Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Atypical, Eh?

I had my biopsy. First I had to give a urine sample, then I waited forty minutes before I was shown into the exam room.

The nurse was a nice woman from Trinidad or Jamaica, I think, and she explained to me that there were six levels of Pap smear “atypicality,” and mine had been the most mild. This was a huge relief, and I wish Christine had mentioned it over the phone to me last night. The woman added that the exam would take about 15 minutes and, when I asked why a “full STD panel” meant a test for gonorrhea and Chlamydia only, she explained that all other STIs (except for syphilis and HIV, which are tested separately) would have been detected in the Pap. Ah. So: I did not give Jeremy any STI whatsoever. Thank God for that, at least.

“How come you took a urine sample?” I am always interested in learning new things.

“To see if you were pregnant.”

“Oh God!”

The woman smiled: “It was negative.” I knew that, but still. “You’d be surprised at how many women come in here and don't know they're pregnant. So we test them first, to make sure.”

Eventually Dr. Smith came in. I spread my legs in the stirrups and tried to relax. This is next to impossible, but I only flinched moderately when Dr. Smith clamped the speculum into place. Then she took some swabs. “This part coming up is the worst,” she said cheerfully. “It might feel like bad menstrual cramps.” I couldn’t see what she was doing, but, yes, I could feel a twinge in my lower abdomen. It’s just like having Daniel’s dick inside you, I told myself, but it wasn’t. This was an instrument: it was long and thin and it was scraping me. Urgh.

“That’s it,” said Dr. Smith.

“That’s all?” I said. It hadn’t been 15 minutes.

It turned out I would have to lie on my back for a few more minutes. “For the next forty eight hours, don’t put anything up there,” the doctor lectured. “No tampons, no baths. No sex.”

What?” I had plans with Daniel! “For how long?”

“Forty right hours,” she repeated. Damn.

Then Dr. Smith left and the nice medical assistant kept me company while I lay flat on my back, waiting until I could get dressed.

“There’s a fifty percent chance that they won’t see anything at all,” she confided, in which case I was just to have another Pap smear (that would be three in five weeks or something) and then just wait for my next one. There could have been the atypical cell growth, said the medical technician, if I had had sex the night before...

“Really?” I asked. “Cause I have a lot of sex,” I said helpfully. I thought back, trying to remember what I’d done the night before the “full STD panel” two weeks ago.

But later I checked my date book and there’d been no sex. But I feel much calmer now and feel fairly confident that I'm fine.

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