Clinic for women
Clinic for women is a small office located on the second floor of our local Health Center, right at the end of the corridor. The name in Slovenian sounds a bit old school (translation would be "Clinic for Wives"), but inside, the doctors perform something that puts the fear of God to some women even today - gynecological examinations.
I called there for the first time when I was sixteen. Like most girls, I was in a hurry to get birth control pills. And to see if everything is working fine downstairs. I checked the available doctors and their waitlists and decided to see a gynecologist specialized in young women. The next day, I was already entering the number on my phone. While waiting for the connection, I was preparing for the worst - a pit bull on the other side of the line, like my general physician's nurse. After a couple of rings, I heard the friendliest female voice on the other side. Judging by it, she was young. I told her what I wanted, I answered her questions, every single one of them, but choked at the last one:
"When was your last period?"
Wow, I wasn't prepared for that one. As if I was answering the last and the most challenging question on the quiz. I can immediately rule out the answer 'two months ago'. And 'never'. In the end, however, I was still deciding between' three weeks ago' and 'two weeks ago'.
I am desperately bad at tracking my period. Some women always know how many days they were late, what kind of flow they had. I have no idea; neither the menstrual calendar nor the app on my phone, which reminded me every month that I should already be having my period or it is approaching, helped me.
I mumbled something into the phone and began to search for that information hidden somewhere in my memory: the events that had happened to me, and the pain that accompanied my menstruation, when I bought painkillers, how many did I eat, and so on. The nurse waited patiently for me on the other side.
"I know! March 17th was my last day of period," I screamed into the phone. Although I sounded convinced, I was far from it. The range was somewhere between tenth and twentieth, but I didn't know exactly when. There can be nothing wrong. The nurse told me the date and time of the checkup, and our chat was over.
The day before, I was shaving my body like crazy. Everywhere. Considering my mother's advice, I prepared nice underwear, which I never even used for happy hours, and a skirt because you can keep it on during the examination. On the D day, I entered the medical center, somewhat nervous, and headed to the second floor. As I walked past the general physicians' offices, it seemed that everyone knew where I was going. When reaching my destination, I sat down next to the older lady and looked around a bit. I could only see pregnant women and women over sixty.
When it was finally my turn, a friendly nurse measured my blood pressure, scratched something in my medical chart, and directed me to one of the booths. I undressed quickly, keeping on only the skirt, and started eavesdropping on the office conversation. I didn't want that, but I was afraid I wouldn't hear my doctor when she was done with the current patient and called me in.
The fear was completely unnecessary. When I heard my name, I opened the door and bravely walked to the table where my gynecologist was sitting. I told her everything but almost forgot I had come mainly to get the contraception. When I mentioned it, she smiled a little, gave me the recipe, and sent me home. I undressed and shaved for nothing, but I was still relieved when I left the clinic.
A year later, I was in the booth again, eagerly waiting to hear my name. This time an examination was waiting for me. I sat down on a chair and pushed my legs apart. I relaxed as much as I could. Before the examination, the gynecologist showed me a speculum or a duck's beak, which she later inserted into my vagina. It wasn't painful at all, just a little cold. She rummaged down there for a while, continued the exam with fingers while pressuring on my belly, and finished with an ultrasound. I found it funny when she put a condom on the probe. A minute later, I was done. Although it may not be the most pleasant examination, it was far from the horror I imagined.
I visit a gynecologist every year without any fear. I'm still wearing a skirt, and I'm still watching people in the waiting room. Always the same age groups. Not once have I met a woman as old as me—only those who were pregnant. While waiting in the booth, classical music is heard somewhere in the background. Just loud enough for me to be able to catch my name. When I am done with the examination, I gently close the door with the inscription "Clinic for Wives".