I had my smear test this week.
“Put your feet together and relax your legs out,”
Why do they say that when your left leg hits the wall as the bed is always butted up against a wall?
Always a joy.
It used to be appropriately straightforward. Back when I was first called up for smears, they were every five years. No idea if that was a regional thing or pre Jade Goody era. Anyhoo my last successful smear was back in 2013. I had two more failed tries, the last one before lockdown (December 2019).
Before 2016, I’d had four smear tests, and all were negative. In 2016, when it switched to three-year rotation, the nurse couldn’t find my cervix. It hurt a lot this time when she expanded the instrument.
“Really?” I said.
“I just can’t see it,” she replied.
“It’s not the Channel Tunnel down there. Surely you get to the dead-end and scrape?”
I was super annoyed at the blasé shrug she did when she snapped off her latex gloves.
“What happens now?” I asked.
“You’ll need to see a specialist.”
“Make an appointment with the doctor, and he can refer you.”
I was summarily dismissed.
I was bounced back and forth between nurse and doctor a few times and got nowhere. So I left it. I KNOW what you’re thinking. Do not leave a smear test.
In 2019, I had a free company physical. They did every test and did the cholesterol and diabetes ones twice because they couldn’t believe the sizeable assed person sitting in front of them had normal cholesterol and normal bloodwork and didn’t even hint at diabetes.
She didn’t take kindly to my comment, but I got frustrated she saw an overweight woman and assumed I was at death’s door.
That’s another blog.
Part of the physical included a smear test.
This is 2019. The doctor couldn’t find my cervix either. She wanted me to see a gynaecologist. Seriously. Did the neck of my woman pack its bags? Now, it did hurt quite a bit, so maybe she got nervous, who knows. I asked to drive the equipment, but she wasn’t happy about me operating the equipment. Gloves snapped off, and no offer of tissues.
Lockdown happened before I could get an appointment. So I left it.
I KNOW what you’re thinking, and I am sorry to all those men and women who say do not put it off.
In one of my HRT phone appointments, the doctor wanted a more recent blood pressure test done—this comment was on the back of me telling her my weight.
The nurse took my blood pressure, and it was regular and in a healthy range. I asked her about getting a smear test as I’d put it off for lockdown, and now everything was lifting. Could I get one?
She is passionate about getting them done. When I said two others said they wouldn’t find my cervix, she immediately said, “I’ll find it.”
This week, I went along. I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting to get it done.
I got on the bed. Feet together and relax.
Relax. My ass!
For me, the pain happens when they expand the instrument, so I figured I could deep breathe through it. I got her to narrate everything she did, so I knew I could prepare when the pinch point was. I got her to slow down, expanding when the pain started. Then there was no pain when she expanded because she found my cervix!
Apparently, things change as you get older, and the cervix can change position. I was given directions to where my cervix now is. Should I not have her next time. I explained that I would find out which surgery she had moved to and make an appointment now that she had found the holy grail of the cervix.
Five scrapes later, she was done and shoving the stick in a pot and mixing it like she was making a paste.
I have four to six weeks to wait for the results.
I couldn’t understand why smear numbers 5 and 6 hurt. It could be down to me being nervous or a mutual lack of communication. But, my nurse at my doctor’s is the bomb! She talked through everything she did, showed me everything that was going inside my body. Then, talked me through the subsequent possible outcomes, and I went away filled with optimism and worry-free for my next smear.