We all dread that yearly appointment…you know the one, ladies. So imagine my horror when I discovered that my husband Jeff, who normally is a prince about child care if I ever have an appointment, would be out of town on a business trip when I attended my first gynecological appointment in almost two years. I am normally very conscious of my yearly exams; however, after moving when our baby Sawyer was only three months old, I just didn’t make an appointment until last week.
So… not only did I enter the new place where all things embarrassing would go down, I entered the new doctor’s office with my two boys, Tate (4) and Sawyer (almost 2). Just take a minute to laugh aloud at how dumb I am before you read on. And yes, Murphy’s Law was in the house.
The waiting room was chock full of pregnant women, nervous-looking husbands, and gals who just needed check-ups. As I checked in and received 10 pages of new-patient paperwork, the boys went straight for the snack bar. The office graciously provides water and granola bars for patients, and my boys bee-lined for the space-age mini-fridge that beeped loudly every…single…time…the…door…opened….BEEP! BEEP!…..BEEP!
That sound greeted patients as Sawyer, master of all cause/effect, opened, closed, opened, closed the fridge door…BEEP! When I tried to tear him away, he screamed, so I allowed the annoying BEEP to continue instead of the death screams he emanated when I tried to stop him. (Still filling out paperwork.)
Tate wolfed down a granola bar in about 15 seconds, even though he had just eaten lunch in the car. He was going for another when I told him that we were only allowed one snack per person, which didn’t go over well. (Still filling out paperwork…the faster I can finish, the faster I knew we could get this over with and be outta here.)
We waited for about ten years…MINUTES…it was ten minutes and then scooted into the back rooms where the boys stood on the scale, jumped up and down, watched the nurse take my blood pressure which was surprisingly high, and attempted to enter each and every exam room before we got to mine.
Tate went straight for a small trash can full of chemicals that the office stored on the floor…it’s where they put the speculums post-exam. Tate was nose-and-hand-almost-in the chemicals when the nurse snatched the small container away and put it high on the shelf. She assured me this wasn’t her first rodeo with curious kids and the trash can.
As the adorable, patient nurse and I chatted over medical history, the boys found the stirrups (“What are these for?”) and gown (“Can I wear this, Mommy?”) and the uber-powerful light (“Where is the on-switch, Mommy?”). The doctor’s rolling stool became a race car. Sawyer’s nose ran uncontrollably. Tate never stopped asking questions about the equipment.
My friend Alison, a nurse in the practice, rescued me temporarily while I was waiting to see my new doctor. She brought suckers for the boys and supervised as they ran laps around the nurses’ station. I also watched Tate con a precious nurse out of two apples, one for each of them, and Sawyer run inside the nurses’ station to tap on a computer. Alison and her colleagues were sweet and understanding (“Hey! This is our job!”), and yet I wanted to crawl back into the elevator and never come out.
My new doctor came in, and she was personable, funny, and not at all intimidating. She assured me that she also has three kids, so she’s used to the chaos. She pointed to the gown and promised to be back soon. I herded the boys into the exam room and undressed…I will not regale you with the charming comments from Tate that came from that…but I will tell you that the door didn’t lock and Sawyer figured out how to pull the handle down to open it.
Yep. While I was mostly naked across the room.
I have flashed the kind nurses at the nurses’ station, and Tate has escaped from my room while I am not yet fully dressed in the charming, open-at-the-front attire for gynecological exams. Do I leave the room to retrieve Tate in this get-up or just hope someone will return him?
Luckily, Alison returned with Tate and the doctor so they could perform the exam. (“Mommy, why are your feet in that thing? What is she doing?”) Sawyer felt that he should be in my lap for this part, so my first girl-doc exam in two years was performed while he squirmed on my stomach. Charming.
As I re-dressed, I parked myself in front of the door so as not to flash any other strangers. I answered more awkward questions from Tate as best I could. The doctor assured me that all looked fine and she would see me again in a year. She didn’t add “hopefully without your kids,” but that’s what I was thinking.
In our exit (no one gave us a standing ovation), the boys opened random exam room doors, nearly ran over a pregnant lady and her husband, and decided that the billing counter would make a very good cliff to hang from. Sawyer opened the mini-fridge one more time…BEEP!…and we were finally out of there.
So people, feel free to dread your yearly exam…it’s uncomfortable and not fun. I get it. But next year when I go without my boys, it will probably feel like a spa day.