On Wednesday, I got to spread my legs for a very attractive woman.
I just wish it was a sexy as it sounds.
The woman in question was my doctor. And it was the second time in three months that I found myself on her table.
My doctor is an amazing woman. She gets the poly thing. Or at least she doesn’t judge it, which is a real bonus in a world full of judgmental health professionals. She also doesn’t bug me about my fat, because my numbers are amazing and I work out regularly and eat really well.
The overwhelming response of my concerned friends since the breakup has been to get myself tested. So I made my appointment…. And it’s funny. I taught teenagers about AIDs during the nineties, the importance of testing regularly when you are sexually active. I knew more about mucous membranes and t-cells when I was 17 than I did the actual acts that would cause them to be something I should be concerned about. I’ve had multiple tests for an assortment of cooties in the past several years.
And yet, I found myself in a near panic state at my appointment on Wednesday.
I shouldn’t have, of course, but I got all sorts of nervous and scared.
My doctor was kind. She wanted to know why I requesting another full panel just three months after my yearly exams. Did I really need HIV testing again, and why was I specifically requesting “all” STIs…
When I told her I had just ended a relationship with someone I now knew to be untrustworthy, her eyebrows raised, and her fingers flew on the keyboard.
“Right then. HIV, and herpes titer, and we’ll do a bright-light scope to look for any lesions…”
Within minutes, I had peed in a cup (dirty catch for gonorrhea and chlamydia), and was on the table with my legs spread wide. She noted a few signs of HPV, no surprise there as it’s something I’ve had for at least several months and likely for a year or more… At any rate it showed up on my last exam. Vaginal culture for high-risk HPV and bacterial vaginosis, and then off to lab for three vials of blood to be screened for HIV, and both herpes viruses, as well as a few other things, I’m sure. I think syphilis is a blood test…
She was both kind and efficient. I was told that she’d call when the results were in, if I wanted, and could skip another office visit.
So I wait. I should be hearing from her any day now.
I know the response I had was mostly to take control, in some small manner, of something that had spun wildly out of my grasp. And also that I wanted to start with a clean slate, to know I left that relationship behind me with nothing more than memories. And the reassurance of telling any future partners that I tested out ok.
Also, no one else is going to look out for my sexual health. That’s my job, and mine alone.
Now I’m going to preach a little. Folks, get tested. If you have sex, get tested. I know it’s harder to test guys for some things, but don’t let that be an excuse to not go in. HIV is a simple blood draw. Some tests require peeing in a cup. Some require, for us ladies, a pelvic exam and can be worked into your yearly Pap smear and breast exam appointment.
But if you’re playing this game of sexual roulette, and if you read my blog regularly, chance are good that you might be, please get tested. For your current partners, and for your future ones.
And most importantly, for yourself.