Friday, August 18, 2006

Going to the Gyno - Lady Lady Docs Only

I can't STAND to go to a male gyno. No way. Been there done that. Got told so much BS I couldn't take it any more.

Such as:

-It's not possible for a Pap smear to hurt because there aren't any nerve endings in that part of the cervix.

-Menstrual cramps are mostly psychological.

-If you're married and you kept your maiden name, in Illinois, we won't accept a check from you. The law says only the husband is legally liable so we refuse checks if you keep your maiden name. You must pay cash or bring your husband with a check.

-You can't feel ovulation. That's an old wives tale.

And so on.

Of course, this was years back. But it's all I needed to know. With two emergency exceptions, I never went near a male gyno again. It just made sense to me that someone with the same body as mine wouldn't be telling me a Pap smear can't hurt. I wanted a doc who didn't like Pap smears herself.

Here's what the lady lady docs have done for me:

-Warm up the speculum.

-Put little socks on the stirrups so they aren't ice cold on your feet.

-Tell jokes.

-Ask me if I want to get the icky part - the Pap smear - over with first.

-Don't scorn me when I tell them what lady bits hurt and how. No. They LISTEN. Check stuff. Explain it to me.

And so on.

See, it all started when I was 15 and went on the pill. I needed it not for birth control but for medical benefits. Teen acne. And for the terrible cramps I've had since the very beginning. Killer, almost passing out on the girl's room floor at school, bleeding hugely for 7 days, that sort of thing.

Now, kmom always raised us up to say that using birth control was far better than having an unwanted pregnancy. And that she knew perfectly well that teens can get pregnant. Oftentimes, in the heat of the moment - so it's best to be prepared. Quite sensible, and to this day I agree with her 100%.

So what did she do when we left that office with my birth control pill rx to kill my cramps?

She cried and cried.

It was one of the few irrational but sweet mothery things I've ever known her to do.

That gyno was her gyno. The guy who started me on the BS I wrote about above. My cramps were all in my mind, PAP smears can't hurt, you can't feel ovulation, and a few years later, refusing to take my check. They did that part in a very nasty way, in front of all the other people in the waiting room - acting outraged that I'd wanted to pay with a check.

This was the first time they'd ever even charged me, since kdad is a doc, and doc's families used to treat each other for free. So I didn't even know they wanted a payment until I was walking out the door. They really seemed to get a charge out of humiliating me. I had a distinct impression that keeping my maiden name upon marriage had a lot to do with it. Younger women out there may not know how very nasty people could get about that, back then. Vicious. Vindictive.

That doc is still in business, all these years later. And now, he's come to see that his patients are deserting him left and right because they want to go to a female gyno.


I wonder why.

So he tries to find a female gyno to join his practice. And he's furious. FURIOUS.


Because they want so much pay.

See, they're in such high demand, he has to pay the going rate or they won't consider working for him. And that rate is a nice big income.

He feels, somehow, this is unfair.

And me, I feel so extremely pleased.

It really strikes me as hilarious.

After kmom told me about his lady gyno troubles, I told her this:

That doctor is the very first gyno I ever had. He was so ignorant of true things about women's bodies, and so belittling about it, and so nasty about method of payment, that HE is the reason I SWORE I'd never see another male gyno again. Not if I could help it. No way.

So now he's reaping exactly what he, personally, sowed. The punishment fits the crime with a hand-in-glove perfection we rarely see.

And I sure would love it if you could explain that to him.

She politely declined. He's still her doc. I can see that.

But hey, I'm still laughing.

Paybacks are hell, guy.


LL said...

I go to our family practitioner and I LOVE him.

k said...

If your family practioner does ob gyn, you are a lucky person. That would mean one less specialist to pay extra for, on MY plan anyway.

Female friends of mine often tell me about male docs that they're happy with. That's great. I'm not a person who says ANY group is less trustworthy, or qualified, or whatever, than another.

For me, for example, that would include women in combat. I'd never feel less confident about a woman having my back than a man.

It's just that in all docs, one of my first questions when I meet them is: Do you yourself have (arthritis-allergies-sleep apnea...)? Because when ANYONE has personal experience with something, they can relate to it differently than someone who doesn't.

Pap smears included.

pepektheassassin said...

My doctor is a woman. A Russian woman. I can't always understand her, but I always feel comfortable with her.

k said...

Yes. Comfortable. It's very difficult for me to be comfortable with a male gyno. With a female it's very difficult NOT to be comfortable.

Not that I haven't had a couple lady lady doc jerks. It's just that the odds are much, much better that I'll have a good outcome with a female. I'm playing the percentages.

I've heard that in Russia, there are few male doctors. They're almost all female. That always intrigued me.

Cindi said...

That is absurd about how the doctor's office wouldn't cash your check! I live in Illinois and have never heard of anything like that. But I have had my share of uncomfortable experiences with doctors too.

My female family practicioner who did my last pap, committed suicide last December (a few weeks before Christmas)so I need to find a new gyno doc. After my doctor's death I went back to the family doc I used to go to several years ago but I would feel too "creeped out" to go to him for any "female" issues or for a pap. I have had a good experience with one male gyno doc and he was very considerate. He warmed up the speculum too and would use gentle humor while doing my exam and put me at ease. Only problem...he is in such high demand now that it is a long wait on a list to get in to see him.

When I was 19 and living on my own, I went to the old family doctor to see about getting my first birth control pills for BIRTH CONTROL (lol). He was an ancient doctor...he still made house calls even and was quite old fashioned. He refused to give me a prescription for the pill because I wasn't married and suggested I go talk to my parents!

When my then teenaged sister had her first gyno exam with a different doctor she was all prepped and had her feet up in the stirrups and the doctor walked in with a teenaged BOY and said, "I hope you won't mind but this is so and so and he is planning to become a doctor and he is going with me on rounds" and my poor sister just froze. After it was all over and she went out to the waiting room where my mother was waiting for her, my sister just broke down in tears of embarrassment and wouldn't tell my mother what happenend until they got home. This happened in the 70's.

Desert Cat said...

Ma'am I've seen you here and there on other blogs lately, so I know you're still kickin', but how ya doin'?

k said...

Physically, not so bad. But it's almost impossible to communicate. Same as last year, this time.

It puzzles me.

But I keep trying. Figure, comments if nothing else.

k said...

Cindi, that Illinois check incident was in 1976 or '77. I've heard they changed the law since then. But even at the time, I think it was only brought up to make me feel bad. The stern and vicious lady behind the window just violently disapproved of me on general principle. She didn't even know me, but she made all sorts of negative assumptions.

At one point, she'd instructed me to sign my check as *Mrs. [husband's name].* I explained that was not only fraud, it would have been impossible to collect! If I signed it with my real legal name the check was valid.

Back then, there was enormous hostility towards the young by the preceeding generation. Younger people today have no idea how bad it was, especially where I lived. You'd be going about your life, minding your own business, and if you wore blue jeans and had long hair, or whatever, many of the older people would be very nasty to you. Just on sight. They figured we all ruined their war, the Vietnam war, and should be shot for treason.

It sounds like the paternalism of your own and your sister's gynos fits right in with those times. Your ancient house call guy was funny at least. But bring a TEENAGE BOY into the exam room without permission or even notifying her? Good Gawd Almighty! Can you IMAGINE what would happen if a doc tried that today?

Me, I don't go along with the, *things were so much better back then* crowd. No way.

And not just cause they ALL warm up the speculum now.