You should know by now that I sometimes make incredibly stupid choices, which often lead to extremely embarrassing situations. Like the time I decided to eat two pounds of Sees chocolate almonds right after giving birth, or the time I attempted to discretely pick my nose in class. But I have to be honest – I haven’t told you about my most embarrassing incident ever. The one that comes back to haunt me and always makes me cringe when I think about it. It was something I was going to take to my grave without ever telling another living soul.
But then, I read a blog post on NaptimeThoughts that had me guffawing out loud. It was about an unfortunate incident at the rheumatologist, where a series of ill-fated events led to a hugely pregnant NaptimeThoughts flashing her hoohaw at the doctor – who was NOT in the business of looking at lady parts during office hours. I think it’s safe to say it was mortifying on both sides.
One of the reasons I enjoyed the post so much is that I could relate – plus it was probably even MORE embarrassing than the episode I have been so horrified about – maybe. When I briefly mentioned my incident (in the most non-specific, bare bones kind of way), NaptimeThoughts asked me why I hadn’t written about it. Apparently, she doesn’t want to suffer public humiliation alone – so, because I’m the kind of online friend who will throw myself in solidarity upon the altar of shame – I’ll put aside my dignity and put it out there for all to see. After all, I’ve done it before, as you will see.
About five years ago, after a lifetime of blissfully regular, non-painful, emotionally stable lady cycles, my body decided to go on a hormonal rampage. I don’t mean to offend your delicate sensibilities, but I was gushing blood like a raging river. Instead of chumming the water, shark hunters could have just trolled me in the ocean behind their boat and every great white in 300 mile radius would have been rushing to the buffet. You might think this is where the embarrassing part starts – perhaps I was wearing white pants and the blood gushed down my legs and all over my shoes at an inconvenient time? I’m sorry to disappoint, but my super-duper absorbent feminine hygiene products lived up to the promise on the packaging and no such accident occurred.
Luckily, I work in an OB/GYN office – so after stumbling into the wall for about the third time due to my dizziness, one of the doctors suggested that I should see her. After doing some lab work, she informed me that my rebellious uterus needed to be given the boot and I was scheduled for a hysterectomy.
As part of the diagnosis process, my doctor had sent me to have a pelvic ultrasound. I filled my bladder to the point of bursting, as they had told me to do, and then arrived for my appointment. The ultrasound tech instructed me to get naked and change into a hospital gown – and when I reappeared, she had me lie down on the table and proceeded to smush the ultrasound device all around my abdomen. You might think that this is where the embarrassing part starts – perhaps my bladder could not stand the assault and I spewed like a geyser at Yellowstone? I apologize for thwarting your amusement, but my bladder stoically hung onto its contents despite of the battering. The tech then had me empty my bladder (in the restroom) and when I came back, I laid down again and this time she took out this probe.
Part of my exam called for an internal probe – not unlike what you might expect aliens to do should you be abducted one dark, balmy summer’s night. The tech allowed me to do the inserting myself (thank God I had vast experience in this area with similar objects!) and then she pushed it to and fro as she snapped pictures and measured various parts of my anatomy. I was then allowed to redress and be on my way.
The reason I tell you this story about the ultrasound is so that you can see the procedure that was followed: Drink a lot of water, get naked and put on gown, lie down and get a tummy rub, pee, lie down again and have the closest thing to sex I had experienced in some time, get dressed, and then leave. Remember this — there may be a test later.
The ultrasound showed a cyst on one of my ovaries – which surprised me, as I had never had any pain or other symptoms. My doctor told me if it looked creepy or weird when she did the hysterectomy, she would have to remove it. But when I woke up from surgery, she told me that both of my ovaries had looked perfect and unblemished. She was rather flummoxed, so at my six-week post–op visit, the doctor suggested I have another ultrasound to see if the cyst had come back.
This time the ultrasound orders were for another location – somewhere I had never been before. I arrived and was escorted to the exam room – and found a doctor and an assistant waiting there. As I knew I was going to be getting both the external and internal probe again, I stood there awkwardly, waiting for instructions on where to go to change into a gown. Suddenly the doctor turned to me and said, “OK – lay down on the exam table.” I was confused – where was my gown? I knew the drill: “get naked and put on a gown” and then lie down. I stood there uncertainly for a moment and finally the doctor turned to me briefly and repeated, “Please, lie down!”
Was I supposed to just shuck off my pants right there in the exam room? Where was my gown? I couldn’t take my pants all the way off – I was still wearing my shoes. Wasn’t I supposed to have a gown? Did they want me to kick off my shoes first so I could get my pants off? They couldn’t do the exam without my belly and nether regions bared – but shouldn’t I have a gown?
When the doctor glanced at me again, looking a tad irritated, I walked to the exam table, hesitated briefly, and then, mustering all of my courage, awkwardly pushed my pants and underwear to my knees – and then quickly laid back on the table, ready for my ultrasound. There was dead silence in the room. I turned my head and saw both the doctor and the assistant looking at me with elevated eyebrows. The doctor gave a little cough and then scooted her chair closer to me, beginning the external pelvic ultrasound.
I was uncomfortable – not from the kneading on my belly, but from the feel of the cold breeze from the air conditioner on my hoohaw that had no gown to cover it. There was obviously something off – the doctor and assistant were not making any eye contact with me and conversation was very limited. And how was the doctor even supposed to do the internal exam? With my pants around my knees, I couldn’t spread my thighs apart to allow the internal probe anywhere near my lady parts! What kind of weird place was this where they didn’t even give a person a gown, for God’s sake??
A short time later, the doctor finished the external ultrasound and she gave me a tissue to wipe the lubricating jelly from my stomach. She then said, in a casual voice, “You can get up and go to the restroom now. Empty your bladder, disrobe from the waist down, and put on the gown you’ll find on the shelf there. Then we can get started on the internal exam.”
Ohhhhhhhhhhh! Understanding dawned and mortification washed over me. I suddenly realized that for the external ultrasound, their procedure would have been to just lower my pants down to my pubic bone to bare my belly. My hoohaw would have been covered, my modesty would have remained intact, and my dignity would not be in ruins. But instead, I had dropped trou, exposing my honey pot, uninvited, to two perfect strangers. Oh…my…God.
I slid off the table and inelegantly hitched my pants back up before taking the walk of shame to the restroom. Once inside I leaned my head against the wall and relived the mortification over and over for about two minutes, wishing desperately I had just spoken up and asked for clarification. Through the door, I heard muffled laughter. Oh yeah – I was going to be that patient – the one they would tell the rest of the clinic about as soon as I left, complete with gales of laughter. I would probably be included in new employee orientation: “Occasionally, you may be confronted with a patient like this — who lacks boundaries, is inappropriate, or has limited mental capacity. In these cases, it’s best to remain detached and professional at the time – but don’t forget the story, because the rest of us will want to hear it!”
Although I would have preferred to stay in that restroom for the rest of my life, I got through the remainder of the exam. I’m sure my face was flaming and this time, it was I that avoided eye contact. When the doctor finished, I changed back into my clothes and was out the door in record time, attempting to console myself that I would never see either of these people again.
Please God, let that be true!
Have you ever had a similar…let’s call it a misunderstanding? Has your hoohaw or (for you guys) your meat scepter ever been bared unintentionally for the world to see? How do you handle it when you make an absolute fool of yourself in front of strangers (not that it has ever happened, I’m sure!).