Medicinal science has come so far, remember when Lind figured out that citrus fruits prevents scurvy? Or when Lister was like “yo, we should sterilise stuff before we cut human bodies open so they stop dying from infections.” and everyone was like “that might work hey.” Or when Fleming discovered penicillin?
Is this because you were born post the 1800’s and in your lifetime you weren’t exposed to scurvy, the black plague, or unsterilised surgeries?
Remember when you would go in for a pap smear and the examination bed would be up against the wall so when you had to open wide for an examination your left knee couldn’t go as far down as your right knee? And the GP was telling you to relax, even though you’re contorting your body into this unnatural position of having one leg at an acute angle and the other one kind of bent but also laying flatter than the other one because you aren’t able to push the wall out the way?
So the GP is trying to pry open your vagina with a sinister sounding tool which you KNOW is a speculum but the sound its making is akin to something you’ve heard in a workshop or a building site. Now the doctor is getting frustrated because the medieval contraption wedging your vagina open is too big and that’s probably why it’s not seamlessly entering you.
You’re a little offended as well as physically uncomfortable now because the doctor has informed you that they need to select a smaller apparatus, as if this is your fault.
‘How big did you initially think my vagina would be? And how can you tell with my pants on?’ are the questions you want to ask, but don’t, because what if the answer is something similar to: ‘I can tell by your chunky thighs and irregular gait that your vagina will clearly need our biggest spec to open it up.’
Once the doc has successfully wrestled your vagina open and brushed the delicate walls of your cervix for a sample of cells, you’re allowed to lower your legs and put your underwear back on, then think about how long your knee will be numb for as it has tried to fruitlessly move a solid wall 10 inches away from you for the last 7 hours (3 minutes).
Remember when doctors realised this and moved the bed away from the wall?
Is this because that never happened?!
Perhaps I’m exaggerating, maybe there are some examination rooms that exist in the world that have the bed in the middle of the room instead of on the side of it. I’m sure they exist… the same way that I know the Illuminati exist and are just biding their time before they take over the world.
But so far, I am yet to see any true evidence of this.
I hope if you’re reading this and you haven’t experienced the joy of a cervical screening, you’re not immediately put off by them. They are very useful! They detect and can ultimately help to prevent cervical cancer.
The thing is, despite how invasive and uncomfortable it may feel to be subjected to the mercy of a speculum and a cranky GP, who has done nothing for the day except prescribe antibiotics and write sick notes for people who want a long weekend, these screenings are important.
The vagina is the eyes to the cervix and the cervix is where cancer can dwell. So don’t think of your vagina being invaded, think of it as your cervix being serviced like you would get your car serviced.
You know how your parents come to visit and ask, “Did you get your car serviced?” and you lie and say, “Yes of course.” Then your dad opens the glove compartment to check the car service history and you scream “OH WAIT! No I didn’t! I had it booked but something came up and it’s scheduled for next month!”.
Then you feel bad about lying to your dad who has done nothing but support you and love you unconditionally. In fact, you feel so guilty about it that you book your car in for a service straight away and vow to do so every time you’re supposed to.
Our bodies don’t have a service record in our glove compartments for someone to guilt trip you with. However, the next time you put off having a cervix exam, I want you to remember this essay and remember that there is a chunky thighed, somewhat prudish, dramatic gal who supports you and loves you unconditionally who wants you to get your cervix lightly brushed once every 3 years.