Wednesday, August 28, 2013

While waiting to be seen-a trip to the Frauenartz

The fact that I couldn't seem to manage opening the unlocked front door on my own should have been everybody's first clue that I, in fact, didn't have a clue.  After being let into the doctor's office, I proceeded to the counter and, smiling, began with an excuse of sorts: As you may have noticed this is my first time here.  I should have an 11 am appt. under 'Batz'.  That part went without a hitch.  I then produced my insurance card and partially filled out the personal information form handed to me by the pretty, young woman sitting behind the counter.  When I asked what to do about the questions I had left unanswered I was told not to worry as the important information would really only be address and insurance number.  -so far, so good in tackling my first ever gynecological exam on foreign soil (auf Deutsch).

After returning the form, I was asked if I would like to use the toilet.  Thinking that she meant that it would a good idea to evacuate my bladder before undergoing the exam, I said, yes.  The woman then unleashed a string of words that I could only somewhat follow.  -something about a cup and my surname written on it.  Huh?  I asked her if she would not mind repeating herself.  Correctly sussing out my puzzled expression, she then switched into Standard German and, as if it would help, substantially slowed down her speech.  'A-f-t-e-r y-o-u f-i-l-l t-h-e c-u-p...'  That did more to amuse me than help as my grasp of the Standard isn't too shabby in these situations, but I was grateful nonetheless.  I think I was more confused by the query as women back home do not give a urine sample before a routine exam, unless one is expressly checked for STDs.  (Later, I was told that women past the age of 40 are more at risk for certain types of conditions that can be detected through the testing of urine like diabetes.  -good lookin' out, doc!)  I went around the counter to find the toilet behind the 'narrow door on the right'.  Small, plastic cups that looked like they would pair well with a pony keg for tiny people stood at the sink.  I undid my trousers, then grabbed a cup, and turned around to crouch down over the toilet bowl.  Fortunately, I had consumed a coffee before arriving at the doctor's office and was ready to go, as it were.  Hovering over the toilet and half way through the stream I heard a whirring noise directly behind me.  I wasn't sure what it was, but felt the need to move away from the sound.  I was able to shift forward a bit while still holding the cup as it filled.  No problem, I thought.  Then I felt something push into the small of my back.  In response, I pitched forward just enough to spill part of the contents of the cup into the crotch and down the back leg of my trousers.  Yep, I had 'pissed my pants'.  Unfortunately, I had decided to wear light khaki-green trousers for the visit to the doc's.  Now, they appeared to be a bit 'camouflaged' in all the wrong places.  Having no choice but to button up and get on with it, I then moved toward the sink to wash my hands.  The toilet began to whirr again.  I turned around to watch as the seat slid around clockwise as a square-ish section of the back of the toilet slid forward at the same time and the seat, sort of, went through it.  It was a 'self-sanitizing' toilet.  Well, at least the darn thing is free from bits of urine.  That makes one of us.

Knowing I could not magically teleport my way home in order to change gear, I dried my hands and left the WC, making my way with labeled pee cup back up to the counter.  The same young assistant bade me to bring the urine sample over to what resembled a kitchen counter then asked me to sit on a plastic chair next to a scale.  In a few minutes she was back and had me step up on the scale to be weighed.  If this were anything like back home, then, any minute now, the assistant would blurt out how much I weighed.  Having gained something akin to the 'Freshman Five' since arriving in the Summer of 2012, I really didn't want to know.  Did the urine soaked into my pants and trousers add on any extra weight?  Surely my wooden clogs did.  I asked not to be told my weight and was met with a 'whatever, kooky foreigner' stare.  I tried to joke my way out of appearing nutty with a 'can't be bothered with knowing the number...ha ha', but that sort of anxious blather doesn't always translate too well.

Feeling a bit of a 'first timer' failure, I looked away from the woman who was then fitting me with the blood pressure apparatus all the while telling me what was to happen with the urine sample.  I wasn't listening.  She then asked if I were all right and I, by way of explaining my despondent mood, told her that I had spilled urine into my trousers.  As if this sort of thing happened with some regularity, she then said something like: Oh, it will dry!  Yeah, it might dry in god knows how long, but I'll still smell of urine.  Eau des Urine...trés, trés bonne!

All this excitement and I hadn't even seen the doctor yet!  I'll save the 'speculum adventure' for another post.

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