NOTE: This blog post deals with “feminine health issues.” If you’re at all squeamish or easily offended, stop reading here. Stop. reading.
For the last seven months, on exactly Day Three of my cycle, my body has a temper tantrum. First, I develop a painful knot in my chest through to my back, which feels as though I swallowed a golf ball. A few hours later, it dissipates but then my lips swell up (the closest I’ll ever get to looking like Angelina Jolie) and my fingers puff up into swollen, itchy lobster claws. I’ve discovered I can fend off most of the swelling if I start popping Benadryl the minute I feel the golf ball in my chest, but I’m still disturbed by this recent turn of events. I’ve Googled and Yahoo’d and researched this problem till my eyes cross, with no results.
A couple of months ago, I received a card in the mail for an ObGyn office. It was a decent piece of marketing, completely focused on “the ultimate wellness of women.” In this case, the pink on the card didn’t bother me - this was caring, dedicated group of female gynecologists, it said, devoted to the best ObGyn care you could ask for.
This is it, I thought. It’s time for my yearly exam, and I can talk to one of the caring, devoted doctors about this allergy problem. Surely she’ll know something and/or take the time to find out.
The day of my appointment, I was armed with my log of allergic reactions and list of everything I’ve done to alleviate them - changed feminine products, changed back. No new vitamins, supplements or foods. No new medications, etc.
It was the fastest, brusquest and coldest exam I’ve ever had. Cold receptionist, cold doctor and freezing exam room. The doctor, a 30-something blonde bombshell dressed like a fashionista charged into the room going about 70 mph, and never slowed down. She conducted the exam like the place was on fire and took samples for the usual tests in a record-shattering 3 minutes. The gloves came off with a snap and the garbage can lid clanked shut.
“Looks good. We’ll let you know about the test results.”
I slowed her down for a second and as she scribbled on my file, I described my dilemma.
“Never heard of it,” she said without looking up.
“Are you sure? How do you think this might be related to my hormones?” I leaned over to show her my log, etc.
“Can’t possibly be related to hormones.”
“But it happens on Day Three of my cycle, every month.”
“Nothing I can do about it. You'll need to see an allergist.”
“Um... do you have someone you could recommend?”
“No. Call your insurance company. Nice to see you - have a good day.”
And she was gone on Manolo tippy-toes, a flash of charcoal gray out the door.
I didn’t know who to be more ticked off with - this sham of a medical office or myself for getting suckered into this marketing to women ploy. They had their advertising down pat, but the world inside their door was the poorest example of marketing I’ve ever experienced.
As I paid my bill, the sign at the receptionist’s desk said it all:
“We are a very busy office. If you do not hear from us about your test results within two weeks, call us.”
So much for caring. So much for dedication. And so much for medical help. This is one woman who will never go back there (and will tell all her friends, including you, about it).
I still don’t have an answer to my medical mystery, but I’ll always have a pink receipt and this story to remind me that even I, the “expert blogger” can be fooled by false marketing to women campaigns.
[Pink Heart print by Sarah Chilton]