So recently I decided to mobilize for another year with First Army (I know, who ever saw that coming??) and thus have to get the shit squared away that I'd been lazy about since I got to Dix, namely: MedPros. This is just the system that tracks your medical readiness in a number of categories: immunizations, dental, vision, hearing, periodic heath assessment or PHA (basically a routine physical), etc. Last month I was 'amber,' or in need of an update, in 5 categories.
I took care of the immunization update first: all I needed was a flu shot, ahem, flu mist. Kind of a gross sensation but not a big deal. Then I walked over to the dental clinic, they looked at my teeth, everything seemed fine. So two categories green. Next I went over to the Air Force side of Dix (also known as McGuire AFB) and had a PHA done, they made sure I had all my toes and whatever, that was fine too. Two weeks ago I went back to McGuire and had a vision exam (getting new glasses, but a weaker prescription - odd). All green except... the dreaded 'women's health' category. I HATE gynecologists.
I don't care if this makes me a bad person, but the last time I had a pap smear (about a month before I deployed), I told the gyno I'd been assaulted when I was younger so she'd hurry the hell up. Even though in reality I have never had any sort of trauma like that, I get over-emotional every time and end up crying and/or puking. Fun, right?
[Note: I don't mean to downplay sexual assault by any means, I just really, really fucking hate the exam process and would rather sell one of my arms than have one.]
So I'd called over to McGuire to see about making an appointment (unavoidable if I want to extend my mobilization) and they were booked until, like, 2011. And since I waited so long to start updating my MedPros, I now don't have that kind of time. I had no choice but to make an appointment with a civilian doctor around Dix and eat the cost. Whatever. Except my options were a Planned Parenthood about 30 min away, or some other random clinic nearly two hours away. Not really much of a choice, so Planned Parenthood it is.
Thursday, on my way there (I left during lunchtime and had to be back after the exam to finish up work), all I can think about is the movie Juno. You must have seen it, right? She's pregnant and decides to go have an abortion, except when she gets to the clinic, there's a classmate there protesting and holding a sign with a baby on it, and she tells Juno her baby has fingernails. Juno freaks out and ends up changing her mind.
Anywayyyy, I'm not pregnant and I wasn't going there to see an abortionist (is that a word?), but fuck, what if there were people protesting in the parking lot? Did I mention that, in a colossal oversight, I'd neglected to bring a set of civilian clothes, so here I was driving to this clinic in fucking uniform. Nice one. So what do I say if there are protesters: I just want a fucking pap, people! And not even really want one, but need one! Who the hell is going to believe that?
If there are protesters there I'm turning the fucking car around.
So I get there and thankfully there is no one outside to call me a murderer or whatever. So far so good? I open the door to the clinic and walk into a teeny closet-sized room. The receptionists are on the other side of - I kid you not - bulletproof glass. I have to show ID to prove I have an appointment, then I'm buzzed through a huge heavy door into the waiting room.
There are two other girls there, watching some courtroom tv show on a smallish tv in the corner of the waiting room. I filled out the forms they needed ("choose all the kinds of birth control you use: the pill, condoms, diaphragm, IUD, Depo-Provera, ... pulling out..."). Two more girls come in, looking sullen. No one speaks. Judge So-And-So lectures on.
I finally get to the gyno - she's a tall, blonde, severe woman who doesn't smile when I lamely tell her I hope her hands aren't cold. She doesn't comment on my folded uniform on the chair next to the table, doesn't say anything at all other than, "you need to relax your muscles." I'm just cattle, another random vagina. I'd wondered why my appointment was scheduled for 1:15 and not 1:00 or 1:30... but now it was clear - she was in the room with me for all of 3 min, so she probably does at least 4 exams an hour, with time in between to smoke a butt or take a nap or whatever. And for the $58 I paid? Not too bad for Planned Parenthood, I'd say.
She left the room so I could get changed again and I stepped in a glob of lube on the floor. In my socks. Which I didn't have a spare pair of. Thought about that lube in my boot for the rest of the day.
The moral of this story? Even without protesters carrying signs featuring aborted babies, going to Planned Parenthood is quite possibly the most uncomfortable experience on the planet.
"ask you what you think
because your thoughts and words are powerful"
- Kimya Dawson "Loose Lips" -