I hadn’t seen my family practitioner since before I got pregnant with my son in 2009. My gynecologist was on speed dial, but my family doc and I had grown apart because I’m a user and didn’t need her.
All of a sudden, I found myself three babies deep and halfway through 2014. Fearing my PCP felt jilted, I made an appointment for a check-up to smooth things over. And maybe probably also because this mole on my back was bothering me and I wanted her to look at it.
I didn’t forget about you, doc! Just had to focus on my vagina for a few years, but I’m back!
Strangely, there was no reunion confetti, or even a hug, to welcome me back. I quickly recalled my doctor’s signature bedside manner: devoid of emotion. She didn’t have to speak, though; her eyes did all the talking: “Damn you got fat.”
I PUSHED OUT THREE HUGE KIDS! I silently defended myself. I smiled. She wrote something in her chart.
“Blood pressure is good. Heart rate is fine. Do you have any concerns?”
I thought about the mole on my back. Suddenly, I was afraid to admit why I was there in the first place. Was it really changing shape? Color? DID I HAVE CANCER?!
Yes, I did have concerns.
“YES!” I yelled a bit too forcefully.
The doctor winced against my coffee breath. “And…??”
“Well, I have this mole on my back and–”
“Open your robe.”
I slowly slipped the robe’s cardboard sleeves over my shoulders and leaned forward to give the doc a better look. Her cold, arthritic hands expertly grasped at the plastic belt and with one quick yank, opened the robe, exposing my entire back.
She poked around a bit, then with authority announced, “We’ll take care of it.” She called a nurse into the room and ordered the blowtorch or whatever the eff they use to melt a girl’s skin off.
Panic. I started sweating. I wasn’t prepared for this. I was prepared for a quick look-see and a “Oh, that’s no big deal,” and maybe a few questions about my diet and activity level (yummy and low, in case you’re wondering). I had not anticipated an actual procedure, especially one that would start a fire so close to my tramp stamp.
“Ummm…” I’m very articulate when nervous.
The doctor’s eyes met mine. “It won’t hurt,” she patronizingly promised.
LIES! I mind-yelled at her.
The pain level wasn’t what troubled me. My arm pits, warm like a baby pool of urine, competed with the slick sweat dripping down my forehead.
“But…” See? Eloquent.
“Take off the robe and lie on your stomach.”
Now is a good time to rewind back to the hour before my appointment when I was hastily throwing on clothes–any clothes–that were suitable to wear in public. I had been living in my PJs, dirty laundry piled up as high as my oldest kid’s head. As a result, options were limited. Though I hadn’t worn it in quite some time, it was my only choice.
“The thing is…” I explained, “I’m wearing a thong.”
I’m no prude, and after my lady bits exploded in front of an audience on three separate occasions, I’m no stranger to nudity either. And let’s be honest, I haven’t had a private BM in almost seven years. BUT.
Exactly. My BUTT.
We all have our insecurities, something about our bodies or personalities that, when zeroed in on, makes us feel incredibly vulnerable and straight up scared. Mine’s my arse.
In junior high, I always wore baggy pants to cover it up. In high school, I opted for long shirts never tucked in. In college, everyone wore sweat pants. It was my personal Mecca. As I get older, I’ve had less time to worry about trivial things like the size and shape of my rear end, but remain hyper-aware of it anyway.
So when the good doc informed me I was going to be lying face down with my bare bottom sunny side up, I felt it was the right thing to do to warn her.
“I’m wearing a thong,” I repeated. And I haven’t rocked this thing since before kids, which means the extra baby weight makes it look like my behind is eating my underwear. I kept that last part to myself.
Without missing a beat, she replied evenly, “I don’t mind if you don’t.”
“That’s ’cause you’ve never seen my bare butt!” I quipped.
Doctor: *Dead behind the eyes*
Resigned to the realization that there was no way I was getting out of this, I flopped face down on the paper-covered table like a fish taking its last breath, my thong-clad derriere an offering to the white lab coat gods.
This would be a terrible time to fart, I warned myself.
All told, the procedure didn’t hurt, and the biopsy came back clear. I learned an important lesson that day, too: the smell of my burning flesh would’ve definitely concealed any fart. Also? No one cares about my ass nearly as much as I do.