Always take a friend to a doctor’s appointment
[trigger warning: blood, gore]
As I was waiting for my name to be called on the clinic’s room I was tampering my hair helplessly and all my nails were down to bloody bits. Baby pictures all over the walls, straight middle aged couples all around and a terrible choice of lounge music. That noise (can we really call odd tuned remakes of gospel musics from the time of our grandparents as music? I’ve heard agonising animals do better with their vocal cords) almost made my ears bleed. Nonetheless, I had to wait there until it was my time to walk into the torture chamber. I've been calling doctors’ offices “torture chambers” for as long as I remember. There is not a single time when I don’t want to just leave the place as soon as I walk in. Calling to book an appointment is the easiest part. What follows after I turn down the phone is what makes me this wretch of functional adult. It starts as a mere whisper, inaudible, far away on my mind, telling me it is a bad idea. And then it grows louder and louder as the days passes between my safety and my so dreaded appointment. I keep on listening to my self-advice telling me not to go, that it is not worth it and that I’ll regret it rather sooner than later.
And the day of driving my crazy anxious body to the appointment finally comes with an appetite for freedom, and pinching me to reality: none of what I imagined could be true, doctors, male and female alike aren’t monsters, they’re people trying to do their jobs and their job is to treat maladies. Not to judge your habits, or laugh at your condition, or stare badly at you. They are just people trying to do their jobs. I swear I don't know where all this fear comes from. When I was a kid my mother and father used to take to doctors all the time. A light flu, a broken bone, nutritionists to make me eat vegetables – a failed enterprise I must say. None of these events made me feel bad, at all. Maybe it could be in some point between my early teen years, that period of life when you begin to hide thing from your parents because you don't now how they're going to react.
I’m still two days away from my appointment and I’m sweating like crazy already. If I’m watching something online, the thought comes to me suddenly and I loose my focus, the images merely been displayed in front of me. As I work, my performance lowers, even my coworkers notice it. Every noise begins to frighten me be it an open faucet dripping or a pen that falls to the ground. You must be thinking “if she’s so desperate and anxious about it, why doesn’t she take some anti-anxiety drugs?”; I could, really, I could take a pill and be chill. I’ve had a prescription before, and it helped me wonders! Never had I ever went to check-ups like that (and found an alarming set of messed up organs). But the medicine was over before I took notice and I couldn’t bring myself the stress to set up another psychiatric appointment.
Unfortunately on this case, time flies like running water escaping from your hand to follow its natural course back to earth and into the skies over and over again. I digress, but please forgive me, it's this anxiety creeping on every pore, hair string and cell of my body. I am seriously concerned about my safety on the doctor’s office, I can’t possibly feel safe unless I know I can defend myself. What if they’re a body snatcher? On today's appointment I will have to undress and open my legs to a complete stranger, merciless, helpless, all by myself. So I’m taking my token with me. It has accompanied me on many appointments before, always there sitting on my bag, close enough to reach if need arises by surprise. The metal detector on the subway stations wouldn't let me through, so I’m ordering a cab.
The waiting at the office is underwhelming and I’m exhausted merely from standing still. The awful pictures, the grotesque people all around me with their stupid judgemental eyes, starring at me like I'm an alien and don't belong there, rather I’d belong on a street selling my body for dinner. Yes, I’m painstakingly aware that not everyone is a monster, but who is? And who’s not? If I can't tell for sure, my survival instincts just keep on telling me to avoid them all, these closeted monsters with their sharp tongues and minds of pure prejudice. “What you staring at, balloon-bellied hag? Have you no manners, don’t you know how rude it is to stare at someone?” I really felt like saying this aloud, but I’d have to keep repeating myself like a politician with the same bullshit over and over again. Its just not worth it to waste my tongue. Their husbands to be honest look as distressed as I am. Eyes in the horizon, poor creatures that can't look to the sides for fear their wives will think they're cheating. Let me be honest, if they have ever behaved correctly, their wives wouldn't fear a single thing, but they lie and deceive and make false promises. Men, you only reap what you sow.
Maybe my fear and shaking like a flag on a very, very windy day attracted too much attention. Or maybe it was my green hair on a small mohawk, my full tattooed body or my destroyed jeans pants with combat boots. But other than looking around for a seat to wait (it’s a full hour already! One hour, sixty minutes, three thousand and six hundred seconds and counting…) I don't stare at people. My parents taught me well. Looking at myself amidst these boring, plain people I really feel like shit. The power of signs is greater than the bearer by itself. “Mistress Elizabeth!” shouted a nurse. “Mistress Elizabeth Peterson!” she shouted again, and this time it was actually me. I grabbed my backpack from the floor (apparently the only woman in the whole universe to wear a backpack, from the way people kept staring at me), walked hurriedly towards her and almost feel face-first to the floor thanks to a small group of children who just had to be running around making a mess in the waiting room.
“Hello,” says the doctor, a middle aged white woman about my size in height “so, tell me, what brings you here today?”. What a marvellous job to hide her prejudice did she do there. Having a mask on does help on that sense.
“I need a check-up.” I managed to say after an embarrassing silence while she looked down upon me from across the desk.
“All right, please undress and empty your bladder there,” she pointed to a small bathroom inside the office. “wear the apron opened to the front, not the back. You may keep your socks.”. The fake warmth from before was dead and gone already. All it needed was three minutes and confirming my name, age and last period date.
“Lay down, position your feet here,” she already had her gloves on and pointed to the pair of feet support – that happened to be cold as ice, so it was a good thing I kept my socks on “and slide your butt until the end of the stretcher”. I did as she told me. In a matter of seconds she already had the speculum inside of me and twisted it open. “Hm, I see it’s an infection.”. She quickly used an elongated cotton bud to collect a sample, removed the speculum and told me to dress up again. And again I did as she told me, hoping to openly talk to her after we were done. In the bathroom as I dressed up again I felt like shit, just another vagina walking in and out of her office, making cash rain on her account. The faster she could say “bye” to me and call the next woman in, the more people could she book the next week. Easily understandable why so many people are falling into pseudoscience “doctors” and therapies, we hate being treated like an object when in fact we are human beings capable of feeling sadness and pride. The doctor didn’t know, and would not know if she was a gentle person, that in spite of shaking like pudding on top of a table inside a building during an earthquake, I am proud. Very proud.
Proud of my prowess, my cunning, my creativity, my lifestyle and everything I stand for. And also very proud of my friend H. I carry my friend with me to every appointment, and there it lay on my backpack on the reach of my arm. It was wrapped on a piece of black cloth, more or less like a folded jacket. No doctor made me use it before, but this one right now… “She deserves it” says the voice inside my head “Look at her, do you think she wants your health?”
“She doesn’t even want to look you the face.”
“Look at her, she’s talking to you like if you didn’t have a brain.”
“She thinks you are a whore.”
I tried to tell the doctor all I wanted was to be clean and practice safe sex. But the she was dead on set for human reproduction. Oral sex? Are you mad or something? The sacred act of making love is fit only for making beautiful, chubby, noisy babies. What? Don’t make me say it again. Yes, I could read it on her face, her utter disregard of my presence and lifestyle. She was annoyed with my presence and wanted me gone, straight away, walking through her door to never even come back to take a look at the exam’s result.
“She thinks you’re filthy!”. That was it. That was all I could bare without a decent reply. I reached for my backpack. I did everything to keep me from the embarrassment of having to avenge myself. I gave her the chance to just shut up, to listen to what I was saying. But she paid me no mind.
“Are you aware of what is this that I’m holding?” I said out loud interrupting her blabbering as I unwrapped the piece of cloth and stood up from the chair I was sitting, across from her. “This is a hatchet. Bombers use it to break through glass and wooden doors. They say the cut is so clean it makes heavy doors look like pieces of bread. No, not the old dry one that feels like stone. The fresh ones, soft and fluffy.” The look on the doctor’s eyes was static, like if she was so shocked it felt like a trick her mind played on her. She tried to stand up, but I told her not to move. “You grim sack of bones stay where you are. Don’t you dare to make a move on me.”
Before she had the chance to snap out of her trance, I stroke my first blow. I missed poorly, guess I don't practice enough. It went straight past her head onto her shoulder. She instantly began to bleed from the wound, the hatchet still struck. She gave a loud scream of pure pain and I jumped over the desk to shut her mouth with my hands and retrieve my hatchet. The clinic’s waiting room is so loud, I doubt anyone heard her scream. As I snap the hatchet from the wound, it begins to bleed frenziedly all over the office, tainting the ceiling, the walls, her desk and her perfect white coat.
“This is what you get from being a judgemental asshole, ‘ya’ know?” I say as I feel the grip of H, my dearest hatchet friend. It fills my hand with its soft grip and polished wooden texture, so I lift it and strike another blow. Her hands snap and some eight fingers fall down, along with a stupid golden ring. “Oh, I see, you’re married! Does he pleases you? Because I bet you are an awfully lame partner.” I scream the last part in her ears, watching as tears fall from her face and blood flows from her half hands like a waterfall and start to make a puddle on the floor.
At this point I don’t even care if anyone enters the room. Screw them all with their ridiculous costumes and traditions. All I want to do right now is to avenge my pride, utterly massacred by her treatment towards me. I pick up H with both hands now, and aim for her neck where the vocal chords are. “Women are not breeding animals, you see.” She tried to stand up, but the blood loss is already too great, so she felt back to her seat. “Some of us just want happy lives free of babies” She was trying to stop her stumps from bleeding out even more, but the blood puddle was already at the door. “But gynaecologists like you don’t want to see happy women, do you?” I kick her hands apart so they bleed further. "You just want us to be pregnant over and over again regardless of what we want."
“Please, stop, I’m sor–” straight through her neck went my hatchet, not allowing the doctor to finish her sentence. Anyone would say they’re sorry in her condition, but she wasn’t really sorry. She would never be. She would belittle every other women like me that entered her office. Her head fell on my arms as I swung forward with the force of the blow, then rolled across the desk and to the floor as I shook it of. “Yikes, my clothes are wet.” I complained aloud looking around. Her body shook for a bit and then felt headless on her desk, the white C vertebra broken and now being painted with bright red. I tried to clean my hatchet on her coat, but it was fully covered in blood, even her back. I circled around the desk this time, my boots making splashing sounds as I walked and grabbed my backpack, placing H inside it.
I took of my protective mask and held it on my left hand. With the right hand, I picked up her head, holding it by the hair mixed with blood. “You don’t look so much like an asshole now that you’re a mess.” I said and then spit on her face “Not that I care anyway.” I tossed her head in the direction of the trash bin, a clean splashing hit! I placed my mask on and opened the door.
Ops! I almost forgot the prescription. I went back and searched on the desk that resembled a smooth velvet pool table and found a tiny piece of paper poking above the blood, right under her chest. I lifted the body and it felt halfway to the floor with a dump noise as it hit the wall and bent in an uncanny manner. I left the room shaking the paper to get it rid of excess blood as I walked to the reception.
“Hey, the doctor told me to take these pills but she never really said why, so I’m not taking anything. You can keep this shit.” Placing the paper on the reception workbench, I left through the front door and never looked back.