A tale of 2 smears

Now before I start if you’re male or a family member or someone who just doesn’t want to know then leave now… or read on at your own risk of too much information overload!

The time had finally arrived, that time most ladies dread.  The post man arrives with a little letter telling you it’s time for that smear test thing. Now I know the importance of them but it doesn’t make we want to  have one!!

I last had one in South Africa before moving to the UK almost 6 years ago now.  Yes, before anyone shouts at me I know I was overdue! When my test time came around I was pregnant, or pregnant or yes you guessed it pregnant.  And now I’ve put it off for a couple of months because to find childcare during the day when I’m not working has been tough!

But I did it, I booked it and turned up!

I had some fears, I knew it would be different to my first one 6 years ago in South Africa what I didn’t realise was how different.

Lets go back 6 years ago shall we:

I phoned the receptionist and booked myself in for an hour appointment with my choosen gynaecologist.  On arriving I took a seat on a lovely leather sofa, picked up a magazine and sat back to the sound of the panpipes playing “candle in the wind”.  I receptionist apologised that the gynae was running late to due a “delivery emergency” and offered me some coffee with a biscuit – I accepted gratefully! 5 minutes later I was escorted through to his office – with my coffee.  We had a little chat and he then showed me through to the examination room and left me along to gown up for a few minutes.

After a physical examination (include breast) he whipped out the speculum (plastic and warmed) and a quick and painless smear was performed.  He then did an internal ultrasound to check out the ovaries etc.

We then retired back to his desk (after dressing) where he explained the next process and what he had seen on the ultrasound – nothing thankfully! Besides the fact that I was apparently “very fertile” – which was later proved true!

We shook hands and in 45 minutes after walking in I was escorted out of his office with the promise of a call and letter with the results.

How civilised I hear you say, and it was!

Fast forward to this week…

I walk into the surgery and enter my details into new electronic system.  I take a seat and wait to be called.  5 minutes later my name pops on the screen with a ding ding.  I walk to the room shown… and there is no one there… I wait a couple of minutes… and ding ding my name pops up on the screen again! I head on over to the receptionist, there is a long queque and try to get her attention to see where I am supposed to go.  She sends me back to the end of the line, I decline and ask her which room the nurse is in as the board is wrong! “Oh yes she says, I forgot to change that! Go to room blah blah blah…”.

Enter room and chat to a lovely nurse who asks what I’m actually there for??? Really??? I tell her and she tells me to go through to the other room.

In the other room she asks me to drop my pants and climb onto the bed.  At this point she has not prepared any instuments or given me a gown or even a blanket to cover my bits when on the bed, so I procrastinate until she looks a little more prepared.

She reiterates her request and I slowly start the process and lie down.  If I hadn’t had 3 kids in the last 3 years I would have felt incredibly exposed and vulnerable but giving birth kind of gets rid of some of that, but no woman should be made to feel like that (personal nursing opinion here). 

The smear test didn’t take too long although I was a little concerned that she didn’t use gloves…

Back to the little office where she reminded me to check my breasts… I explained that it can be a little difficult when they are super plus sized and lumpy but she didn’t seem to care or offer to help and out I went.

Now I wouldn’t exactly say it was traumatic but it could have been so much better! And yes I know it’s not private health care like in South Africa but just a little bit of common courtesy and care could have been shown. Just a few moments where some individuality in care could have been given, and a blanket or something.

Now to wait for the results, and hopefully another 3 years until I have to go through it all again!! I know if I had to choose where I’d go through it again!

What has your experience been??? Do you agree??



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