Let’s first sort of clear the air. Many moons ago, for three years I was a pre-med student. Therefore I’ve always had a love and respect for medicine and the professionals that work in the medical field. It’s a brave decision to become responsible for the upkeep or emergency care of another human being. So, I applaud all of those who have made this unselfish commitment. With my somewhat medical background, but mostly a “self-taught physician,” I’ve always made it a point to stay on top of my preventative care. Dental cleanings and screenings every six months, physicals every year, along with the run of the mill blood work and routine urinalysis. The yearly pap smear, now more affectionately known as the WWE or the Well Woman Exam, dare I say has never been the highlight on any woman’s calendar. We all know and acknowledge the fact that it’s something that needs to and should be done at some point in time, but the tricky part is: When? With whom? And just how often is it really necessary?
The Tricky Parts
When? Be sure to check your calendar! I recently decided that 2017 would be the year of the new and improved me! So I shot right out the gate and decided to make an appointment for a WWE. After three kids, a few miscarriages, and a surgical delivery with my last child, I had become somewhat of a stranger/chicken to my OB/GYN, or any physician for that matter. Would you believe it’s been five years since I stepped foot in a doctor’s office? Yep, you read it right, five years! I was so confident and proud when I finally got the nerve up to make the call . . . “Hello, How may I help you?” said the friendly voice on the other end of the phone.
“Yes ma’am I’m a new patient and would like to schedule a well woman exam.” So, I eagerly and erroneously took the first date and time that the receptionist offered. “Next Thursday at 11:00? You betcha, sounds good!”
But then a few hours later it dawned on me that I might need to check my Period Tracker app because it’s been a few weeks, and sure enough there it was, doomsday, two days before my WWE. Lord knows that I’m way too regular and punctual in this area of my life, so that date was totally out! Needless to say I was back on the phone bright and early the next morning, explaining my dilemma to the receptionist and getting a rescheduled date, a day before the start of the red river shootout. Make sure that your calendar is free of everything!
With Whom? This part of my post might strike a negative cord with some, so let me apologize ahead of time to all of those who have husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, male friends, and male co-workers who courageously took it upon themselves to take charge of, assist in, and support women by choosing to work in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. However, I prefer female OBs! There, I said it! And, I love the fact that there are filters in place on the doctor profiles to include and eliminate the qualities and criteria that suits my needs. It’s not that I’ve never had a male doctor; it’s just that I now have a choice, and having that choice allows me to choose who I’m most comfortable with — and that happens to be a female doctor. Please don’t get me wrong. I love men and I love all of the roles they play, but for this momma . . . I’ll take a female for $200, Alex!
How Often Is It Really Necessary? Or better yet how often will you go? If you’re anything like the much younger me, then you’re up on your game and don’t need to be scolded, bribed, or reminded. Back then I felt like I had nothing to lose so going every year like clockwork was no biggie for me. Prior to pregnancies, children, and father time, there was no fear or apprehension because I had nothing but positive experiences. Everything was in it’s rightful place. Everything was working the way that it should and there was much of nothing to make a comparison to, because youth and good health were on my side. Now that I’ve crossed several age thresholds, the potential for more natural things to go wrong are ever present. Which you would think would make a woman my age (40ish), want to stay on top of her health. That however is not always the case. Now that I’ve had my WWE for the year, I’m more confident and committed than ever to stay on top of things. So EVERY YEAR it is!
I realize that I won’t be much good to myself or my family if I don’t take the time to get checked out. After all . . . in the unfortunate case that something is wrong, early detection is the key to a successful treatment and recovery!
Do you have a gender preference when it comes to your OB/GYN? Do you make it a point to take care of yourself by having your annual WWE? And if not, will you now be convinced or convicted to make that appointment?