I apologize in advance that this story is a little bit TMI. Then again, I live in a world where about a third of the time, a cat or a child comes into the room to watch me pee, so nothing is really TMI anymore.
When I moved to a new town and found myself newly pregnant, I knew I had to find an OB/GYN practice. So I basically googled “OB/GYN” and picked a large nearby practice that popped up and selected a doctor with decent reviews. My first visit was pretty good, and I decided to stick with the practice.
Unfortunately, things went downhill. The worst thing was the wait. I’d come in for increasingly frequent pregnancy checks and end up waiting an hour for my five-minute visit. The most aggravating visit occurred when they called me to come in early because they were running ahead. I dropped everything at work to show up early, and STILL waited thirty minutes, until the time of my original appointment.
Also, they did the worst blood draws ever there. Any time they needed blood, I would end up with bruises all over my arm and severe pain for days. When I objected to doing the glucose tolerance test there for that reason, I felt like I was treated like a criminal by the staff and the very un-understanding OB/GYN.
But the straw that broke the camel’s back happened about a year after I delivered. I was having my annual exam done by a male OB/GYN that I’d seen a few times before and liked well enough. After he finished the speculum exam and the bimanual exam, he said to me, “Now I’m going to do a rectovaginal exam.” And then two seconds later, he just DID it.
I’m sure somebody could present me with a body of literature on the importance of the rectovaginal exam. But I don’t care. He didn’t give me fair warning. He didn’t ask if it was okay. And it was certainly not something I ever expected, considering in my 15-odd years of annual exams, not one doctor ever deemed it necessary to perform. Plus he was a man.
I’m not saying I’m traumatized or anything. I’m not having recurrent nightmares over it. I wouldn’t report him. I mean, let’s be real here—rectal exams happen. But I didn’t like the way it happened, and I would never go see that doctor again. And since I hated the practice so much, it gave me the impetus to finally leave.
(And my current practice has never made me wait more than five minutes.)
I do have to say, if you’re a male doctor, I think you do need to be careful about that sort of thing. You can’t just go around sticking your fingers wherever you like without warning your patients. Not that I can do that as a female doctor, but I think there is a little more wiggle room. (Literally and figuratively.)