8.06.2008

Not for the faint of heart…

I know I’ve said this in the heading, but it bears repeating: If all things gynecological make you squeamish, you might want to stop reading after this paragraph.

Yesterday, I visited Dr. Sych, at his request, to get the all clear before Max and I again ‘not not try to have a baby.’ Only now, I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that we can’t be so casual in our efforts. ‘Not not trying’ is no longer our mantra because I’ve been issued an ultimatum. If I’m not pregnant in three months, I must haul myself back down to the doctor’s office to “explore options.”

To be honest, I’m not sure why this is. Because of language difficulties, I couldn’t understand his reasoning, but I believe this timeframe has been imposed because of the growing fibroid in my uterus and not because of fears of infertility. I could be wrong. When Dr. Sych asked me if I understood what he meant and I shook my head, he merely patted my shoulder and said, “Just come back in three months.”

I am not writing this post, however, to complain about my checkered gynecological history or biological ticker. Instead, I am impelled to share, what for me is, the unusual experience of going through a gynecological exam in Germany.

Even in the U.S., I was never a big fan of the process. You go in to the examination room, undress completely, wrap yourself in a paper sheath, and wait for the nurse and doctor to arrive with torture devices in hand. Still, with this routine, there is a semblance of modesty and a vain attempt to preserve the dignity of the patient.

In Germany, you can forget the pretense. You walk in, talk to the doctor, who orders you to get undressed from the waist down. In the case of Dr. Sych’s office, there is a small undressing closet. Still, it feels a little strange to walk out in front of him, sans nurse, half naked and attempt to gracefully position myself in the stirrups.

In truth, to be graceful is a lofty ambition. The examination table is not completely flat, like I am accustomed to, and instead is positioned upright like a chair. This places the dreaded stirrups at such an angle that I have use arm strength to lift my legs into them. No, not graceful at all.

After yesterday's exam as I made a quick dash to the dressing closet, Dr. Sych informed me he also need to do a breast exam. Fair enough. I headed my half naked ass back to the chair and was told, instead, to get completely dressed first.

Huh?

So, now we are going to fain modesty? I didn’t understand how he would do a breast exam on a fully-dressed breasts, but I followed his instructions. After I emerged from the closet and stood in front of the doctor, he explained that I now needed to lift up my shirt and bra so he could perform the exam.

And, we couldn’t do this on the examination table when I was already half dressed…why exactly?

I’m sure the bewildered expression on my face revealed to the doctor my disdain for the German way of gynecological visits. It’s something I surely won’t miss when I finally get back to the States.

I am curious to know if it is a similar process in other parts of the world?

17 comments:

catherinette said...

You're so international with your ob/gyn exam in the US AND Germany.

Ugh, I'm thinking that no matter where you have one it's just an unpleasant experience.

kenju said...

I can't be of any help, since I've never had one anywhere but here, but it's true that it is an unpleasant experience no matter where you are.

V-Grrrl said...

In Belgium, there was no dressing area, the doctor's office space and examining room were one, no nurse, and you just stripped.

I actually found my ob/gyn exam to be less uncomfortable than the cardiologist. Being naked except for panties with a cardiologist for an hour appointment and doing a stress test.

patches said...

I had a friend who was born in Germany, and a naturalized American citizen. SHe said Germans had less conservative ideas about modesty than Americans. She spoke about her sister and spouse visiting the states. They had spent the day boating in the gulf. When they returned to the marina, her sister began stripping of clothes on the dock, my friend had to stop her before she completely disrobed. The sister not understanding the cultural difference, responded, "What? I don't have anything they haven't seen before."

Do you get a special stamp in passport for this?

Jul said...

LOL, it must be Blog About Your German Gynecologist Day!

I think I'll have a martini to celebrate the occasion. :)

Anonymous said...

Funny post. I had a dentist appt this morning and on my way out the door I said something to my honey like "ugh, I think I'd rather do anything else today besides the dentist." You reminded me that statement was a bold-faced lie. I would choose the dentist over the gyn any and every day.

Claire said...

Oh my. Those stirrups sound scary!

Cxx

Global Librarian said...

I one time was ordered to strip down completely and hop up on the table. Then the doctor realized she forgot something and went to get it, leaving the DOOR TO THE HALLWAY OPEN! And that's why when I go see a doctor here I bring along one of our large bath sheets. They laugh at me, but I don't care!

kissashark said...

It sounds like the ob/gyn just sucks no matter what country you're in! Bleck....I don't mind the whole naked thing but whats with making you put your shirt and bra on only to lift them up? Bizzare!

gemma said...

Well that just beats any experience I've ever had here and I am so old I thought I had them all. I must remind myself to have all checkups before leaving the country.

Neil said...

I think this might make a good subject for a book -- gynecological exams around the world!

Liza S said...

I don't think I've ever had one of these exams (either that or I just can't remember) in Ukraine. Maybe it wasn't the exam process itself that was bad- maybe your doctor was wonky. I mean really, who stops a person on their way back to getting dressed to tell them that they need a breast exam, and then to get dressed?! Geez this sounds like my boyfriend.

Anonymous said...

I had cervical cancer ( no whining, everything is fine now.)But for educational purpose, since i was in a university hospital, they asked if it was ok to take a picture of my cervix with the tumor... Now everytime i go to the ob/gyn, i get to see a big picture of MY cervix on the wall. Nobody knows it's me (except my doctor ) but I know...

Dianne said...

that table sounds awful, I'd probably fall off and then tell him to do the exam on the floor.

as I get older I get less impressed by doctors and I now tell them how we'll be doing things. don't like my way - OK next doctor.

my GYN told his nurse I scare him. she loves it and so do I

The Grunt said...

I couldn't imagine how awkward these checkups must be for women, but now you upped the ante with the "German" version, lol!

egan said...

Ugh, I tried to leave a comment yesterday during Blogger's outage. Basically I said I'm really happy I'm a man. Having seen my wife go through exam after exam during pregnancy was a touch uncomfortable and I wasn't the subject of the exam.

Dora said...

You are probably not the only one who had to jump up to the stirrups awkwardly, so he probably didn't even notice.

Just wanted say that my sister-in-law had fibroids and her doctor did some sort of cleaning or D&C and she got pregnant right after. I think her problem was that the fibroids prevented the embryo from attaching to the uterus wall, and when it was clean, it worked. It took them about 5 years to have a successful pregnancy, and now they have 2 little girls.
Hope all goes well! Happy trying!