A LEEP of Faith

Here's the follow-up to yesterday's exciting foray into my gynecological world...

I need another LEEP ( Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure) . I can take it. I cling to the memories of the warm, motherly nurse type who ushered me back to the room, took the time to carefully point out and explain all the equipment, and then rubbed my hand before winking at me and leaving me to undress.

No such luck this time. Nurse Ratchet’s granddaughter with the hole in her nose belaying the fact that she sports a nose ring in her off hours told me unceremoniously and without meeting my eyes, to “disrobe to the waist down—wrap’s on the table—doctor will be in shortly.” Bing, bang, boom, out the door she goes. Whatever happened to introductions? The waitstaff at Cracker Barrel takes the time to tell me their names and I assure you, none of them come anywhere near the vicinity of my vagina.

I wait for the doctor in a subzero room, which first I think must be for the procedure, but then I decide is just for cruelty. Someone has stolen all the magazines, and I’m left reading the faded warranty patents stamped on the side of the medical equipment, most of which looks like it was last dusted before I was born.

The twenty-year-old nurse reappears and offers me a smile. That’s more like it. She reaches into a drawer and whips out a rectangular packet which she rips open, and slaps onto my upper thigh something that resembles a thick white menstrual pad with glue on one side and two wire tubes dangling from it that hook into a machine which beeps.

“Um, excuse me,” I venture, as the nurse speed walks to the door. “What would this be for exactly?”

“Oh that,” She makes a dismissive gesture with her hand. “That’s to ground you.” She slams the door shut behind her.

Ground me? Ground me? As in electrical current grounding? I don’t remember this from last time. Reminder to self, before doctor begins make sure they have me down for the right treatment. You read those stories about doctors amputating the wrong leg of a patient. No reason they might have me mistakenly listed for some new fangled zapping technique for venereal warts, while wart woman is off somewhere getting her insides scraped for the hell of it.

Grounding. I try to think of any other circumstance outside electricity discussions where I have heard the term used. Grounded, yes. As in punishment, or being down to earth, practical, realistic. Great, here I sit with a large, gooey tampon-like grounding thing stuck to my leg and I’m rattling off Webster’s dictionary terms. Now think. What do I know about electricity that may come in useful here? Think…. Think….

Ah, current. Yes, I know that current is involved in electricity. And transfer of energy, I think. Not as sure about that one. And…damnit. Why didn’t I pay more attention in eighth grade science when I had the chance?

The doctor and nurse come back in. She seems more subdued and older in the presence of the doctor. Faker, I want to tell her.

“How are we doing?” asks my doctor.

“Freezing,” I reply.

“Yes, it is cold in here.”

I take it this is to be all our conversation on the atmospheric conditions of the room. I hold off on mentioning the lack of reading material. No point in irritating him before a procedure.

The procedure is pretty much the same as before. Car jack inserted to prop me open, a tube that slide down the middle of that and splay apart inside me like a fist being spread open, each finger extending down a long tunnel. The pressure is, at times, intense.

Then I feel it. A tiny spark. Nothing that hurts. More like the small shock you got as a child when your sister dragged her feet across the carpet and then touched you. There is it again. I jump.

“All right?” asks the doctor.

I don’t know why I am loath to complain at doctor’s offices, but I am. Gynecologist, dentist, allergist, it’s all the same. They put you in these vulnerable positions where you are at their complete mercy, hooked to machines and hearing squeals and whines and watching small pointy drippy needles being passed over the top of your head and they ask if you’re all right and what you really want to do is sit up and say, “No, I am not all right. But I would be if I could just pull on my underwear, feel my tongue, etc…”

“Fine,” I say.

There it is again, another spark. Only… I don’t want to seem weird but I swear I felt the shock not in my vagina where tubes and cotton swabs and equipment of all sort is disappearing at a fascinating rate, but at the base of my buttocks. Again, I’m too intimidated to ask. The grounding thing was new so who knows what new branches the procedure has taken. Then I break into a cold sweat, remembering I forgot to have my little chat with the doctor about what procedure exactly we’re doing here…

Another shock, big one this time. I don’t just jerk, I buck.

“Did you by any chance feel a shock?” asks my doctor.

“Yes.” Followed by another one, and another buck from me. At least I’m getting a good pelvic workout. Although I fear equipment may be soon thrown from my vagina and scattered about the room. How does one apologize for something like that?

“Oh, I get it,” says my doctor. “You’re grounded, but I’m not. I like to manually manipulate the specula, and when I touch it and then you, I must be shocking you.”

He sounds pleased with himself to have come up with the solution. I raise my head and smile my most charming smile. “New rule,” I chirp, and lose my grin to glare at him. “No more touching.”

He loses his pleased look, nods, and goes back to peering down my vagina, hands well away from the specula. That’s more like it.

We finish up and the doctor reminds me no sex until he sees me again. I debate whether to ask him to write this out on a prescription pad but decide that may be overkill.

The pain soon fades and the good news reaching me that this time they got all the abnormal cells and everything appears back on track. I’m glad to hear it. Still, that won’t stop me from shuffling my feet across the carpet before my doctor enters the room for our next appointment.

I intend to give that man one hell of a shock.