Today call me well-examined

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” And I do enjoy living. I imagine you do, too.

To that end, I’m taking you with me on an appointment of a delicate nature.

That’s right. My yearly EXAM.

Because this is about life, my friends.

And I want you to be worthy, too.

The Well-Examined Life. (A Timeline.)

8:30- 9:00 – Complete more thorough prep-work for gynecological appointment than for most recent date night.

9:01 – Feel guilty about date night unpreparedness.

9:20 – Enter office of favorite doctor for routine check-up. Wonder when vagina-baring became routine.

9:23 – Present insurance card. Am told to relax. Wonder when relaxation during vagina-baring became an option. Remember importance of worthy-living. Decide to work hard at relaxing.

9:25 – Sit in armchair reading People magazine. Refrain from spitting on celebrity whose Secret to Staying Sexy is “reading all the time.”  Wonder if Socrates did Pilates in Ancient Greece.

9:30 – Am reminded to “empty bladder” in patient bathroom. Am directed to skip urine sample.

9:31 – Feel grateful for skippage.

9:33 – Discover giant plunger next to toilet. Wonder who saves plunge-worthy business for favorite doctor’s office. Avoid plunger.

9:35 – Wash hands while reading instructions for urine sample.

–          Begin to urinate

–          Stop flow for cup placement

–          Complete urination in cup

–          Label cup: Last name, first

–          Place cup on collection shelf.

9:37 – Avoid collection shelf. Wonder who can “stop flow” once it starts.  Decide “reading all the time” helps.

9:40 – Reunited with People. Learn Beyonce lost 50 pounds post-pregnancy. Wonder if Jessica Simpson found them.

9:41 – Feel guilty about Jessica Simpson joke. Decide Beyonce can stop urine flow.

9:45 – Am called to exam room and told to “undress completely.”  Manage disappointment regarding no-socks policy.

9:47 – Lay clothes out under framed needlework: Loving is the Best Part of Living. Wonder if Socrates knew this. And if he felt sexy from “reading all the time.”

9:50 – Nurse takes blood pressure. Higher than normal. Attributed to nakedness under mauve sheet. Wonder when best part of living begins.

9:55 – Enter favorite doctor. Need to pee but can’t. Become not-relaxed.

9:57 – Make small talk. Am told to move closer. Closer. Closer. And relax.

10:00 – The usual.

10:15 – Am asked if I have any concerns. About vagina? About anything. Consider mentioning plunger in restroom. Instead say, No.

10:15 – Receive prescription for mammogram. Realize early-screening would not have helped Socrates. Decide life must have been harder in 399 B.C. and also easier.

10:20 – Dress completely under framed needlepoint: The world is full of beauty when your heart is full of love. Wonder what Beyonce is full of. Also Jessica Simpson.

10:21 – Feel guilty about celebrity snark.

10:22 – Address co-pay. Discover well-examined lives cost $30.00. Feel grateful for health insurance.

10:23 – Feel sorry for those without.

10:25 – Realize much about life needs examining. But perhaps not plungers, pregnancy-weight and Pilates.

10:30 – Recall Socrates also said, “As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.”

10:31 – Have much in common with Socrates.

No needlepoint skills, but a heart full of love. And an empty bladder.

Yes, this is worthy-living, my friends.



54 thoughts on “Today call me well-examined

  1. Oh how I look forward to ‘sharing’ your mammogram. My last one was with a racist nurse … not the person you want to take on while your mammaries are in the death grip.

  2. Poor Jessica Simpson. I was big when I was pregnant (especially with twins), and I’m kind of substantial to begin with, but I don’t think I was that big. I’m sure she’ll lose it in ten minutes, though, so no need to feel guilty there.
    I lost any and all modesty after two back-to-back pregnancies. I just strip on command now. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

  3. I have a friend who had to change gynecologists because hers was too good looking. This is an action worth examining, I think. Also, who chooses to be a gynecologist? What thought process goes into this decision? If it were me, I’d go be a shrink. They don’t have to look at hoo-has all day. That’s mostly what I think about when I’m at the gynecologist’s office.

  4. I find that the longer I live, the less I know. It’s nice that way. High-fives all around Socrates and Julie.

  5. I do think “reading all of the time” is pretty gosh-darn sexy.

    You know, for being a “daddy blogger” in a “mommy blogger” world, I usually hold my own for most any conversation . . . but for the goings-on at the gynecologist, yeah . . . I’ve got nothing. And that’s probably for the best.

  6. Leave it to you to make the Annual Worst Moment funny.

    Did they have a poster on the ceiling? My ob/gyn exam rooms always have these odd-choice, Impressionism posters taped to the ceiling. Because in some unfamiliar-to-me version of the universe, Renoir apparently helps with speculum anxiety.

  7. Di

    I thought you were supposed to skip urine sample…did they take it anyway! Love it!!!!

  8. AllyT

    Loved being inside your head today! Do you ever laugh out loud at your thoughts? I do!

  9. I don’t mind having my vagina examined – except when I was eight months pregnant and couldn’t see it but felt weird down there and had to utter the words, “Honey, is my vagina swollen?” to my husband, which is something you never EVER want to say to someone who otherwise sees it as a cavern of pleasure (and mystery… still… after 10 years together).

    Also, I laughed at your Jessica Simpson joke. And then felt guilty.

    And I can totally stop my urine flow. Boom!

  10. Julie

    For the record, Jessica Simpson (and any pregnant woman) SHOULD be gaining weight; I just crack up when seeing her juxtaposed with Beyonce who appeared to be with-child for about 15 minutes. By contrast, Ms. Simpson has been gestating for what feels like thirteen months.

    When is she going to birth that child? Holy cow. Bring on the epidural.

    Also, Di? The instructions for urine sample were above the sink. I read while washing my hands, sans sample.


  11. Do you bury your panties under your clothes, appalled at the thought of them being seen? As if full on cooch is somehow less personal than yo Target draws?

    I do. I don’t know why.

  12. Julie

    Annabelle –

    My panties were absolutely from Target. Bra, too.
    Yet another advantage we have over Ancient Greece.

  13. Funniest post I’ve read in a long time. Skippage is my students’ favorite word. I use it often.

  14. They always make us move down. There should be a tape line on the table, no one likes a naked under paper towel butt shuffle.

  15. You’re so very hilarious, I love you.

  16. You know I once had a next door neighbor whose gynecologist was named “Goldfinger”. True story.
    I have so very many stories related to this topic that you may have just inspired me to write my own post about it. Suffice it to say the first one starts with a very old man standing over me with a light on his head ala a coal miner in search of a canary… nuff said.

    Sorry I haven’t been around my lovely friend. I’ve been reading though, I promise. Tried to leave you a message on that wonderful guest post about how to help your kids to read, but the internet connection where I’m staying pooped out in the middle. I thought the getting kids to play pretend library was brilliant, and also having them illustrate the story. Such clever ideas.

  17. Abby

    I need to start doing more kegels because I laughed while I was reading this and subsequently peed myself. So much for “stopping flow.”

  18. I only make it through this ritual(and the dental visits) because of the reunion with People magazine.

    Hilarious, my well-coiffed friend.

  19. Mel

    SO would have liked to see how they responded if you mentioned that plunger.

  20. Were you spying on my last gyno appt?

    I always read those urine sample instructions. Like they’re going to have changed over the last ten years. Don’t wipe first! don’t stop the flow! Don’t write your name on the cup!

    Love it.

  21. Ack! My annual is coming up soon. Yuck.

    I’ve had soooooo many OB/GYNs.

    Because I hate going.

    And, you are going to be shocked by this admission, but… I’m kind of high-maintenance.

    But I’ve never been wrong.

    Like I totally knew when that tampon string broke that I was in trouble.

    But it probably could have waited until Monday.

    Except it couldn’t.

  22. Julie! If it wasn’t for the likely slimy feeling you experience after “the usual”, this should be the day you plan a lunch date! Girls like us (you know, who don’t shower regularly) must take full advantage of a day where we have prepped so well! 😉

  23. Oooh. I hate “Scoot down. Lil’ more. Scoot. Scoot.” In fact, one day I will compose “Butt Scootin Boogie” and sing it to my doctor.

    Also, the prep work intro reminds me of the story of a woman who had cleaned up quickly at home before her appointment with a washrag that was sitting on the bathroom sink. When she bared it all, her doctor said, “Thanks for all the effort.” It was then that she realized the washrag had been used to clean up the glitter after that morning’s craft project.

    Dead of embarrassment. Right there.

  24. You are so hilarious and talented. And a no socks policy? What kind of office do you go to?

  25. Beautiful, funny and true (including lack of date night prep). I had to really get used to baring it all here. This is the absolute no frills approach. They don’t even try to make the doctor’s offices or waiting rooms pleasant.

  26. Now that I’ve lived through your experience at the doctor I think I’ll skip my appointment this year.

  27. Jill

    So funny, Julie. I love the timeline! And impressive that you wrote this on the actual day Jessica Simpson gave birth (I read daily while eating lunch at my desk at work, so I’m in the know)…I agree…she seemed like she was pregnant forever!

  28. Thanks, Julie!

  29. Christy H.

    Jessica had her baby today, so you can relax about how much bigger she can possibly get. I like that we won’t see pix of her…any time soon…with that post baby perfect look. Sometimes, you should just be fat and enjoy it! I have a physical tomorrow…I assume I’ll receive mammogram referral. So far, 40 isn’t too much fun!

  30. In the interest of full disclosure, at my 36 week appointment (yes, STILL PREGNANT), my doctor decided to do a pelvic exam and get a swab sample for Strep B testing. The first swab he had in his hand ‘didn’t work’ so the nurse had to get another. While she was getting another, his gloved hand remained on my vagina. It was the singularly strangest experience of my life, as he was talking to me about the hospital and what wonderful midwives they had. All this while, I was thinking dude, your fingers are still on my vagina. Couldn’t you take them away while you wait for the swab thing?

    I know, it’s illogical. This man is going to deliver my baby. What’s with a few lingering moments right?

    Okay, I’ve said too much. No one needs to know that much about my vagina.

    And that’s a record for me, writing vagina 4 times in one comment.

  31. How long was Jessica Simpson pregnant. Did she give birth to an elephant? The gestation period was what, 3 years?

    Good luck with your pee. Did I just type that?

  32. Oh, I adore your words. Thank you for the laugh. And the life lessons.

  33. Julie, only you would channel Socrates for a post about the gynecologist.

    which is why i love you.

    and they make you take even your socks off? I just found one more thing I love about my OBGYN. total socks on option.

  34. Gosh I wish I could be so deep at my appointments. Usually I just enjoy the smutty magazines and try to distract myself with awkward small talk and wandering eyes. That is, talk with the doctor and my wandering eyes. But, as always, I love your post. You make me giggle and smile.

  35. liz

    My two highlights of your day:


    and dressing under needlepoint.

  36. I heart you and your examined vagina.

    I am also a little concerned about the plunger.

  37. I get ridiculously excited for my yearly. I like him that much. He birthed my children, but is also an all around great guy too. Plus he’s been my doctor longer than I’ve been married – talk about a long term relationship!

  38. People magazine is truly a highlight of the visit.

  39. KLZ

    Beyonce can most certainly stop urine flow. With her fierceness.

    Crap, there’s a joke in there somewhere! Find it for me Julie!

  40. You are brilliant! And hilarious. Why no socks? It’s not as if they have anything to do with the vaginal performance!

  41. Your blog is one of my favorites, Julie. I look forward to hanging out here. Loved, loved this post.

  42. This is my favorite post ever. Especially at 9:40. Because I appreciate snark. Especially when directed at celebrities.

    You’re awesome.

  43. Brilliant! And oh, so well examined!

  44. Yes, you and Socrates are total kindred spirits.

    Why do we prepare so much more for the dr than the husband???? So funny!

  45. Very funny. Usually I leave these wanting to smack everyone I’ve encountered in the process. But it’s all in the knowing, so why stress 🙂

  46. Hehe! I, too, have much in common with Socrates. And it is eerie how many of your thoughts have also crossed my mind, at various vagina-baring times in my life (don’t ask. don’t tell). This was so much fun to read, Julie, I almost had to pee. But don’t get your head all swelled about that, because I have to pee all the time these days.
    MUCH love. I’m making a list of adorable women, JLo first of course. You are second, but only because….well, JLo is first.


  47. This was fabulous. But what I want to know is: do you hide your bra and panties in your stack of clothes when undressing? Or am I the only one that does that? And am I bad for not feeling guilty when I make snarky celebrity jokes in my head?

  48. All of my babies have ruined my bladder. Jump rope is no longer ever an option for me unless I have on a diaper (see sanitary napkin… see worst set of words ever “sanitary napkin”) Stop flow is probably just as hard as it is to not inhale. For other people I mean.

  49. Well examined….I love it. Well, as much as us women can love it.

    Ok, now fair is fair. Tell that hubs of yours to get his prostate checked so you can blog about his well examined experience! We’ll even call him Socrates for a day.

    Men get off so easy. Other than the gloved hand prostate exam, “Turn your head and cough” is about the most awkward sentence or instructions that they hear during their well visit.

  50. I do feel lucky that our screenings are less invasive, well I guess until I hit the prostate exam age.

  51. I’m so glad I’m not the only one being snarky about Jessica Simpson’s weight (and feeling guilty about said snark).

  52. Nikki

    That’s funny, I always write my name on the cup before I fill it up. Seems easier to me.

  53. Pffft. I am so over hearing about Beyonce and her baby Petunia or Dahlia (or whatevs she called) and her wonderful post-pregnancy body and her stupid lavish life style. Blah, blah, blah. So hurray for celebrity snark. And for that matter, hurray for plungers too (because as gross as they are, what if they DIDN’T exist? Then WHAT?)

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