I have been waiting six months for today.
I woke up at 6:45 in the morning, ready to smash out to the bus, only to be sidetracked by the reading the news and things. Don’t do this, I said to myself. You’re being bad…
I was being bad. I had an appointment to get to. But I knew what I was going to wear; I just had to get in the shower and go. Right. Stupid brain. Instead, upon getting dressed, I looked terrible. I looked old and childish at the same time, and like I was going to a funeral. I had to look right. I had to be respectable and serious without looking somber. I had to look business-like. I had to look like I meant what I said.
20 minutes went by, dithering. Dithering dithering with dithering looks in the mirror. Over and over I changed. Black skirt with loose lilac top – no. Desperate search through other skirts – god no. Different shirt – ughhh. Work pants – ew. Sweater – nothing tidy, only bulky things.
Disaster disaster disaster. With insistence from Patrick and the bus long gone from my stop, I settled on jeans, for heaven’s sake, and ran. Where is the streetcar? Where is the subway? How in lord’s name are there this many people in the subway? I heard complaints around me and sure enough, when the subway came, it was entirely empty, indicating it had been added to the work shift due to whatever. It’s always freaking whatever with transit.
Pacing and scanning and twisting and clenching my muscles – sound familiar? Panic attack? Yes, but I had a legitimate reason. I had been waiting for six months and if I missed this, what if they threw me out? What if I had to wait another six months? What if they took this as a sign that I was not serious enough, clearly a crackers young woman? I would be relegated to the corner of the waiting room, in the potential event that they had time for me, me who decided that being on time wasn’t important enough, that this appointment wasn’t important enough, and they being the six-month long waiting list people would sneer down their noses with pitiless looks!
Running into the clinic, I was ten minutes late.
“I’m here to see Dr. Rolans.”
“May I have your hospital card?” WHAT? Last time I didn’t have a hospital card, when trying to use the University Health Network in Toronto, my appointment was dismissed until later in the day and I spent 2 hours waiting in line to GET a card. This was going to happen again??? AGH.
“I don’t have one.”
“Have you ever been here before?”
“Ok, then just your health card.” OH THANK GOD.
“I’m so sorry I’m late, the subway didn’t come for 10 minutes.”
“You’re late?” The receptionist ominously glanced up. Oh god, here it comes, the sneer and the relegation and the panic panic freaking agh –
“Yes, I’m so sorry.”
“Ok, take a seat over there.”
Being part of the downtown hospitals, the waiting room had enormous glass windows so that I could look out at the sunny day, and send desperate prayers towards the cathedrals on Church Street.
I looked around at all the other women. The important ones that were considered serious. They had real issues to discuss. I would be laughed at. Oh god oh god oh god oh hell I’m panicking, I’m actually, agh fuck bugger can’t control my breathing, white knuckles…
After about five minutes of the above, a staff member offered brownies to a couple of people and then to the room in general. There were some chuckles. My panic reduced into tension. I had to be serious, but I can do that. I can speak to them clearly…*yawn* it’s warm in here…I’ve been over the chapters in the book…I’m…prepared…other ladies…pregnant women…reception…
OH GOD I FELL ASLEEP I’M NOT SERIOUS ENOUGH.
“Christina uh XXXX?” I stumbled, sleepy eyed towards the nurse.
“If you could please wait in this room, Dr. Rolan’s resident will interview you in just a moment.”
It was a tiny meeting room. Same view, less sun. A fridge was in the corner, and near its plug was a sign saying, “DO NOT! UNPLUG THIS FRIDGE – in case of emergency please contact the gynecology clinic at #####”. I wondered what kind of samples needed to be kept in a minibar fridge at constant temperature.
At that moment, the resident came into the room. She was a young woman, dressed fairly casually, with a small folder and a very friendly smile. The tension began to melt out of me.
“So Christina, I have an understanding of your problem from your referral, but could you describe it to me?”
“I have pain around my vaginal vestibule whenever I have intercourse.”
She gave no sign that this was a silly thing to be seeing a doctor about. She nodded with me. She asked if I had pain on a regular basis or only during intercourse – she knew about vestibulodynia! She knew about the difference between that and vulvodynia! HALLELUJAH! I may be saved!