This week I had a smear test, an event that is surely the highlight of any woman’s calendar? Working from home, I don’t get out much, so when I do I make the most of it, changing into proper clothes, brushing my hair and everything.
“You look nice!” said the nurse as I walked into the room and she ominously locked the door behind me.
“Thanks,” I replied, “I like to make an effort for a smear test.”
Minutes later I was lying semi naked on a bed, legs apart, without even having been bought a drink. I think many women get embarrassed by things like smear tests, but when you’ve gone through labour a couple of times, one nurse having a quick rummage around doesn’t seem like such a big deal.
“Have you got any children?” the nurse asked, as she pulled on her latex gloves.
“Yes, I’ve got two,” I said, “can’t you tell?”
Politely ignoring my inappropriate humour, she demonstrated her equipment, and got to work.
“Hmm…,” she said, peering carefully into the darkness, “you’re very tall aren’t you? I can’t seem to find your cervix.”
“I do have one,” I assured her helpfully.
“Stay there,” she said, “I just need to get a longer speculum.” Nice.
With her new longer tool she still wasn’t having any luck. The expression ‘needle in a haystack’ sprung to mind, and I pictured her having to put on a head torch and go all the way in.
“I’m really sorry,” she said, starting to look a bit panicky, “but I still can’t find it. I’m going to have a feel with my fingers. I’m ever so sorry.”
“Don’t worry about me,” I said, “you’re the one at the dodgy end.”
The hands on approach paid off, and the elusive cervix was eventually located and the smear test was completed. She managed to reach it with the speculum, and reassured me she now had a ‘very good view and everything looked lovely’. I took that as a compliment.
After being shown the fruits of her foraging, I was allowed to put my clothes back on and the door was unlocked. “Call me!” I wanted to say as I left, but I managed to restrain myself. Probably best.