Last week my OBGYN sent me for a trip to the Urologist. She was at a loss. Not able to treat my 3 week UTI symptoms and thought it best I get a further exam.
If you don't know what a cystoscopy is it's a test that allows your doctor to examine the interior lining of your bladder and urethra by sticking a cystoscope (thin, lighted viewing instrument) into your urethra which is then advanced into your bladder. Good times.
The Urologist's office was an odd place. Nothing about it was modern or new. It's decor was stuck somewhere between 1979 and 1980. There was a lot of mauve. Plants hanging in crocheted holders. Mauve pleather seats with faux wooden handles. A carpet that had seen a lot of traffic.
The oddest part was it's small interior. When I was buzzed into the office I crouched down so as not to hit my head on the door frame. And when I checked in at reception I had to bend down to peek in the window and give my name to the receptionist who was no bigger than an Ompa Lumpa. Was this the only Manhattan real estate the doctor could afford?
When my name was called I was reading a Yankee magazine article on the secrets to making a hearty beef stew. The nurse who looked my size and like the only other amazon in the place pointed to a sign on a door that read, "Exam Room #2" and said, "Please remove everything from the waist down, wrap yourself in the robe provided for you and the doctor will be in shortly."
When I got into the room I kid you not - it was slightly bigger than a Starbucks bathroom. Starbucks bathrooms are quite big so close your eyes, imagine the bathroom at your local Starbucks, add some square footage and welcome to my Urology exam room. As I removed everything from the waist down I kept saying strange things to myself like, "You are not naked from the waist down in a Starbucks bathroom - relax." and "You should remember that beef stew recipe."
The longer I waited for the doctor the quicker I launched into my usual panic routine. This happens to me each and every time I go to a doctor's office. I start thinking things like, "Wait...am I in the right room? Did she say Exam Room #1 or #2?" and then "Wait...did she say take EVERYTHING off from the waist down including underwear or did she just mean my pants?" What if I had it wrong. The doctor would think I was a creepy perv. This reminded of an experience my American girlfriend had in London when getting a massage. The London masseuse gave her a few minutes to get ready for the massage. My girlfriend took everything off from the waist up including her bra. When the massuese entered the room she gasped, "Oh my gosh! We don't do THAT here!" Note: bras with massages in London. Or at least that place.
I did my best to distract myself from my silly fears and took in the decor of the examination room. I wished I hadn't as everything white around me seemed to have a slight yellowish tinge to it. The tiny white stool had yellow stains. The white tubes had yellow stains. The white tiled floor had yellow stains. I know she was a pee doctor but come on. Couldn't she afford a little Soft Scrub with her salary? I decided instead to focus on the glass shelf of various knick knacks I assumed the doctor collected on her travels around what appeared to be all of Latin America.
The doctor soon came in. She was tiny - no surprise really. She fit perfectly in the room like a tiny little doll in a white coat with a friendly smile. The minute she walked in I freaked out and said, "Doc - you said everything off from the waist down. Underwear too right?" She didn't even flinch and nodded yes. She also seemed a tad hippie - her hair grown to an inappropriate length for a woman her age. A beaded necklace I imagined she'd picked up from a road side stand in Mexico. Some silver earrings and a multi-colored woven bracelet. Her husband - maybe a pan flute player at puppet shows for chidren.
When she gave me my exam - her head under my paper robe - we talked about every single good restaurant in Brooklyn even down to their menus. It was a strange out of body experience as these exams often are. The mere fact that such lines like "when I stick my finger in there you will feel pressure on your bladder as if you have to urinate" mixed in with "if you ever get the chance to eat at Chestnut I really recommend the duck salad with pomegranate seeds".
What can I say? Being a woman is a surreal experience. Sometimes painful.