There is nothing more wonderful about being a female human being than the joyous occasion of the smear test.
Yes. I’m being sarcastic.
A smear test: when your vagina is winched open and your cervix is swabbed. YAY! Fun for all.
GUILTY FACE. I was long overdue a smear. Hadn’t had one in AAAAAAGES. Thought I should probably have one done. They’re important. THEY MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’VE BEEN PUNCHED IN THE VULVA, but they’re important.
This is what I worried about prior to the actual smear test:
- what if my undercarriage smells?
- what if I guff in the doctor’s face by accident?
- what if the doctor loses a speculum up there?
- what if the doctor finds a colony of womb spiders?
- what if the doctor recoils in horror at the sight of my untamed muff?
- what if the doctor refuses to administer the smear test on the grounds of a cruel and unusual vaginal display?
- my vagina’s OK, right?
- I mean, it FEELS OK. I haven’t actually looked properly in a while. I’m assuming it’s OK. DOES MY VAGINA LOOK OK?
- oh my GOD what if my vagina doesn’t look like a vagina any more?
- would the doctor even say if my vagina didn’t look OK?
- or would they just secretly add it to a list of Odd Vaginas and post it on the internet?
- should I google Odd Vaginas, just in case?
I’m pretty sure the doctor has seen A LOT of vaginas in her line of work. She kind of had the face of someone who’d seen A HECK OF A LOT of vaginas. And not in a good way.
She was quite curmudgeonly. I felt sorry for her, but then felt annoyed, because I wanted someone chirpy and bright and POSITIVE to bring me out of my worried funk. Someone to put me at ease. Not a ‘oh fuck, here’s another vagina’-faced doctor. I should have had a ‘YAY VAGINA!’ doctor. All gynaecological doctors should come with a YAY VAGINA! qualification.
But I’m being unfair. She was good at the smeary stuff. If ‘good’ means ‘shove a speculum in this front bottom and wrench those walls wide so’s I can shine a light on your secret juicy parts and poke around a bit’. Which is essentially what a smear test entails.
It’s UNCOMFORTABLE. It’s not unbearable, though. Just when you think you REALLY REALLY DON’T WANT TO DO THIS any more, she whips the speculum out and it’s over. I found out I have something HORRENDOUS sounding called CERVICAL EROSION (or ectropion) which made me want to go ‘AAAAAAAAAARRGHHHHHH WHAT WHAAAAAT OMFG MY CERVIX IS ERODING WHAAAAAAAT?’ for a minute until she explained it was quite common and not weird or dangerous or anything. Phew.
Anyway, obvs I have to wait for the results to see if I do have anything weird or dangerous, which is a whole different kind of worried funk now. But at least I’d KNOW, and can then do something about it, if needs be.
SMEAR TESTS ARE SO FUCKING IMPORTANT. Just DO ONE. Sure, they’re disagreeable and faintly embarrassing but how else are you going to know whether your cervix is peachy or not?
And if you’re lucky, you’ll get a YAY VAGINA! doctor.
I’ll say it one more time: YAY VAGINA!
And: get a fucking smear test done.
This has been a public service blog post, sponsored by my eroded cervix. You’re welcome.
Should I google Odd Vaginas?
My brain is full of stuff that generally could be perceived as useless. ENTIRELY USELESS. Obvs there’s some good stuff – like how to make a cup of tea, remembering where my bed is, and how to rewire giant lasers to go from stun to kill – but in the grand scheme of things, my brain is a repository for crap. Actual, real crap.
This is what my brain is up to right now:
AKKA AKKA FUH-tong FUH-tong ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ pop WOOOOOOOOAAAAHHHHHH
See? What a load of shit. That is a DAILY OCCURANCE. Man alive. I can’t even spell occurrence. My brain got it wrong first time. Like it needs a run up. Damn brain.
BUT ANYWAY. What am I getting at? Oh yeah. My brain has recently acquired some new information, however, which means that it is FINALLY using its powers for something positive and useful and potentially awesomesauce.
I went on a First Aid course.
Woo! That’s right. I am now a First Aider. I was a bit disappointed that we don’t get costumes to wear in our new roles but I might fashion my own. I’m thinking spandex onesie with F A emblazoned across my chest. And a cape. And a mask. And a tutu. Maybe.
This course was great. Absolutely great. It felt good to be learning something new and relevant and ultimately life-changing. It was also astonishing and frightening and kind of humbling. The other people on the course shared their stories of real-life emergencies. We watched a video of some lifeguards on Bondi Beach doing CPR on someone dragged unconscious from the waves. We practised tying bandages on each other. We learned all sorts of terrifying statistics about survival rates and deaths, and how you really don’t want to have to perform a Heimlich manoeuvre on yourself – with a spindle-backed chair* – if you can possibly help it. We learned about choking, and burns, and bleeding, and shock. I now know CPR, and how hard and fast I have to do it if I want to make a difference between someone living and dying. I know how to put someone in the recovery position, even if they’re seated in a chair or slumped against a wall. I know how to treat a burn or a scald. I know what to do if someone has a seizure. I know that in an emergency, I can be of use until someone more qualified than me turns up with the defibrillator and the drugs and the superior knowledge.
It’s all good stuff. In a way, I hope I never have to use it. When my ex and I had to call an ambulance for Moo about eighteen months ago I vowed to myself that I would never want to have to do that ever again, ever ever. Of course, accidents happen and those wonderful paramedics are there for a reason. But during the First Aid course, I finally came to terms with what Moo went through that awful evening. I thought I was over it, yet when I was explaining to the course teacher what had happened, I started crying and wobbling a bit and that’s when it struck me that the absolute worst thing about it all was feeling so damn useless. My infant daughter had been unconscious on the rug and I didn’t have a clue what to do. Thankfully, it turned out just fine. I now understand that after vomiting a few times Moo went into shock and her body shut down to protect her vital organs. She was still breathing, her heart was still beating. But it was like a reboot. Turned off then on again. Fucking terrifying for me and her daddy. I hope she never does it again. At least I’d know what to do. If it happened to ANYONE.
This stuff should be taught in schools. Currently, it’s not. Seriously. EVERYONE should know some basic first aid. Shouldn’t they? Am I right in thinking that? We should be confident enough to know what to do if we see someone collapsed in the street, right? Even if it’s put them into the recovery position and call an ambulance, that’s something.
I feel like I want to do more.
Are you a First Aider? Or have you ever been in an emergency and instinctively known what to do?
*dude tried it, impaled himself on spindle, and died. True story. Aargh.
Gave myself a bit of a squeaky-bum moment t’other day upon lifting the lid of the toilet and discovering there what I thought to be a GARGANTUAN SPIDER but was, in fact, some plughole hair that I had deposited within after my shower earlier that morning.
It really did look like a spider. Why there’d be a spider in my toilet, fark knows, but ne’ertheless, I did shriek a bit and flail momentarily before realising that yes, it was just HAIR. My hair. There’s no one else here, so it has to be my hair. I doubt Moo has been shedding copious amounts of spindly dark hairs, unless she has been secretly collecting them for her amateur voodoo, so – with my marvellous powers of deduction – t’was my hair.
Aside from it being plughole hair (which we all know to be the most heinous and foul-smelling hair in existence) it just struck me exactly HOW MUCH farking hair I appear to lose on a daily basis. I seem to empty that plughole almost interminably. I am AMAZED there is any hair left on my actual head. Seriously, that follicular Shelob was FARKING HUGE. Like Godzilla’s hairball. Godzilla was hairy, right? Right? No? Shit. Well, anyway, if Godzilla had been hairy, its hairball was sitting in my loo yesterday. True story.
My hair is very fine. It doesn’t look it, cos it’s wavy and somewhat wiry, and sticks out from my head at all angles, but I don’t have a lot of it, which means that from some viewpoints I can look a bit patchy on the ol’scalp. Has always been this way. Years ago I went to my then-GP and tried to convince her I was going bald but she laughed in my face and told me to come back when I had a real disease. Now I refrain from googling ‘female hair loss’ cos I think WE ALL KNOW what happens when I google symptoms. Yeah. Can everyone say LUPUS? I reckon if I google ‘help-me-for-the-love-of-Jeezus-I-am-losing-all-my-GODDAMN-hair’ then I will just end up convinced I have diabetes, alopecia, scabies or Tropical Ooga-Booga Monkey Virus – or all four – like I did all that time ago. And I don’t have those things. I just have fine hair.
Usually it does not bother me so much. I have accepted the fine hair burden. I adjust hair styles accordingly. Although I WILL NEVER HAVE A FRINGE *sob* which is a shame as I love fringes. When I was preggo, it was GREAT cos my hair was temporarily thick and lustrous. Then it all dropped out. Then it went back to being fine again. Now it’s dropping again. I have not had another baby. This is not fair.
Why is my hair dropping out? Why do I have hair-spiders dabbling in my toilet bowl more often than not? Is it my shit diet? Not that I eat shit. You get me. If so, what do I eat to stop the madness? And, most importantly, will you still love me if I’m bald?
I would just like to ascertain that hair seems to have NO TROUBLE WHATSOEVER growing ELSEWHERE upon my body. FFS.
No, not that C word. I ain’t got no qualms about saying cunt. Y’all know that to be true. Cunt cunt cunty cunt. See? What I’m talking about is the other C word: the one which, thankfully, I can hold at bay for just a while longer.
Those who follow my rabid tweetings will know that my mum had been waiting for the results of a biopsy on a mole she had removed from her foot a month ago. Well, today she finally had those results. It was clear. The tiny crust of blackened skin cells was not cancerous, as we had feared. FAN-FARKING-TASTIC.
Cancer. It’s a bastard. It goes right to the top of the List of Bastards. It’s like, the King of Bastards. There is nothing redeeming about it. It is an unrelenting, unforgiving bastard of a disease and yes, I have known people who have had it and been cruelly affected by it, but no one so close, and fark me, I was not ready for it to claim my mum. If the news had been bad, I actually think I would’ve shrunk myself to minuscule proportions – like Dennis Quaid in the film Innerspace – and got into a tiny spaceship, and asked someone to inject me into my mother, so I could’ve found the bastarding cancer and kicked its scrawny, evil, life-sucking arse. That’s possible, right? It bloody well should be. And available on the NHS.
Anyway. It was clear. The mole had to be removed, and tested, and we had to wait, and make contingency plans, and prepare ourselves, and hope hope hope, always hoping. Perhaps the cosmos decided that it was not our turn. Who knows. It could all be so different next week. But for now, today, this moment, I am doing a groovy little victory dance in my pyjamas. Cos my mum is going to be OK.
So. Celebrate with me. Share your stories of hope and survival, and jig a bit (pyjamas optional). I want to feel uplifted.
Fark you, bastard cancer.
A friend shared something intimate with me today. It went like this: ‘crapped myself on a beach once’. I laughed, out loud, though it was a bitter, rueful laugh. For today I did almost shit myself, a few times in fact. And d’you know what? I’m sharing it with you, cos I don’t give a shit. I LITERALLY don’t give a shit. It’s coming out of me in waves, instead.
Yes, you all know I’m on antibiotics – these wonderful medicines they peddle us which are SUPPOSED to make you feel better – and there are numerous side effects (OF COURSE) and joy, O joy, I am suffering while I get better, which seems slightly unfair to me. No, actually: VERY FARKING BASTARD UNFAIR, YOU CUNTING BASTARDS. What sort of MEDICINE makes you MORE ILL than you were when you started taking it? Am I the ONLY PERSON who thinks this is a FALLACY and a NONSENSE? I know I have an infection lurking shiftily within the folds of my lungs, which needs to blasted into oblivion and sure, I am really grateful that this antibiotic stuff is available to me and that yes, eventually, it’ll make me feel better – but SERIOUSLY, does it need to make me almost CRAP MY PANTS at least several times during the day??
I thought the stomach cramps and nausea last night were a sign of things to come. I slept with both my bedroom and bathroom doors open in case I needed to make an early dawn crap-dash. But no, the initial, dynamic arse explosion forced atmospheric entry the precise moment I decided to make Moo breakfast. When I was at the FURTHEST POINT FROM THE BATHROOM, naturally. I have never moved so fast in my life. After blogging yesterday about feeling old and decrepit, I’ve discovered the one thing that kind of renews your energy is a necessary-as-fark emergency trip to the loo. And it hasn’t stopped. Seems like every time I’ve stood up today, I’ve had to sprint. Which is why I’ve spent most of today comatose on the floor, TV remote control in hand so that I can put Numtums on a loop for Moo. It’s lucky she feeds off dust, cos she can scrabble for that herself around the skirting boards. Some excellent parenting, there. I’m so farking proud.
The last time I shat myself, as an adult, I was working in a costume hire shop – this was years ago. There’s no excuse. I needed to go, I didn’t move fast enough. Luckily there were no customers, and I was the sole workforce member that day. I had to bin my undercrackers and yes, the jeans as well. It was a fairly momentous shit. I ended up closing the shop, and walking home, feeling ashamed and ill, in a pair of 1970s flares, that I, erm, borrowed. I did not tell anyone what happened. Until now. Ye gods.
You’ll be glad to know I did not actually shit everywhere today. It was contained. I managed the situation. I have a well-used bumhole, and not in a good way. Actually, there never is a good way, FFS. I also have a scrupulously clean toilet. I have a daughter who thinks Numtums are real. I now have shares in soft and strong toilet roll. I have not – currently – been to the loo for 3 hours. This, I fervently hope, is a good sign.
Apologies for sharing my scatological news with you, but that is what I’ve been up to today. Shitting, waiting to shit, and recovering from the shitting. And feeling generally shit. May be amusing for some of you.
Do I dare ask when the last time you shat yourself was? Yeah, I do. Go on. I shared. Man up and confess.
Man alive, I feel old. I feel as old as a very old thing that’s been around for a while. Cut me open and count my rings. There’s, like, hundreds. I seem to permanently have dust under my fingernails and cobwebs up my nose, like a post-modern Miss Havisham. I ache and creak and – SERIOUSLY – bits fall off of me. I can’t remember the last time I moved quickly for anything. Even my brain functions seem to be juddering to a shaky halt. I feel like I’m 2 hours behind everything else, and not in a good way.
I’m only thirty-farking-three.
How did I get to feel this old? How did that happen? Can I feel much older? I don’t think I can. Is that even possible?
Was talking to a friend today who said that his niece and her husband had just had their first child. She’s just a bit younger than me. Her husband is more than twice her age. That’s pretty much knocking on a funeral parlour’s door, isn’t it? When the kid is ten, he’ll be over 70. I’m trying to imagine how it must feel to be that age, and doing all this parenting shite that I have to do now, and coping with all the farking decrepitude that it seems my stupid bag of bones is putting me through, as well. Wow. Not fun.
I can’t judge people who choose (or not, as the case may be) to have babies later in life. There’s all sorts of reasons to do so. I’m just wondering how they cope physically. Or is it just one of things you get on and do?
Maybe I’m ill and feeling sorry for myself and the stresses of the last six months or so are taking their toll (fark me, I should be grizzled and wizened and, erm, hastily buried, if that’s the deal). What I want is to get some of my youthful vitality back. I cannot believe it has gone and farked off permanently, especially when in my brains, I’m actually nineteen, and should be able to party all night, and still go to lectures at 9am the next day, with no outward visible signs of wear and tear, except maybe an extra-large bottle of water, and a lurid love-bite on my cleavage.
I’m not old, am I. Tell me I’m not old. And aside from bathing in the blood of virgins (which I’ve tried, but don’t tell anyone. Didn’t work anyway, pesky virgins) any advice on how to stay sprightly? If you say stuff like ‘ooh you just have to love life and everything it throws at you’ then I WILL PUNCH YOU IN THE TITS. Ahem.
Today has been a shite day. I am in a dark mood. Dark dark dark. And I knew it would be a shite day. I woke up with some dark foreboding sitting heavily on my chest.
Actually, that was just my chest infection. Yeah, I have a chest infection. The doctor told me so. My white blood count is sky high, my temperature is above normal, and my breathing is restricted. Duh. Stupid lungs. Stupid bacteria. Stupid human body.
I thought the foreboding was about my doctor’s appointment. But bad things have been happening all day. Must be something in the air. Yeah. I blame the air. Stupid air. Stupid, stupid, farking moronic, bastarding damned air. I hex the air. I voodoo the shit out of that air. The air can kiss my extraordinary arse, and then die.
For the friend who received some bad news today, I hope you and yours are going to be OK. You know you can call me if you need to.
For my mum, who still waits for her results, we can only be positive.
For absent loved ones. Courage.
And for me?
Yeah, I am in a dark, dark mood. Things need to improve for me soon. Not sure how much more of a kicking I can take.
I go in to have a blood test today. Walk into the room and the nurse says, ‘My! You look terrible.’
Yeah thanks. I KNOW I DO. Jeezus.
I explain about having ‘crap veins’, which is what a midwife told me when I was preggo with Moo. She scoffs and then spends the next two minutes HITTING MY ARM.
I can’t do needles so I look away. There’s that horrid scratchy, stinging, invasive feeling. I’m still not looking. I cough.
Nurse says, ‘My dad had a cough like that.’
‘Yes. He’s dead now.’
Farking hell. I close my eyes.
She says, ‘Do you feel all right?’
‘You’ve done very well.’
Really? Have I? HAVE I? Well, by all accounts I look terrible, have crap veins, and a cough that’s going to KILL ME, so please forgive me if I don’t jump for joy.
Bless her. She did make me giggle though, in a rueful way, which is more giggling than I’ve done in the last week or so.
I have nothing but respect for people who work in a medical profession. But seriously – worst nurse ever? Can anyone beat that?
The internet is marvellous, sure. But if there’s one thing I shouldn’t do, it’s put my symptoms into Google and try and find a diagnosis for why I’m feeling so hot-damn shit at the moment.
Something’s not right with me. Since Friday, I’ve felt like I’ve been hit by a bus. I wake up OK, manage till lunchtime, and then suddenly I’m exhausted. Like, bone-crunchingly, achingly, bloody bastard exhausted. When Moo napped today, I lay on the sofa, unable to move, under two blankets, trying to get warm. I snoozed for a bit and had weird dreams. When Moo woke, it took me ten minutes to crawl upstairs to get her. Ridiculous. THEN I DECIDED TO WALK TO MY MUM’S HOUSE. Like a farking loon. Obviously, once I was out in the fresh air and moving along, I’d feel loads better. Mahahaha! WHAT A NOOB. A twenty minute walk to mum’s house took twice that long. I was hot, dizzy and out of breath by the time I got there. Yet I told myself it was only cos it was uphill, and I am
hugely mildly unfit, that it affected me so.
Anyway my mum is not a fool, and told me to go the doctor’s. And I always do what my mum tells me. Tomorrow I’ll phone up and book an appointment.
But this evening I thought I’d look up my symptoms anyway, just to save my GP some time. So, I’ll go in tomorrow and shove a sheaf of printed paper in his face and shriek ‘Oh my GAWD, save me Doctor, for I think I must have LUPUS!’
Cos I have lupus. OBVIOUSLY. Or if not that, then:
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- rhabdomyolysis (no, me either)
- fibromyalgia (eh?)
- glandular fever
- bum fever
- foof plague which has spread throughout my bones
- or… um… Tropical Ooga-Booga Monkey Disease
Whatever. It could be I’m just exhausted. Physically, mentally and emotionally. It could be a virus that my body’s not managing to shift for whatever reason. It could be just one of those things, and I’ll wake up tomorrow and actually feel OK for a change.
But man alive, do I take my health for granted. When I can’t carry Moo downstairs after her bath, then I know something’s up. When I feel better I’m going to do a farking victory dance and start looking after myself a bit more (which means – probably – less cake… doom).
I am relentlessly optimistic (stop laughing at the back there, I farking AM) so I know I’ll be OK soon. Maybe. Yeah, I will, I will. Hopefully. Oh Jeezus. Excuse me while I go on NHS Direct, won’t you…
Am I the only internet hypochondriac out there? Or is anyone else tempted by the lure of a Google diagnosis?