(which is to say, I mostly sat at Planned Parenthood.)
As an adult woman of nearly 29 years of age, it somehow escaped me that I should see a gynecologist. I mean, I’ve seen The Vagina Monologues – TWICE! – but I’ve never had a professional look at mine? Okay, that joke was a stretch. But living well below the poverty level AND having a terrible fear of doctors, I managed to put it off about a decade longer than I should have.
So I called, confessed total lack of knowledge, and made an appointment.
I was told to plan to be there for two hours. I was there for two and a half, most of which I spent sitting waiting – for a financial counselor, who signed me up in a matter of minutes to receive free health care, then a nurse who took my blood pressure ( 117/78, check me out! ) and administer a rapid-results HIV test (negative, woo hoo!). No needles involved, it was easy and I urge you all: GET TESTED!
Then, finally, the big scary moment: THE GOWN. No, the actual physical examination. Took barely five minutes! My nurse practitioner was quick, kind, and efficient (even if she did give me a lecture about eating more nuts and avocados once in a while).
I still have a few weeks to wait for my full test results to come back, but I was told that nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and everything looked fine. PHEW! What a relief!
For anyone who thinks they do evil work, that could not be further from the truth. Women of all ages were treated gently and with complete respect. I might go so far as to say that my experience made me more respectful of my fellow womankind: we were all there taking charge of our health and our lives. And Planned Parenthood helped us to do so, despite a lack of financial resources. Women just like me, finally able to receive health care they would not be able to afford otherwise.
I want to thank everyone at Planned Parenthood for being as patient, gentle, and respectful in their treatment of me – and many other women like me. Thank you.