I’m not sure if it’s the three children I had in three years, or the fact that I just turned 30, but the impact gravity is having on my body is undeniable. Things are. . . misplaced. My husband kindly assures me he loves my breasts, but I’m confused because I don’t know how he can find them, as they seem to have migrated somewhere between my underarms and the south pole.
When muscular pain in my abdominals, a hernia, and an inability to walk more than 30 minutes without icing down my vagina sent me to my doctor, and my doctor sent me to a physical therapist, I’m fairly certain what I was picturing was somebody helping me rotate my knee. Somebody massaging my underdeveloped arm muscles. Somebody showing me how to, like, bounce on a large ball. I definitely was not picturing myself squeezing somebody else’s fist with my vagina.
Before I proceed, it should be noted that I have been naked before and had my nether regions examined by countless professionals–nurses, midwives, obstetricians, physician’s assistants, aestheticians (back when I was cute and used to get brazilians). . . the list is long. I’m no prude. There are limits to everyone’s sense of personal space, however, and I met mine in a physical therapist’s office.
On the day of my appointment, I found the waiting room to be warm, and friendly. There was coffee. Chocolate. There was a nice older gentleman who got called back while I was waiting. A woman who looked younger than me, with a tiny baby in her arms. My kids were with Grandma, so I did what every child-free mom does: I posted the evidence to Instagram.
I was called to the back, and met two people: the PT, and the PT in training. Both were lovely. The kind of gals you’d meet for coffee. They complimented my shoes, and I complimented the trainee’s dress.
Things got a little more serious when the therapist whipped out a laptop and began asking questions. They recorded my answers, for posterity, no doubt. I am assured in my soul that I shall see those answers again when I’m running for president one day.
How many times a week do you experience incontinence? Um. . .oh, like, I should have been counting?
Was it a small trickle, or a gush? A. . . grickle?
Do you have to change your underwear? It depends on how loudly my children are screaming.
How much water do you drink daily? How much do you drink?
How much caffeine? I’m a mom. . .
What about sex–does it hurt? Do you orgasm? How often? Do you use lube? I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THESE QUESTIONS AND THEY ARE ALL COMPLICATED.
Can I just say, also, that it’s one thing to spill all the gory details with your girlfriends over queso and margaritas, and a TOTALLY DIFFERENT FEELING WHEN YOU’RE THE ONLY PERSON SHARING?
We talked about poop, how often it happened, if it hurt, and what did it look like. THERE WAS A CHART.
Then, as the maelstrom of questions subsided and I began to calm, they asked me to undress below the waist, gave me a thin paper napkin, and exited the room.
Suddenly, they’re back. And the therapist says: It’s your lucky day! You’ll get TWO examinations, and the trainee will go first.
And so, there I am, laying on my back on a table surrounded by nice ladies, with my legs in a v-shape. And oh, dear Lord, the trainee obviously hasn’t been doing this long enough to develop that sort of clinical attitude one learns to appreciate in a medical professional. She has a question about my hips in relation to my pubic bones, so now they’re BOTH feeling THINGS and I’m staring at the ceiling wondering HOW THIS BECAME MY LIFE and I SHOULD HAVE SHAVED.
And then the internal exam begins, and the trainee’s arm is in my vagina. She tells me to squeeze her hand. With my vagina. Ten times. Where do I look? At her? At the ceiling? At the other therapist? Do I smile, giggle nervously, or look serious? Does she go home at the end of the day, take a scalding shower, and wonder how she ended up with her arms inside vaginas? WHAT DID THEY DO TO THAT POOR OLD MAN IN THE WAITING ROOM?
At some point, I don’t understand the instructions, and there’s a pause as, with her not-in-my-vagina-hand, she attempts to demonstrate what I’m supposed to do. The PT is so jaded this isn’t phasing her one bit, but me and the trainee are both trying like heck to act like THIS TOTALLY ISN’T AWKWARD AT ALL. THIS IS NORMAL. CARRY ON, WORLD.
Eventually, all objects are removed from my insides, and I’m allowed to dress. I avoid further eye contact with my physical therapist. I vow to drink less caffeine, more water, and to do my exercises. I leave, teetering somewhere between crawling under the covers with a pint of icecream and phoning up my girlfriends so we can all laugh hysterically. In the end, I do both. And then I bless my Physical Therapist–both of them. And their arms. Carry on, world.