- 5 years ago
- Wedding: January 2012
After reading today’s amusing post about how Eight6Eleven’s OB/GYN really loves her ring, I thought we should start a hilarious thread to share all our awkward doctor’s appointment stories. Really, when you’re trapped in a room with a professional who’s there to talk about all the weird stuff your body does, you can’t help but get some awkward moments… I’ll begin.
I went off the pill when I moved to Japan (I lived on a very rural island there for two years as an English teacher), and my lady bits started doing weird things. I’m paranoid, so after four months without my period, I scheduled an appointment with a gyno… and let me tell you, it was definitely an experience. You see, only in Japan does the Wizard of Oz team up with a Transformer for a women’s appointment.
The first thing that you have to understand is that this sort of appointment was not a one- or two-hour-long deal. This kind of doctor’s appointment was a full day adventure! My islanders loved to gossip, and since I didn’t want the local little old ladies and my students talking about the health of my reproductive system, I really needed to go to a hospital far enough away that the news would never make it back to the island. Thus, my adventure began a good two hours or so before I saw the doctor, since I had to first bike to the port, catch the hour-long ferry to the mainland, take a train to the closest decently sized city, and then take a cab to the hospital from there. I’m glad I had a book.
I finally got there, walked up to the desk, and started talking to the receptionist. She handed me all the new patient forms and sent me on my merry way.
They were in Japanese, by the way. All of them. All the questions about if I had a family history of this or that, if I had any drug allergies, when my last period was, everything.
Now, I’m pretty darn good at Japanese. I can get through just about any normal day conversation. There are some words, however, that just don’t come up often enough for me to know them. I don’t normally have conversations like this:
Girl: Hey! How are you?
Boy: Oh, fine, you?
Girl: Great! My ovaries and I had a great day today.
Boy: Me too. I went to the store and picked up a family history of high blood pressure!
Girl: I’ve always wanted one of those. Oh, are you having heart palpitations?
Boy: No, but the sulfa drug allergy would go well with them if I were!
Girl: Well, I’ve got to go. See you later!
So… Guess what types of words I didn’t know.
So I pulled out my Japanese-English dictionary (a dictionary that was notoriously crappy, by the way. It never had the words I needed.) and went to work. It was another twenty minutes before I turned the sheet in, only half-filled, and was told to go in and see the doctor.
And, of course, the doctor was male. Well, I had expected that. No fun, but oh well. The two of us sat to talk for a moment, him busting out the occasional phrase of Engrish and me flipping through my dictionary to get through the medical Japanese, and I slowly gave him the normal run-down. At the end, he nodded, and then said the dreaded words: “Now… Examination!”
The nurse led me out of the room and through another door. Only a couple feet past the door was a curtain, and in front of the curtain was a small shelf. The nurse opened the curtain, revealing a normal-looking chair and another curtain on the other side of it. She told me to get ready and then sit in the chair. She left through the second curtain.
I did as I was told. I really have to explain this little curtain room to you. It was about the size of an average bathroom stall, the ones where the toilet faces the door. If the chair I was in was the toilet, then the two side walls were both curtains. It was a very, very small room. After a moment, I heard her voice: “The chair is going to move now.”
Like I said, this chair looked normal. There was really nothing strange about it.
Little did I know that it was the Optimus Prime of exam chairs.
The chair suddenly started leaning back until finally my back was parallel with the floor. Still nothing stunning… but then my feet moved. Before my eyes, the chair leg rest split into two and started to contort. My legs, riding on the chair, suddenly lifted straight into the air and then started moving outwards. I could do nothing as the chair transformed below me, until finally my legs were spread in the normal table-with-stirrups fashion. I took a breath, thinking that the transformation was complete.
But no, alas, I was mistaken. Optimus Prime began to swivel, and I watched helplessly as the chair forced my open legs below one of the curtains and into the Great Unknown. When the chair finally stopped, my body below my belly button was hidden behind the second curtain. I cringed, certain that I would be smote where I lie.
And that’s when I heard the doctor’s voice from the other side of the curtain. “We start now,” he said. And Dorothy thought her man behind the curtain was terrifying.
After a moment, a hand opened one side of the curtain just enough for me to see a small computer screen. An ultrasound flickered into life on it. I felt some movement, and then a hand appeared near the screen and pointed. “Uterus,” I heard the doctor’s voice say from behind the curtain. The hand disappeared. There was some more movement, and then the hand reappeared. “Right ovary,” he said. The hand disappeared. More movement. When the doctor’s hand started to reappear for the third time, it accidentally bumped the curtain, and it swung open another foot or so. I saw the surprised nurse go pale and cover her mouth with one hand as she yanked the curtain shut with the other.
I don’t even want to know what was going on behind the curtain that made her so nervous. I really, really don’t.
After another moment, the hand came back, and I heard “Left ovary.” There were a few more movements, and then there was nothing. I heard a chair and some footsteps, and that was it.
So either the doc was finished, or he was leaving momentarily to think before he asked me to bring him the broomstick of the Wicked Witch. I’m sorry, but no matter how cool a doctor is, he should never take presentational ideas from the Wizard of Oz. Ever.
“The chair will move again now,” I heard the nurse say. I tensed up as Optimus Prime swiveled back into my curtain room and transformed once again into a normal chair. And after I got dressed, I did in fact check again. It really was a normal-looking chair.
And that was that. I went back into the other room and talked for a few more minutes with the Wiz, and then I was free to enjoy the last few hours of my day-long adventure as I tried to get home once more.
My adventure was a little bit terrifying and cost me a day of paid time off, but I did learn something useful: Only in Japan do Optimus Prime and the Wizard of Oz have anything to do with doctor appointments. And that was why I avoided any other gyno appointments while I was over there.
So, ladies… Share with me your awkward stories.