to inform her she has to get well at my house,because I won't sleep a wink worrying about her,and her son will be beside himself and might miss work (always a winner)if we can't have her here!

All these superpowers and more are what make me a real woman-lol!

-- Posted by AngelinaJolie on Tue, Jan 29, 2008, at 2:22 PM

As a "whole woman", I do not allow others limited perceptions to define me. As a woman, I have the natural ability to cherish, support and encourage. I am endowed with the innate understanding of ritual. I know how to extend a hand and also give from the heart. I can be sassy, sensuous and brazen (not to be ignored). I can switch gears in the midst of adversity; gathering my wits and carrying on. I have an unspoken connection with mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts...

For a woman, a hysterectomy is the sudden, un-natural and final loss of organs and the important harmones they produce. A natural process allows a woman's body to change over a period of years and with harmone levels slowly and gradually decreasing. Synthetic harmone replacement can cause additional problems or side effects and often little to no relief of symptoms (fatigue, depression, increased allergies, decreased resistance, weight gain...)When faced with an incomplete endocrine system, many symptoms and health problems will plague a woman's body. Hysterectomy = Quick fix with lasting consequences.

For heavens sake, why wouldn't the doctor be laughing out loud when he not only got yet another number to announce his expetise as far as how many times he has performed this type of surgery; but also his pocketbook got even fatter (lol all the way to the bank).

-- Posted by Grati Tude on Wed, Jan 30, 2008, at 4:17 AM

Angelina, you're not just a woman - you're a super woman. I love reading your input. Hang in there.

Grati, I don't care if my doctor carved another notch on his scaple. I have no regrets. I'll still resist the pap smear and I'll still kick him if he asks the "activity" question. I'll still support other women's right to make their own decisions, informed or otherwise.

Blog on Minnie. I remain your loyal follower.

-- Posted by Ducky on Wed, Jan 30, 2008, at 12:39 PM

Yes, blog on Minnie. I think we just touched on another blog about women's rights. Any takers?

You go super woman...I am not now nor will I ever be claiming super powers.

Through the grace of God, I shall persevere. It's how the snail reached the ark.

Ducky, no regrets is great. I fail to understand why you would not care if another woman was not informed. Wouldn't that information help her to make the best decision for her own body?

I would think that would be part of a woman's right.

-- Posted by Grati Tude on Wed, Jan 30, 2008, at 10:16 PM

Grati- you need to re-read my comment. I said I support a women's right to make her own decision. I even support her right to be informed or otherwise. It's not that I don't care, it's that her decision is her business, not mine.

-- Posted by Ducky on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 3:08 PM

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