“Bend your knees, love, and spread your legs,” the nurse says as I lie on the bed in the small room at the doctor’s surgery.
I gulp in the sterile air and do as I’m told, bringing my feet close to my bottom and letting my knees flop to the side. The cool air hits my sensitive parts, which are even more sensitive since I shaved this morning.
I hope the nurse appreciates my grooming efforts. I rarely go to town like this, even for my husband.
“Do you have any plans this weekend?” A cold metal contraption covered in a wet slippery gel slips inside with a squelch.
“I’m going away this evening in our caravan.” I stare at the blinding lights above me as she cranks up the gadget between my legs.
“Ooooh, sounds lovely. Hopefully, the weather’ll stay dry for you.” She taps my knee. “Just shove your fists under your bottom, dear, for a bit of leverage.”
I do as she says. She slips the gismo out and plunges it back in again. “You all right there, love?”
“Yes,” I squeak through gritted teeth, thinking I’ve had two kids. I can get through a bloody cervical screening test.
“Your cervix is hiding. Did they have trouble when you came three years ago?”
“Not that I remember.” Although it’s not a memory I recollect often, it’s locked away in a small corner of my brain along with all the dentist visits.
She pulls out the metal device. “You can relax for a minute, love. I’m just gonna grab a bigger size.”
I gulp. My mouth is incredibly dry. Bigger size?
She holds up a bigger speculum resembling a freakishly large duck’s beak. I don’t know what’s worse, that I’m going to take that inside me or that I can take that inside me. The realisation hitting me I must have a big vag.
A squirt of lube on the beaks and she’s good to go. I brace myself as it slips inside. The nurse gives it a wiggle, and I resort to prayer.
“I still can’t see it, love. It doesn’t want to come out today.”
Would you, with a metal contraption knocking on your door? I laugh nervously as she gives it another wiggle, bending her head to get a better look. Any minute now, she’s going to get a head torch and helmet and go mining down the shaft in search of my elusive cervix.
“There it is,” she sings.
Thank you, God, for small mercies. I keep my body still, holding my breath as she swabs the area, in fear she’ll never find it again.
“All done, my love. We got there in the end, didn’t we?” She chuckles as she washes her hands. “You all right, love?”
“Yes, thank you.” I slide off the bed and pull my knickers on.
The nurse calls from behind the curtain, “It can take up to eight weeks for the result, but they’re usually here in two to three weeks.”
“No problem.” I step around the curtain and gather my bag from the chair.
Her bright, bubbly face smiles at me. “You get a free gift for coming to see me today.” She wheels the office chair over to the cupboard and pulls out a bag for life.
“Oh, thank you,” I say, holding up the bag with a checklist of to do’s, one being book your smear test. There’s a pamphlet inside with do’s and don’ts before a test.
“Well, have a lovely weekend, dear. I’ll have my fingers crossed for nice weather.” She returns to her computer, tapping away on the keyboard as I exit her office, reading the pamphlet.
My jaw clenches when I read that sex twenty-four hours before a test can interfere with your results. If I get called back in a few weeks for inconclusive test results, I’m gonna kill my husband for jumping my bones last night.