Smear test: My farting faux pas
To anyone feeling worried or embarrassed about getting a smear test, hopefully this will help you make that all-important appointment.
I think it was probably within the first minute of Rex being born that I wanted to make a GP appt to have the coil put back in. Not that I wanted anyone near my lady bits again, for some time I might add, but the thought of my old girl having to birth another baby in the near future made me bite the bullet and make an appt. During the phone call to organise this, the receptionist asked if I would like to be booked in for a smear test as well. Well, of COURSE, I said (sarcasm very much intended).
Like any other day with a newborn, getting out of the house was a fucking mission and I was running a little late. But I made sure my personal hygiene was up to scratch, if you know what I mean, and off I went. However, in my haste, I ignored my need for a poo.
In hindsight, this was, well, stupid. I don't know if you've ever attempted to stop yourself from farting when your legs are in a quarter to three position, but I can tell you, it's nigh on impossible. (You can see where I’m headed with this, can’t you?) Yep, mid-fitting, speculum well and truly in, I’m trying to relax as much as possible and, in doing so, all the wind I’d held in up to that point flew right out.
I often wonder if I should be allowed out unsupervised/unattended. It was that appointment I decided the answer was a resounding no.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the lovely doctor who fit my coil has hopefully heard and smelt worse, but dear me, there’s nothing quite like a fart in the face to make an impression. I genuinely think I would’ve been less embarrassed if I'd crapped myself during birth. At least then I could’ve blamed Rex. Not today. While Rex was with me today, there was no hiding behind him with that bad boy, that was aaaaaaall me.
Like most situations I find myself in these days. I apologised profusely and scurried out of the surgery with a face redder than the sun.
Smear tests: They're not as bad as you think
Smear tests, if you've never had one, can be really scary. I'd be lying if I sat here and said they're enjoyable, because they're not. The thought of a stranger poking about in your nether regions is not something anyone really wants to do, I don't care how many they've 'seen before'. But they're nowhere near as bad as you might have built them up in your mind to be.
I am extremely ashamed to admit I was so scared and embarrassed by having a smear test that I ignored loads of doctors letters about them, to the point where I was 30 when I had my first one. And I have Jade Goody to thank for making me finally book that first cervical screening appointment. I didn't have kids when Jade was ill, but I remember watching her on TV in awe at how brave she was throughout her cervical cancer diagnosis. Her story was heartbreaking, and despite not knowing her, it made me question my incredibly naive 'it won't happen to me' mindset.
My first ever smear test results came back abnormal, which was a huge wake up call for me. I had to go for a colposcopy, a simple procedure where a camera is inserted in the vagina to look at the cervix in more detail. They took a biopsy at that appointment, which, thankfully, came back okay. Since that point I have stuck to my advised smear tests religiously.
I totally get the fear a lot of women feel about smear tests, it's intimate and who knows what the results might return. But if I've learnt anything over the years, it's that the appointment that you are so fearful of in the first place is never as bad as you are expecting. A smear test is a very discrete and quick procedure, here my experience of them:
Doctor leaves the room or curtained area while you removing the lower half of yor clothing and then lay on a bed, which has a paper towel for you to cover yourself with
Doctor checks you are ready for them to enter the room
Doctor asks for you to place your feet up against your bum, still covered by the paper towel, and let your legs fall to either side. Doctor will then explain what he or she is going to do at every stage, which includes inserting the speculum (which for me has always been covered in lubricant to make it more comfortable) in to the vagina, and a long cotton bud-type instrument used to take a sample of cells from the cervix.
Voila - all done.
Obviously not every woman is the same, and some tests might take longer depending on individual health conditions, but none of my smear tests have taken longer than a couple of minutes. The thing to focus on during this procedure, which, yes, you might find a little uncomfortable and embarrasing to have done, is that it could potentially save your life.
So please, lovely ladies, take a minute to check when you had your last smear test – just make sure you have a poo beforehand if you need to, no matter how late it might make you.