“What’s a Girl Gotta Do to Get a Pap Around Here?”

TracySorry guys this is a girlfriends gab session today, you might want to blog off, I promise I will make it up to you with a nice manly post soon.  The dreaded “Papanicolaou” otherwise known as the “Pap test”.   I don’t know a woman who looks forward to having one, but when you have been trying to arrange an appointment and two weeks turns into 6 months, you just want it done!  I feel the need to vent, out of complete frustration with the medical systems process I have experienced lately.

A Pap test is a screening test used in gynecology to detect premalignant and malignant (cancerous) processes in the cervix.  It still remains the most effective and widely used method for early detection. Significant changes can be treated, thus preventing cervical cancer.  A very serious topic when it comes to preventative health care for women.  The test was invented by and named after the prominent Greek doctor Georgios Papanikolaou.

pap test

I have been having regular yearly paps since my twenties but this year I just couldn’t seem to coordinate my busy schedule with the hours my family doctor was available.  I originally wanted the female doctor of the clinic to do my pap for personal reasons but right now if one of the carpenters down the street offered, I might take him up on it.  You’ll understand why by the end of the post.  This is where my frustration comes in and this post originated.

I was told by a receptionist at my doctors office, (who I think needs to ask for compassion and an attitude adjustment this Christmas), that I needed to come into the clinic for a consultation before I could book my pap test appointment.  A consultation from my family doctor? A doctor who has my complete medical history at his finger tips?  What could I possibly say that would change the way he prepped for, or did this procedure?  It’s a routine test that as far as I remember was pretty straight forward in the past.  Undress from the waist down, cover yourself with a extra large stiff paper napkin, keep socks on, shimmy down until your uncomfortably close to the doc, knee’s bent, feet in stirrups, look at the ceiling, cold metal utensil put you know where, slight pinch, press here and your outta there.  So let me get this straight, I can’t get a pap test done without a consultation but I can have a mole removed from my nipple without any prior appointment.  I am curious what they would ask me that couldn’t be asked on “the day” to justify this extra clinic visit?  I can understand this if I was a new patient with no medical history on file, but this is my family doctor, so I just don’t get it?  An appointment for an appointment?

I tried calling my gynecologist to see if they could help me out.  They were very helpful and referred me to another family doctor whose receptionist figured it all out.   All I needed was a referral faxed from my family doctor to them and I was in like Flynn, without a consult, no visit before the visit, just a pap test.  My head starts to spin at this point.  The receptionist whom I spoke so highly of before NOT then tells me I need to have an appointment to get the referral.  If I could attend the appointment to get the referral, can’t the doctor just slip my heals in the stirrups quick and just get it over with?  And if I could make the appointment to get the referral, wouldn’t I just use that time to have the consult?  What’s going on here?  What is happening to the medical system!  I am simply trying to get a procedure done I have had umpteen times, and keep getting told I need an appointment to book an appointment.  I have medical so it’s not the cost of the visit that bothers me, but what about those who don’t have medical coverage?  They have to pay each time they see the doctor, and the doctor gets paid each time they schedule an appointment!  Are you following me here!  It’s starting to become clear why it takes so long to see your doctor.  We are required to have two appointments when we really could do with one.  And so I ask “WHAT’S A GIRL GOTTA DO TO GET A PAP AROUND HERE?”

P.S ~ I faxed a letter to my doctors office expressing my concern with both the receptionist and the process that I have to go through to have a simple test done.  I have also talked with two women who work in doctors offices and both have assured me that this is not normal.  I don’t like to complain about much but sometimes it just needs to be done to create change.  I am hoping to get my questions answered, I will keep you posted! 

Update~ I was called by the New doctors office saying that my Dr. did send off a referal to them so that I can get my Pap test done in the New Year!!

Tracy signiture

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‘Humiliation week’ all in the name of preventative Healthcare!

After Jacquie published her post on Mammography I thought I would share with you what I personally go through on a yearly basis all in the name of preventative health care.  I have named it  ‘Humiliation week‘, because it is just that.  But worth it!!

mamogramI start with my yearly Mammogram and as Jacquie said it’s not as bad as you think, unless of course the technician isn’t having a good day.  If I am lucky I get a Mom friend who just happens to be a Mammography tech.  When we first met I thought I recognised her but couldn’t remember from where.  I think I was blocking it out and then one day it clicked, she was the one who flattens my boob each year, which is sort of awkward I know, but she is far more sensitive than the other tech.  I would sooner have my boob manipulated by someone I see everyday at school than a tech who is unhappy!  I mentioned to my friend how much it hurt when she didn’t do it and she looked up the pressure the other tech used.  She told me  it was not necessary to use that much, so I am convinced she was trying to pop my boobs for some unknown reason.  I sure hope she’s not reading this!  I always feel really relieved once it’s done and my boobs go back to their natural shape.  The best feeling is when the letter comes in the mail that your clear, the summer just seems that much sweeter!  For many the letter comes with news that none of us want to hear and that is why we NEED to continue to have our Mammograms each year as a preventative measure to help detect any abnormalities early!  Early detection of breast cancer is key!  If you haven’t had your mammogram you need to make your appointment and go.  I haven’t heard yet of a case of a boob actually popping.

Pap smearThe yearly Pap Smear (test) is always next, and this year should be liberating because although I know your doctor does this all day long, well maybe not all day long, but he has seen a lot of vajaja’s and mine is no different than the others I am sure.  (I’d like to think that’s debatable)  But it’s still something I have to psych myself up for.  I have had a women Doctor do my pap for the last 15 years but this year I am not going to be silly and I am just booking it with my South African Doc whom I think is just awesome.  How bad could it be, he has a great sense of humour and he is a fantastic Doctor.  I’m over it, yet another positive for being in your 40’s!  I don’t know a women who looks forward to her pap test, but cervical cancer can be detected in the early stages  too.  After you have your pap there is a sense of relief that makes it all worth while.  The alternative is not worth it!  Get your Pap ladies!

dermatologistNext  into the Dermatologists office to have every square inch of my epidermis looked at with scrutiny!  Skin cancer runs in my family so I am aware of the consequences of having a nice summer glow.  I try to plan it right before the summer so I am reminded of what the sun is capable of.  You don’t want to look like your related to George Hamilton before walking into the Dermatologist office for a Skin Cancer screening. (I’ve been know to resemble him on occasion)

The first time I walked into the office I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was mortified that a stranger, yes I know he’s a Doctor, but I had never even talked to him before and he was looking at my naked body in detail.  What’s worse is that because I was a ‘new patient‘ he had the receptionist stand in the room.  Uggh, now she was looking too!  I wanted to say “it’s okay I trust you, now nice hot young girl, you can leave, I am sure you have a ton of work to do”.  All I could think was does my ass look fat in these panties, actually worse, does my ass look fat in this g-string?  I didn’t know he was going to look at my butt cheeks individually, in bright light!  Why don’t they tell you this kind of stuff so you can wear monster gonch!  They are extremely thorough with even looking between your toes.

In all honesty they let you keep your gown on and remove each sleeve or lift it up as needed.  They are very sensitive, understanding and discreet.  My first visit I was told the average person with sun exposure similar to what I have had has approximately 40 moles.  I had well over 200!  Tanning lathered in baby oil all summer in my twenties really paid off.

I felt sick leaving the office and wore a hat and 60 sunblock after being educated on what the end result would surely be if I didn’t take this seriously.  I do take it more seriously but I believe in Moderation.  I am sitting indoors right now writing this post and the sun is shinning so I have come along way.  The week passes by and I feel good, being vigilant about my health.  My week of Humiliation is a small price to pay and I feel fortunate to have the health care needed to help me live a happy healthy life. Tracy

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