Women’s health: it’s complicated

December 2, 2009

Let’s go back a few weeks to when I was all discombobulated about my mammogram and women’s health exam, almost three years late because my GYN retired.

I was a little concerned about the delay.

I did finally go, on my last trip to California, earlier this month.

But the GYN exam was every woman’s nightmare.

I’ll spare the details, but the physician I drew (a woman, probably close to 40) simply could not conduct the exam. I am certain she had never examined a menopausal woman before. Ever. She was completely thrown and helpless.

It was very bizarre.

Not only could she not conduct an internal exam, she admitted it, and that she wasn’t sure she had taken an adequate sample for the Pap test.

“So were you able to at least check my ovaries to be sure there’s nothing on them?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m not worried about THAT,” she said.

Really? Because I AM.

So it was with some concern that I awaited the results. Silence.

After three weeks, I left word. Last Friday.

Today, they called to say that I could get my Pap results by calling the auto-response number on the card they gave me when I checked out.

Problem is, they never GAVE me a card. They forgot.

The results were “normal.” Which means nothing because it may not even have been a proper sample. I’ll be repeating that in the new year once we move.

Now, the mammogram. Ever since my benign lumpectomy around 1991, I’ve had my mammogram at the same place. They can easily compare year to year. It gives me greater comfort that they’ll catch an anomaly.


When I arrived for my latest one, they told me the radiologist would read it the next day, and send my doctor a report. Then I’d get the usual card notice if all was well.

Three weeks later: no card. Now, you’d think they’d call. But to be honest, I’ve had so many different phone numbers and residences, that it would be equally likely they’d call a disconnected number.

Now, I have to admit. I watched the digital image come up on screen during the mammogram and didn’t see anything that looked obvious. But I don’t advocate self-service radiology. Especially if you aren’t a radiologist.

But what are the odds that this card wouldn’t arrive either?

I got the letter today AND a return phone call. Normal.

Today I had my follow up ENT exam. I was feeling kind of flush. Took my last dose of steroid yesterday and was hearing normally yesterday. And the day before.

This morning I thought maybe I noticed some symptoms returning. Then the ENT told me that Meniere’s could return without warning. That I could go through a back and forth with the steroid for a while. That it was unpredictable and inexplicably recurrent.

I didn’t feel so flush coming out of there. I felt…anxious.

M is right: Traitor Body.

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