Tuesday, May 05, 2009

So you're off to see the gynecologist - what to expect

So you have an appointment to see a gynecologist in South Africa. Nervous? Don't be! Here are the answers to those questions that keep popping into your mind at the most inopportune of moments.

Q: What route should I take to get there?

A: Well, remember that the journey will at best take you 30 minutes and then as a new patient there are all kinds of papers for you to fill out, so you should have at least an hour reserved for the drive, as well as determining the best route by thoroughly looking at the map. A good time to do this is not exactly 32 minutes before your appointment while you're still trying to leave your house and seem to be experiencing some unforeseen issues, like someone leaving the trash can outside the door allowing you to almost back into it. However, even by just leaving 31 minutes prior to your appointment you can still make it, but are probably in for a speeding fine, or at least a fine for those two illegal U-turns you executed in desperation. But at least you made it! Please also lock the car when you leave it in the hospital parking lot, even if you are in a hurry.

Q: What should I bring with me?

A: Good question! Whatever you do, do not forget to stick a pen in your pocket before leaving home. Before your examination, the nurse will show you into a toilet decorated with a poster of a baby who is the offspring of a human and a giant daffodil. The nurse will tell you to give a urine sample and leave it on the counter. She will then disappear and leave you to it. You unbuckle, sit down, appropriate one of the plastic containers from the dispenser nailed to the wall, and tinkle away. While you're washing your hands you notice a piece of paper taped to the wall that tells you to "please write your name on the sample". You look around. There are no pens anywhere. You are glad you brought your gigantic purse. There's bound to be at least 10 pens in there, you think happily. You dig, then you excavate, then you turn the bag inside out, and only end up spilling about 2 pounds of dirty tissues in various stages of decomposition onto the floor, none of which house any pens. Finally you dash back to the reception, with your sample in your hand to rather maniacally ask for a pen (because you've already taken at least 10 minutes in the toilet), and that's when you feel compelled to wave at everyone in the waiting room - with your pee.

Q: What happens when I'm called in?

A: When you're called in you first have a chat with the doctor who for some reason thinks you are American and keeps referring to the 'Overseas way of doing things', then gets even more confused by your answers and thinks you are Danish, and proceeds to tell you a funny-only-to-him anecdote about visiting some place you understand as 'Whorelew', but is in fact Herlev (but you don't put two and two together until you're on your way home), before leading you into the other room, decorated with more posters of mutated offspring of plants and people. None of the babies are black, you find yourself thinking, before you are lead into a tiny cubicle by the doctor with much too short pants on, to change into a white robe with black flowers on it. Fokken' weird, you muse again, as you slip out of your pants and into the dressing gown.

Q: What happens during the actual examination?

A: You must remember that South Africans are a very bashful people. Apparently they are not very comfortable with any kind of nudity, and you might thus feel as if the doctor is in fact performing a vaginal examination without once looking anywhere but about four inches above your head. He will also obstruct his vision further by placing a piece of fabric, with its flower print reminiscent of the fabric the robe is made of, on you. The only part of the examination you will have any understanding of is when the doctor shows you your cystic ovaries on the computer screen. Fokken awesome, you might think, without realizing that the doctor has already left the room and possibly told you how to proceed. You get dressed, based on previous experience.

Q: What happens with paying?

A: If you do not have medical-aid you must settle your account immediately, which always rattles the reception ladies (remember, they also witnessed you waving with your pee). They will most likely have no idea as to how to proceed since you want to give them cash. They will huddle in the back room allowing the people you waved at to get a better look at you and clearly wonder whether you're hormonally crazy, or just otherwise feeble of mind. They might stare. When the reception ladies finally talk to you, due to their accent and you still wondering about those cysts on your ovaries, you will most likely have very little idea of what they are saying, and eventually you can see they would much rather be repeating the words 'vaginal scan' in Afrikaans, so that everyone in the waiting room would be able to follow in with what is going on with the odd lady. However, in the end, it will turn out that you can pay cash, you just have to be patient and call them the next day to remind them to send you a receipt.

Q: What about the way home, anything I should be aware of?

A: Whatever you do, do not mistakenly drive into Pretoria because your mind is on your ovaries. Also, do not attempt to buy cartridges for the printer because that will just end in tears and a kicked-at printer. Otherwise you should be alright.

Just relax. You'll be fine :o)

20 comments:

Fidgeting Gidget said...

Holy moly, sounds like you had an interesting day!

julochka said...

only you could make a trip to gynecologist so hilarious that i can hardly sit straight to type this (luckily i have a laptop and can lie on the floor, writhing with the final spasms of giggles). do you think they have surveillance tape of the pee waving? because i think it would be a big hit on you tube.

and now i'm off to die laughing...

iasa said...

Hope everything turns out alright.

Well done, not spilling any of your sample whilst waving. Although I suppose you are smart enough not to wave with the hand holding the urine. Me I would not be so clever.

I so wish it was really called 'Whorelaw'. I'd start packing for my vacation immediately.

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

I'm with Julochka, that WOULD be a big hit on youtube. And I also must now go and compose myself from laughing so hard that I almost produced a pee-moment. In front of my office buddy, Mr. H. Who probably wouldn't care anyway.

PS my WV is smakspor, as in I smaks-my-po(o)r head so hard on the desk when laughing that I now need to pee AND have a headache.

kristina said...

let's just hope that those people breeding with flowers are not pollen allergic...
nice to meet you too! du kanske pratar svenska? looking forward to blog camp! :-)

Extranjera said...

Can't respond individually.

Am watching you-tube like a hawk for any virals of me waving pee (Iasa: there's a lid). Dammit you people for putting that thought into my head.

Paranoia (and tequila) central.

marathoner81 said...

Wow...that's quite an adventure. Did they weigh you. Mine always weights me and it's quite disturbing!

Well, I'm off to search youtube!

B said...

Well, that's an interesting gyno appointment. And very informative, I don't know when I'll find myself in a similar situation...
Off to check YouTube!

Extranjera said...

Still keeping my eye on the virals. You people! Total and utter pee-waving related paranoia. Argh.

kristine said...

you are very, very funny. Excellent post!

Extranjera said...

Kristine - Thanks and welcome. A Finn blogging about a gyno appointment has gotta mean hitler is happy skiing somewhere down there...

Mrs.Rotty said...

sounds like you need a comfy spot on the couch a glass of wine and your lap top. dang. what an adventure

The Fragrant Muse said...

I managed to hold it together until I read "...dirty tissues in various stages of decomposition..." Thought I split a gut laughing.

Extranjera said...

Mrs. Rotty - but at least I'm leaving the house for a change, eh? And yup, didn't just need a glass of wine, but a shot (or two) of tequila. It was Cinco de Mayo after all...

Muse - Thanks. I wish that had been my immediate reaction too... ;o)

Molly said...

Hilarious!
But can I just say, as a South African, that I for one am very comfortable with nudity.
Just to set the record straight...

Lorac said...

First time on your blog but not my last! Refreshing view on gyn appt's.

Extranjera said...

Molly - Maybe it's all of the deeply religious folks up here in my hood? The compound will eventually boast 7 different churches (for now we make do with measly 4).

Lorac - Thanks and welcome!

Cyndy said...

While I loved the humor in this post, what's not to love about a visit to the GYNie office, I must confess that you have been on mind all week, hoping that reading in between the lines that the scans you saw were OK. Weird, huh, I know. Someone you don't even know, on the other side of the globe worrying about you. But I feel a kindred spirit and am sending you only positive thoughts...

Extranjera said...

Cyndy - Thanks so much for your concern! So sweet. But no need to worry, all the cysts are benign, and will stay that way. I'll only have problems if one of them decides to suddenly expand greatly (and even then it will most likely just be discomfort/ pain)

Chelsea Leis said...

Frequently answered questions, huh? Haha! All are useful anway. Some just aren't applicable if a woman is in the said place. Other instances could also happen if one is in another place. Being a first-timer doesn't necessarily mean that one should be innocent. Try reading articles like this, too. ;)