June 22, 2010

The (first) Day of Many Vaginas

I started my preceptorship in Gynecology today. It began with my attempting to put my bike on the front of the bus, involved seeing many things for the first time (trichomoniasis vaginalis, genital warts, cervical dysplasia, post-baby uterus, and a greater variation of breasts and vaginas than I could have - or maybe just would have - ever imagined.

the female body is incredible in all it can encompass and all it can do. The idea of a baby fitting inside any of the approximately two inch cervices of the young women we saw today is completely unbelievable.

Maybe the more interesting things I have seen - or rather heard - have been the stories. From my preceptor, who repeats over and over that birth control is God's gift to women, to a 38 year old woman who did not want to have children at all, to an 18 year old who we talked to about the possibility of her being pregnant and what she would do, to a 53 year old woman who just separated from her mildly abusive middle eastern husband, to another woman whose son and husband were just diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, simultaneously. One thing that fascinates me is that it is difficult to make a woman tell her own story, even when you ask "so how are YOU doing, Ms. ???", somehow her husband, her partner, her children, even her coworkers, become her story and she forgets her own. I think each woman has a variety of strings that tie her to other people and on which she feels different pulls at different times; I sometimes wonder if men have this, or if sometimes they can just detach all the strings for a while, so it doesn't matter how hard you pull.

It's odd but when a woman's feet are in the fuzzy slippers covering the stirrups and we are giving her a pelvic exam, moving her own hand to her abdomen so that she can feel her ovaries (and so that she will relax her abdomen so that we can feel her ovaries) seems like one of the few times women feel totally present with their own bodies.

pretty magical, this doctor thing.


From The Vagina Monologues, a play written by Eve Ensler:

The first question I asked women was: if your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?

A ralph lauren skirt
or a calvin klein dress or something like that
i would probably put a hat on it
lots of glitter.
red silk.
probably a red boa.
hiking boots and lots of sun block
something from the 40s
i like leather, its sexy
it would be bald
and it'd have an earring
actually my vagina's a nudist
doesn't wear anything anymore
some "tims"
some baggy jeans
probably a hoodie
like a little old fashioned dress?

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