Melissa had a busy weekend. Her father had scheduled three medical appointments in a row for her summer back from college; her dentist, Dr. Jorgensen, her optometrist, Dr. Stevenson, and her gynaecologist, Dr. Gunderson. Things started becoming weird for her when the visit to Dr. Jorgensen resulted in a major wardrobe malfunction leaving her nude in view of the entire dentist’s office for minutes on end. Her reaction to this led to a misunderstanding (or was it a misunderstanding?) on Dr. Jorgensen’s part, who insisted that she attend all such appointments in the nude. Dr. Stevenson had gotten word of this incident and, further bolstered in this view by Melissa’s lack of underwear from a shortage of clean laundry, imposed the same condition on Melissa during the following day’s optometrist visit. She had similar luck in Stevenson’s office, once again being fully exposed to the entire waiting room.
Melissa’s mind was reeling from these incidents. She didn’t know what to do about this turn of events. She had considered taking her skirt off on the way back from the optometrist since she was afraid she would wet it from her moisture, but decided against it. She quickly discovered that that had been a bad idea; once she got home, it looked like she had wet herself! Sighing, and learning the lesson from this morning, she stripped the skirt off and did her laundry. She didn’t have a lot, and could get away with putting all her summertime clothes in a single load. She did so, ultimately wearing nothing but her old tight T-shirt.
A devilish thought entered her mind, because of course it did. She decided to swipe off her T-shirt and throw it in with the rest of her laundry. She had just started the laundry when she heard footsteps coming down the stairs. She panicked, and fled into a closet by the washer and dryer. Her mother looked around the room and cried out “Hello? Hello? Is anyone there?” After thirty seconds of silence, her Mom shrugged, said to herself “I thought I heard someone come down here”, and walked back upstairs. Melissa sighed a breath of relief and stayed hidden in the closet until her laundry was done, after which she folded her clothes, donned some flannel pajamas, made her bed, and retired for the night.
The gynaecologist was arguably the one place where Melissa should have expected to expose her intimate areas, but this had not in fact been the case. She had seen Dr. Gunderson twice before, the first to discuss birth control options, and (once Melissa had decided against sexual activity given her shyness around boys) the other to discuss medication for her period pains. Both of those were simple questions and answers, and no examinations were given. The only reason Melissa’s father had even scheduled this appointment, after those with his buddies Jorgensen and Stevenson, was because Melissa’s prescription for those pills had run out and she needed Dr. Gunderson to refill it. Indeed, Melissa was herself too shy to ask for it and it took her mother to notice and request her father to make the call. As such, Melissa saw, hoping against hope, little reason to expect anything similar to the preceding incidents to happen this time around.
Melissa, fully dressed in her getup of a bra, panties, long-sleeved T-shirt, and skirt, checked in to the waiting room and sat down in a chair that was separated from the other patients there, mainly pregnant ladies, some women wearing comfortable gym clothes, and a few young women looking stressed and holding pregnancy tests. Eventually her name was called, and Dr. Gunderson came out to greet her and lead her to the room. She was instructed to sit down on the examination table and wait for the doctor to come to her.
Which eventually Dr. Gunderson did. “Well hello Melissa, how have you been today?”
“That’s good. I’ve heard you’ve had a busy weekend.”
Melissa’s heart sank. Oh no, did Dr. Gunderson know of her escapades too?
“You can say that, I guess,” she said looking at the floor.
“I was getting my eyes examined yesterday by a doctor named Stevenson, I believe you know him?” Dr. Gunderson explained. Melissa sighed internally as she knew where this was going. “He told me of a patient of his who came to his office without underwear, and who was more than happy to strip down to even less to get her eyes checked out. Now, I’ve only seen you twice before and both of those times you seemed extremely shy, so when he described you physically I couldn’t believe it. I asked him whether it happened to be the same person as the shy girl in my office, and upon hitting a name we both found out that it was.” The deja vu was getting painful for Melissa, as she braced for what was next.
“Anyway, I just wanted to say that I was thrilled that you had the confidence and body positivity to go commando and then au naturel!” Dr. Gunderson said chirpily “Not many women can do that, and it’s a real shame. Underwear is quite bad for you, actually. You need to let that bad girl breathe!” Dr. Gunderson added with a chuckle. Melissa just blushed as the doctor went on. “Anyway, let’s get to your prescription. Has there been any substantial change in your situation from last year?”
Melissa was stunned and relieved. Was this really it? Would Dr. Gunderson just leave it at that? Dr. Gunderson continued asking her questions that she answered succinctly if quietly. As they were finishing up the questionnaire Dr. Gunderson started to change the subject. “Given that you’re on your own and back from your first year of college, I felt it was appropriate to look through your medical history.” Melissa started to wonder what Dr. Gunderson was on about at this point. “I was with your mother last week. We were talking and she mentioned that she often had problems with warts. More importantly for today, she recounted to me how you had a problem with warts on your toes when you were six years old.” This was true! Those darn warts made her feel bad, and they were a real pain to freeze off! How this had anything to do with her prescription was beyond her, however.
“If you are not aware, warts, whether on your feet or in your intimate area, are caused by human papillomavirus, or HPV. Now, I looked through your history and noticed that you were vaccinated against HPV, when you were 11, long after those warts appeared. That’s certainly better than nothing but still far from surefire protection. As you may know, HPV causes the lion’s share of cervical cancers, and women are supposed to undergo routine Pap tests in order to detect changes in the reproductive system before cancer starts developing.” Oh dear, Melissa though, I can see where this is going. Dr. Gunderson then explained the basics of a Pap smear and what it entailed, and Melissa was less than pleased about what would likely soon happen.
“Women are not generally expected to start routine testing until they’re 21, so I was originally going to only discuss it in the context of your future until you became that old, especially given your … inactivity in certain affairs and your vaccination status. However, your warts cause some concern, and given what I’ve heard from Stevenson I believe you have enough confidence in your body and wherewithal to take care of it to have your first Pap test today!”
Melissa started to say something, but only ended up hemming and hawing. “Oh sweetie,” Dr. Gunderson interrupted her, “I know this might be stressful for you, but I promise this will pay dividends in the long term. You know, more than 4,000 women die every year in the US from cervical cancer, and that number used to be much bigger before they had routine Pap testing! But before we do that, there’s one other thing I’d like to discuss. Your mother has had a history of breast cancer throughout her life, and there’s a big likelihood, especially with your figure, that you are also at risk. Women are only supposed to start mammograms at middle age, but I think sooner is better than later for you. Given your body positvity, I think it would be best if we did both your Pap and your Mammogram today. Call us a ‘Mam and Pap shop’, if you will!”
Melissa was dumbfounded and didn’t know what to say. “In order to do perform these exams I need you to sign these three documents, the third is for a pelvic exam” Dr. Gunderson put them out to Melissa, who took them and a pen; not knowing what to do and being surprised at the last-minute inclusion of the pelvic exam, she looked at the doctor’s heavy stare, sighed, and signed the papers.
“Thank you, dear. Now, I will need you to disrobe and put on a gown. Usually for Pap tests we have patients keep their tops on, but given your mammogram I insist that you strip completely. I’ll be outside doing my rounds and will come back when you are ready.”
With that the doctor left and Melissa was nonplussed in the examination room. She stripped much quicker than she would have liked, folded her clothes, and placed them on one of the chairs at the side of the room. She made sure to keep her underwear well hidden in the pile. She then sat down on the table and felt the paper under her large behind. It was then that she noticed there were no gowns to be seen in the room. A nurse will probably bring one, she thought. Melissa then began noticing that the room was quite cold, something her bare skin felt acutely as she got goosebumps and her nipples started puckering up. She started looking at the analog clock in the room, which read 12:10. Ten minutes passed with no sign of the doctor, and Melissa began considering getting her shirt, not because of modesty (it was much too late for her at that point, she thought), but simply due to the chilly room. Of course, this coldness made her feel more exposed, which made her moister, causing dampness that made her feel even colder, a vicious feedback loop. Ten more minutes passed, after which Melissa began shivering, but just as she decided to redon her shirt for the time being Dr. Gunderson came back in.
“Sorry to keep you waiting so long. It appears we don’t have any gowns in stock at the moment! I don’t think that’ll bother you so much. Feet on the stirrups, please!” Melissa complied and the doctor began the examination. Inserting the speculum, Dr. Gunderson noted Melissa’s moisture and chuckled “I guess I don’t need much lube!” Melissa blushed and focused on the wall. The doctor palpated her abdomen for a good several minutes, and at the end of the exam took a wand and brushed her cervix. Overall, the experience was one of the least uncomfortable things to have happened to Melissa this weekend. Afterwards Dr. Gunderson examined Melissa’s breasts, making sure there was nothing abnormal. After it was all over Melissa was relieved and got up from the table.
“Thank you so much for your help, Melissa. Unfortunately, our mammogram stations are in another room, so you’ll have to come with me.” With that, Dr. Gunderson took Melissa by the hand and led her out of the room. She started to protest, but Dr. Gunderson’s grip was too strong and the duo walked into the hallway quite briskly. Melissa could notice the nurses and patients all turn their heas at her, even given their line of work. They must have been walking for a good two minutes in a chilly corridor, and Melissa’s goosebumps and erect nipples didn’t get any less noticeable. Halfway to the mammogram stations Dr. Gunderson looked back at Melissa and was started. “Oh drat, I forgot you weren’t wearing a gown. I tell you, muscle memory is quite powerful! Come, let’s go back to the room and get something for you to wear!” The pair walked back to the exam room, where more eyes were on Melissa, who kept blushing all this time.
When they got back to the exam room, they noticed that the door was closed. Dr. Gunderson knocked on the door and a voice called out “Occupied!”
“Oh dear, it looks like someone else has already taken this room for an examination,” Dr. Gunderson told Melissa. “Yes, are there any clothes on the chair in the corner?” the doctor asked the room’s occupants.
“Yes, but my hands are already lubed and we’re in the middle of a Pap test. You can get them in maybe five or so minutes.”
“Oh, well I am very sorry about that, Melissa. You know, you really should have said something!” That last comment hurt Melissa, as she blushed and looked at the floor. “Oh well, I’m sure this isn’t new for you, so let’s just walk to the stations like this.” Melissa sighed, and they made another five-minute trek to the mammogram stations. Melissa placed her bosom on a machine while the technician operated it. It was quite painful for her breasts to get smushed like that, and this pain was added to the sheer embarrassment of her condition.
After it was done they walked back to the exam room and found the door was still closed. Dr. Gunderson knocked on the door once again and the same voice called out “I’m so sorry, but the patient and I are discussing birth control and need our privacy. I can’t open the door right now, my patient is still undressed and we’re out of gowns!” Melissa almost died inside from the sheer irony of the situation.
“Ah, I see!” Dr. Gunderson replied. “Well, it looks you’ll have to wait in the waiting room for your results. I’ll be out to get you and discuss them with you.” Melissa knew what her fate was for this time, so she meekly stood in the waiting room, once again in her corner.
There were, as always, gasps and oohs and ahs. “Look mom, that woman’s naked,” a teenage girl told her Mom while pointing at Melissa.
“Yes, dear. Now are you starting to not be so shy about your body?”
“A litle bit, but I still hope I’m not naked in the waiting room like her!”
Melissa just blushed and almost cried, but decided to grin and bear it. The women in the room kept looking at her in gazes of wonder, and Melissa started noticing that not all of the attention was negative. Indeed, much of it was quite positive.
“Wow, look at that woman! She’s so gorgeous and body positive!”
“I know! I wish I had the confidence to stand out here like that. She’s making me feel better about my own body. This is good luck for my IUD insertion!”
This chatter made her feel quite a bit better, and strangely enough almost empowered. Eventually Dr. Gunderson came back and got her into the room, which had finally opened up again. In the doctor’s hands were X-rays of Melissa’s breasts.
“Now, your results of the mammogram look fine for right now, which is to be expected. Look, see this dense duct tissue and lymph nodes? All is good now, but we need this as a baseline for when you’re older and cancer might start developing. Middle-aged women tend to get mammograms every year, but that might be a bit much, how about we do this again in a couple of years. Same with your Pap, all should be good now, although you won’t get your results back for a while, but you need to keep testing every 3 to 5 years until you’re 65 to mark your progress and make sure the cells don’t start turning cancerous. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Oh, and here’s your prescription, it should last you quite a while. So great to see you again, and see you in a couple of years!”
Finally relieved to be getting her prescription, Melissa left the office and drove home. On her way, she reflected on the weekend and how so much had happened in the span of 72 hours. She was still looking forward to be back home for the summer, especially now that her medical appointments were finished. It was good that she was getting healthy, she thought. When she got home, she decided, she would call Brad and have a better conversation with him, sorting things out for Friday and hopefully clearing up any misunderstandings about the weekend. She pulled into her driveway and saw her father watering the lawn. He was looking right at her and his mouth was wide open.
Melissa wondered what was up and looked down around her. That’s when she realized that she left her clothes at Dr. Gunderson’s office.