Thursday, September 22, 2011

In a Nutshell, French Gyno

This post is about girl parts...kind of. But still, I wanted to tell you right up front so you can turn away now (Arlington) if you don't want to hear about pending reproductive decisions.

All in? Then, let's go...
I went to the gyno today. My first French gyno, it should be noted. She was lovely and perfectly aged falling comfortingly somewhere between 55 and further on. She spoke a bit of English and took the opportunity to learn some trade terms like 'cervix' and 'pap smear'....with a mimed example of spreading jam on bread to really get the smear message across. Turns out the 'pap' part stands for something and the smear is just for grins.

We did some doodling of female parts and managed to come to an understanding. Boobs, ovaries, get the idea.

Doctor's offices in general are very different over here. First of all, there's no big glass window that houses a receptionist and secondly, once inside the examination room there's a desk and a couple of chairs, all office like, in the same room as the examination table that sits off to the side like you're in a groovy space challenged loft--making small spaces work in a comfortable and chic way. This particular doctor works alone; she even does all her own scheduling and filing in her efficiently planned out loft space. A tiny changing room just off the exam space was beautifully tiled and was made cozy with layers of Turkish rugs and flowers. I learned my lesson well from Kirsty and wore a skirt.

After our girl parts language lesson we moved to the topic of prevention. No Frenchie would be surprised to know that French men don't get vasectomies. They just don't. All you have to do is look around at French dogs to know this is true. Balls are tops and are not to be tampered with.

So it was that we began discussing contraception and where the responsibility for it lies.

I feel like this: I've had three children, taken charge of my reproductive health and been the go-to girl in this area for a super long time. And now? I'm done. It's time to hand off the baton, so to speak.

Today when I said as much to my perfectly coiffed French doctor her response, accompanied with shrug was this, 'Well, vous êtes très Américaine." You got that right sister. Balls be damned. My day has come.

And then to the quote of the day, 'One reason you should think about taking the pill is because it gives your ovaries a rest. They work so hard and poof! this little pill tells them, 'you can relax, I'll do the work for you' and ovaries need this.'
Hand on heart. That's what she said.
And I got to thinking about my sad 40 year-old ovaries and how exhausted they must be with all the back and forth exertion of sprouting eggs and hormones. she being paid to say this?

The upshot is's done for the year, I know how to say boobs in French and where to find the cheapest, prettiest Moroccan tile, the insult of 40 means I have to have my first mammogram and I've got to decide what to do...give my forlorn, tired little workhouse ovaries a break or chuck it all and promise something outlandish in exchange for the snip, snip.

What the Cycliste Guerrier  will think of this, I just can't say.

And to your great relief there are no photos accompanying this post.


  1. Well, I have always disliked those "Gynéco" visits, here or there (if you want to sound cool in French, that's the way to say it, btw ;-) At least you saw it as a good learning opportunity. Wish I could find such an upside during the next one... Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  2. I can only hope my future gyno gives me a jam on butter pantomime, ha! My vote's for the snip, snip.

  3. Brilliant post! It was an easy decision for us. I didn't mind if we had more little susan's running around the house and he did, therefore he got the snip, snip. I can't help but be reminded of your initial trip to the doctor there in France and the language barrier that provided great guffaws for us readers :)

  4. LOL! Well, I for one, am a HUGE fan of the snip snip -- on pets and men. Women work their arses off to make, bake, and birth children all while men do, well, not much. So, if 'tres Americain' means that women get to kick back and let those tired ol' ovaries have one last hurrah, then I say hand those ovaries some tequila and let em rip and let those boys get the snip!

    Also, I think be-testacled dogs are just plain creepy.

  5. Your ovaries are lovely darling, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
    I'm right there with you sister - four kids is it so we're looking at the same procedure. I'm going to ask my gyno about it, and given he's male I'm expecting an interesting response!
    p.s. After umpteen hours of labour I don't think it's unreasonable to ask our menfolk to ante up and undergo a half hour procedure. Just make sure you have a bag of frozen peas in the fridge.

  6. There are so many things that I want to say about this post that I think a phone call is in order. But in the meantime I'll say this...
    1. love my dog, hate his balls
    2. I have no idea what to think about her "your ovaries need a rest, take the pill" comment
    3. the miming of the smear... I'll be passing on the confiture for awhile

  7. Sounds so much like my first visit to the gyno in France!!! Exam table, right next to the office desk and chairs, only my gyno didn't offer me a nice place to change. She just pointed to a few empty hangers on the wall and then said "jump up on the table." I waited for her to leave so I could "disrobe", but she just stood their waiting. I then asked for the gown and she looked at me like I was from another planet!! Needless to say, I didn't get a gown... Never saw a French gyno again! : )

  8. I shouldn't have read it. Too girly, you are right :-)

  9. Thank goodness for all of you and this blog because it is the way I process the bizarre things that happen over here. I appreciate all of you so much....
    and sorry Pet. I warned you.
    aidan x

  10. So funny and, hélas, so true this side and that side of the Alps. Speak to an italian man about snip snip: heresy! they think it is the same as castration.

  11. vasectomies were actually ILLEGAL in France until quite recently! my american gyno in Paris directed me to the only doctor in France who even performs them (after i asked her about getting my tubes tied!), and this guy was a blog entry all unto himself! the long and short of it is that you're better off sending hubby to the US for the procedure if you decide to go that route.

  12. Boy this makes me glad my "end all days" were in the states. I totally agree with you, after 4 kids and the taking care of contraception forever, I told my husband it was his turn! Luckily we were in the states at that time and he was all taken care of lickity split, no issues! Maybe you should sent your man to the states for a "vacation"! That might just do the trick :)

  13. I'm with Sara...I'm going to hold of on the bread and jam thing for awhile! This is so funny, Aidan. I was just preparing a doctor post as well so I was well in the mood when I read yours. I'm for the snip, snip as well. You done your deal and then some. But I agree, maybe it's a good idea to have it done in the states. People are aghast here when I tell them (although it's not an everyday conversation) that not only was my ex snipped, but so were all his friends. I just don't think a French doctor would have enough experience!

  14. "your ovaries need a rest." Classic!

    Here's mine: I've chosen not to have children, which my Dr. finds rather strange and comments on it every time I go for an appointment. Last visit he found a small fibroid on my uterus. He said if it gets any bigger, "we'll just remove it with your uterus. You aren't using it anyway."
    Swear to god. He actually said that.
    How does one respond to a statement like that? lol


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