Sweet and tender hysteroscopy

Hysteroscopy, derived from the Greek ὑστέρα “hystera” meaning uterus, is a procedure in which a thin camera is inserted into a woman’s vagina, up through her cervix, and into the uterus so that its interior might be viewed for diagnostic purposes. Back in ye olde old-timey times, mustached gentlemen would insert coins into large wooden boxes containing images of women’s uteri, which could be briefly viewed or “peeped” by pulling a corresponding string and gazing into a viewing hole carved in the side of the box. These devices were called “Raree Boxes” or “Peep Shows.”


It starts off resembling a date. The coy, witty banter. The questions about likes and dislikes. The offers to hold your hand. The sticking-things-in-your-vagina.

What did you do New Years Eve? He asks, smiling at you as he begins screwing something in-between your legs.

My boyfriend and I drank some Prosecco and watched Deadwood. It was pretty mellow.

Deadwood, huh? I haven’t heard much about that – take a deeeep breath now – why don’t you tell me about it?

Well, it’s pretty fantastic. Easily as good as The Sopra – WAIT WAIT WHAT THE FUCK THERE’S NO WAY IN HELL THAT’S SUPPOSED TO GO IN THERE.

Deeeep breaths.


Those breaths are a little fast. Try to breathe in sloooow and deeeep.


On the screen to your left you watch as images of shimmering pink vistas slowly begin to emerge from pitch-darkness. Then it occurs to you: you are looking at live images of your own working insides. Understandably, you begin to feel just a wee bit light-headed in the wake of this too-visceral realization. You squinch your eyes shut and try to think happy, not-having-things-shoved-up-your-brewster thoughts. But for some reason, the unwelcome visage of Charles Nelson Riley keeps materializing in your mind – his giant, twitching, guffawing owl head pushing you farther and farther away from your happy place and back into that room, the room with your big pink uterus pornographically displayed on a 24″ HD flatscreen, all discomfortingly fleshy and live and pulsing in living color.

Ow, says the witnessing medical student, who now resembles Charles Nelson Riley if Charles Nelson Riley were a tiny Asian woman.

What’s wrong? you ask, your voice trembling in anticipation of her response.

Ow, you’re kind of holding my hand really tight.


When it’s over the doctor asks you to sit up, but when you try to follow his command the entire room dissolves into static. Tiny Asian Charles Nelson Riley grabs your arm almost maternally. Yeah, that sometimes happens. You should probably just lay back down for a little while, she and/or he says. A cool wash cloth is gently applied to your forehead. The world pixelates into hundreds of tiny Hollywood-Squares-like boxes, each box containing several gallons of rancid split pea soup-colored nausea.

When you next open your eyes the doctor is standing beside you, saying that your malfunctioning uterus looks fine, just fine. The biopsy will tell the final tale, of course, but it’s something to hold onto at least, those slightly milquetoasty and noncommittal words – fine, fine. And so you find yourself humming softly and smiling as you make your way out of the building – down the tragedy-threatening and claustrophobia-inducing elevator, across the impossibly vast, football field-like length of the hospital lobby – until finally you burst out of doors, stepping into the finest patch of bright midday sun you believe you ever saw.


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14 Responses to Sweet and tender hysteroscopy

  1. Oh you are so brave. Aren’t we all?

  2. MarinkaNYC says:

    You’d think they’d have something stronger than a cool wash cloth.

  3. Bon says:

    oh, ouch indeed. and yet when i read about your big pink fleshy uterus, all i could think was “i’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille.” your uterus: Norma Desmond.

    yes, you’re very welcome for that image. ;)

    hope you’re feeling no aftereffects and all that fine turns out to be, precisely, fine. xo.

  4. Amytsharp says:

    xo It’s all going to be OK. Glad this part is over. xo

  5. Anonymous says:

    That earned you a drink of your choice.

    Glad this is over for you.

  6. Summer Page says:

    Happy for you. One foot in front of the other.-
    can’t log into disqus

  7. Heather Mullen says:

    How do you do that Tracey? Make me cringe, laugh, say ouch and feel hopeful all in one little post? Here’s to “fine” meaning absolutely, positively fine.

  8. You are exactly one month older than me. I too, had a mellow NYE with the other half and we drank Prosecco. I also know what it’s like to be scared. Not in the same way, but still. Glad your uterus looks fine.; hoping the “fine” is a presage of the end of this nightmare for you. Be well.

  9. Anonymous says:

    That Rube Goldbergy vagiscope gives me the creeps. I feel like I should shave my moustache.

    Also: the big, pink insides of a uterus is not on my Netflix porno list.

    Also, too: I was not expecting Charles Nelson Riley. I love what comes out of your brain.

    Finally: Fine can be a fine place to be. I’m hoping for much more fine in your life.

  10. Kim Bowser says:

    That there is the funniest and most accurate description of that procedure! Brings back pinchy and nauseating memories. My results were AOK and yours will be, too.

  11. To quote Ross B., a stoner-boy from my 10th grade biology class, you, girl, write some wild-ass shit. But I don’t need to tell you that.

    So glad that your procedure is over and that your bits — as I knew they would be — are rad.

    Looking forward to Bloody Marys. And bacon.


  12. Oh, I know your pain all too well. This is the procedure where they take a “tiny” nip of the inside of your lining? Yeah, “tiny” nip my ASS! It felt like they threaded a Buick through my cervix and then used the jaws of life to take a sample.

    Here’s hoping all the tests come back A-OK and you don’t have to do that again until NEVER.

  13. Likedrylandforrain says:

    I had a hysteroscopy last January 5th. My male gynecologist had me undress from the waste down and assume the position, and then he picked up the speculum. Realizing it was really cold, he wheeled his chair across the room and ran it under warm water for a few minutes, leaving me totally exposed. To cut through the awkward silence, he turned, looked me directly in the eyes, and enthusiastically asked, “By the way, HOW WAS YOUR NEW YEAR’S?!?” I just about died laughing.

  14. muskrat says:

    This doesn’t sound sweet or tender. Oh wait! Irony!

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