Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Modesty does not exist

Oh I do hope that's the last medical procedure or test I have to have for a long time. I've had enough. OK, it's for my own good but it gets costly and every time I do something for the first time here in France it's always different to the equivalent experience in NZ.

One of the biggest differences here is the lack of provision for modesty. If you question any french woman she wonders what the heck you are on about and you get the 'prudish anglo-saxon' label.

A couple of months ago I decided to have a gynaecological checkup- it's been a while and at my age things don't necessarily work properly and create all sorts of health problems. I located a nice lady doctor here in Cafeolait. That's where I was introduced to 'The Chair' and french mammograms and ultrasound. That's when I started to learn the new rules.
1. You will never be given a sheet or blankie to cover any of you up
2. If you feel 'exposed' don't mention it
3. You will be expected to walk around topless or naked
4. If having a male doc look at your female bits there will not be a female nurse in the same room
5. You may feel completely vulnerable and helpless-too bad, that's irrelevant

In NZ if you're having a smear test you are under a sheet and or blanket, sometimes on your side and it's all very sensitive and modest. In France you will be told to take everything off and walk into a room that looks like a torture chamber and you will be confronted by The Chair. Hideous thing! So there I was, without a stitch, feeling a bit chilled, sitting in the chair with my legs in those ghastly stirrups with my knees apart. What a sight! It didn't make the process any more comfortable or efficient than the Kiwi version but there is no option and no sympathy.

If you are having an Xray or ultrasound of your breasts you will NOT be given a robe. You will walk about topless and it's likely that a guy is going to rub gel all over your boobs and explore them with a sensor-thoroughly. It's you, and him in the dark room. Thank goodness you're allowed to clean the gel off yourself.

The french are comfortable with bodies. Modesty is not an option. Hey, I'm trying to be cool about this but it takes a little getting used to.
The results are: smear test good, breasts OK, cholesterol a wee bit high (but a lot lower than it has been in the past). That should hold me for a bit. So ladies, if you think it's a hassle in NZ having these things checked, suck it up, it could be worse.

Images are off the internet- I was NOT in a 'position' to take photos myself.


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