There are some things in life that can only ever be experienced in military life. Like Tricare. Like your primary provider working in a clinic named for an attack helicopter. Like getting a well woman check up by your NP’s intern, who happens to be a male captain in ACUs. Not digital camo print scrubs, but full uniform, with a stethoscope. And he was every bit as serious and awkward as DH’s boss–same body language, same tone of voice. I feel for the guy, he was clearly a man’s man trying to be gentle and sensitive while also practicing a new series of tasks and being evaluated. When the nurse asked ahead of time if I was comfortable with a male intern trailing along I said, “Um, sure” because I’m doing a clinical internship of my own and I want to be fair, it can’t be that much worse. Wrong.
Holy moly, after years of exams with my earth mama slightly crunchy certified nurse midwife with thirty years experience, this was a trip for sure. It started out weird when in an effort to be gentle his touch was so light it was just insanely ticklish and making me squirm, even as I chatted with my NP who is a pro at small talk. Captain K was so serious I was tempted to crack a joke to break the tension (not something I can repeat here in good taste). But then I decided not to, just in case he had actually had his sense of humor surgically removed, because that would ratchet the discomfort into the trillions of times more awkward than your average, definitely not at all awkward pelvic exam.
Pinch, ow, really dude? I tensed. And when he made eye contact with me for maybe the second time in 10 minutes, he raised an eyebrow and began, “Has anyone ever told you your cervix is…” and trails off just long enough for me to think: Oh my God NO! Do not comment on my cervix! “…um, not in a standard position?” he finishes. And my NP stepped around to see what he meant and it turns out that pinchy feeling was him not looking in quite the right place. At this moment, I really wanted to bust out laughing, but I felt so bad for him and it was obvious that this was even more painful for him, so I had mercy. And then it was over and I went and bought a new vacuum.
This is my life: I spare GI Joe’s feelings by not laughing when he can’t find my cervix.