The Gynae, the Kegel & the Cabbages

Orla Doherty

Orla Doherty

Until recently, I hated visits to the gynaecologist. That is, until I moved to Prague last summer, and found Dr. Hanka. A very funny fanny examiner.

“I’m not a fan of this exam”, my voice quivering, I took in my surroundings. Stark white walls. Windows too high. Annoying flickering lightbulb. 

“That’s okay”, she spoke in a heavy Czech accent. “You’re my last patient today. No one will hear you scream”.

An instant hot-flush overcame me, before realizing she was joking.

“Let me know when you’re finished”, I said. “I’ll just have a nap”, I tried to out-funny her.

“No naps for you. I’ve got my earplugs in. I won’t hear you snoring”.

She was GOOD. Very good. Winning me and my vagina over with her sense of humour. This might just be okay

I undressed from the waist down behind the old chipped wooden screen that appeared to be a temporary solution in the middle of the room. Do I leave my socks on? I debated for five seconds, then chose to remove them, hoping my feet didn’t smell. Walking towards her, I felt the green-tiled floor chilly beneath my feet. I tugged on my red Adidas sweatshirt in an attempt at covering my bum, but it was a lost cause.

“Legs up here please”, she was serious now. I straddled the blue plastic chair and slid my arse down onto the paper covering. Placing my legs up on the stirrups, I felt part of the paper had become stuck between my cheeks.

“Oh, shit”, I squirmed to release the trapped paper from the tight grip of my bottom.

“Please don’t shit”, she laughed rolling up her sleeves.

I went into panic mode. Everything seized up. Including my sweaty butt-cheeks. It’s very difficult to Kegel and separate your cheeks at the same time. For anyone unfamiliar, a Kegel is a pelvic floor exercise that pregnant women are taught to do after giving birth, to strengthen up the muscles that may have become flaccid. I had been kegeling for years, mostly because as I entered peri-menopause, whenever I laughed or sneezed or coughed, a little bit of wee ran down my leg. 

On this occasion, an automatic Kegel took over my entire nether regions. My lady curtains were drawn to a close. There was no way in.

Attempting to pull the paper out from between my cheeks, my left knee knocked the doctor in the right temple, sending her glasses flying off her nose. Startled, she sat backwards catching her glasses in her left hand, as I tried to readjust myself.

I’m so sorry!” I reached towards her in a feeble attempt to apologize.

Oh My GodI just knee-punched my doctor in the head.

“Relax. Please”. I couldn’t tell if there was a smile beneath her surgical mask. “I need to get IN here TODAY”, there goes her humour again trying to calm me down.

“I’m trying.” I insisted, another hot flush engulfing me.

“Take a deep breath”, she sat back clutching the long ultrasonic wand with her blue latex-gloved hand. She waited, giving me permission to relax.

I took a deep breath and released absolutely everything within me.




It sounded like a trumpet. A high-pitched trombone, in perfect tune with my yelp of embarrassment. It was a harmonious symphony of exhalation from my mouth and my rear end.

She bolted back on her wheelie stool. I’m sure I saw a tear coming out of her eye, the same one I’d knocked with my knee.

“I’m so sorry, that was unexpected”, I was shaking now, mortified, and slapped my legs together.

What did I have for lunch? I began going through my food consumption of the day. Shit, I’m on that stupid cabbage soup diet. Oh god, it must be rotten.

“Shall we start again?” poor Dr. Hanka was trying not to laugh, remaining professional.

I wanted to curl up into a ball of invisibleness.

“Maybe I should just have a nap?” I squeaked.

“I need a nap too after this’, she guffawed, wiping her brow. “Perhaps I should swap this mask for a gas mask, no?”

Dr. Hanka, my fabulously funny fanny forager, called me a week later with the good news that my “vagina is squeaky clean with no problems”. 

Delighted, I booked myself in for a year later.

There were a few seconds of silence on her end. Then giggling, she said: “Don’t eat cabbage soup this time, okay?”

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