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Virginity Suicide by Deviated Speculum August 3, 2009

Filed under: Healthcare — afrocity @ 11:58 AM
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1973 drawing by C Clement which appeared in "Sister: The newspaper of the Los Angeles Women’s Centre"

1973 drawing by C Clement which appeared in "Sister: The newspaper of the Los Angeles Women’s Centre"

For several members of my family, health care reform was was one of the most compelling reasons for supporting Barack Obama.

“Republicans don’t care about your health, unless you are rich” one member stated.

My reply was that I was not aware that anyone cared about my health when I was a Democrat or poor.  My first pap smear was when I was 22 years of age. Still a virgin on government welfare , I was placed in the waiting room of a free clinic. Many of the women waiting with me had three to five kids, screaming kids. I knew the wait would be long.  It always was. Whether it was a 7 year old Afrocity stricken with a high fever from the mumps or a 22 year old Afrocity waiting for her first of many gynecological exams, the feelings of humiliation, fear and uncertainty remained the same. I hated going to the doctor. The circumstances of my social standing meant that I was destined for subpar care for the rest of my life.

“Are you here because you have an STD?”  A white man of about 30, sat next to me in the waiting room.  As mentioned earlier, this was a free clinic- it was in a very poor part of Houston, Texas.  Dressed in a three piece suit and carrying a nice Coach briefcase, I could tell that he was not “one of us”.  Looking around nervously, he asked me again, “Everyone is here because they have an STD right?”

“No,” I answered. “I am a virgin who is getting my first pap smear.”

“Sure.” He said in a smug tone of voice. “A friend told me to come here because lots of married guys come here when they don’t want anyone to know that they have an STD- no insurance records to trace…I am engaged and if my fiance finds out she will kill me.”

cn4536_speculumThe boundaries of race and class seemed to have dissipated in favor of his need to confide in someone. I did not know why he chose me. There were other people in the waiting room, granted they looked sort of  “crack headish” . Still why confide in some random 20 something year old woman?

“I was at this strip club,” he continued. ” and this stripper asked me to go into a private room. I was drunk and we began to grind.”

“With your clothes on?”  I asked. Oh know don’t tell me that grinding with clothes on gave STD’s  what would I do for fun with my dates now?

The man hesitated, as if he could not remember whether his clothes were on or not. “I think so…Anyway, now my dick burns when I take a piss.”

Wincing at the use of his language, I turned away from him saying that I was sure he would be fine.  He kept shaking his head mumbling something about his fiance and how he would never put himself in this predicament again. “I mean look at this place,” he said. “We will all be lucky not to get a disease just from being here.”

Turned sideways in the orange plastic chair, my back was to him. A huge black nurse gruffly called my name. Finally I was called into a cold room for what would be the worst gynecological exam of my life.  Inside there was an examining table, the paper cover had a spot of blood on it. I watched as the nurse rotated the roll to a clean sheet.

“Take off all of your clothes and put on this gown,” the nurse said throwing it at me. “Here, urinate in this and write your name on  the cup.”

The gown was a faded green color and possessed a strong odor of pine cleaner. I particularly noted the bowl of large metal things – about six of them, soaking in a large metal bowl of white cloudy liquid.  One of those were going to be inside of me, I thought. Taking my time stripping, the nurse came in before I was finished undressing. She did not bother to give me any additional moments of privacy.  Once on the table, legs in stir-ups, she began asking me questions about my sexual history.

speculums“There is none to speak of, ” I answered. “I am a virgin.”

With that she grabbed one of the metal things from the bowl. I felt wet coldness and she was cranking something. I screamed “it hurts”

Suddenly, her mean face peered from behind the sheet covering my legs “Stay still NOW! I won’t tell you again.”

Again the cold metal thing pushed and hurt. In a moment of involuntary pissed off-ness, I kicked her in the face and jumped from the table.  If looks could kill, that nurse would have had my face in that bowl of cloudy liquid, metal thingys and all.  The examination was over. We both had enough.

In the next room, I was told that I had a yeast infection and to stop wearing tight bikini underpants in favor of cotton briefs.

“What do I do to get rid of the yeast infection?” I asked. “Will I get medicine?”

“This is a free clinic and we don’t give medication here,” she said. “Go get some yeast cure cream at a drug store or eat some yogurt for five days.”

On my way out, I saw the STD grinding white guy. He would not look at me but seemed relieved by the results of his exam. His nurse was white and they were chatting it up.  Why her race mattered to me, I do not know but at the time I wondered if she would have been kinder than the black nurse I was given the displeasure of meeting.

Back in my dorm room, I was in pain. I did not have money for the yeast care cream. The yogurt was easily obtained from the school cafeteria. I took some aspirin, sleeping through my anthropology class.  Feeling feverish I went to the bathroom. Perhaps a shower would cool me off. I also felt dirty my earlier experience, talking to that awful man who cheated on his fiance, those metal things in that bowl of liquid. When my panties dropped to the floor, they were speckled with blood. It was then that I knew, my virginity had been lost and that the violator was inhumane.

Autographed Letter Signed,



36 Responses to “Virginity Suicide by Deviated Speculum”

  1. What a story, and a sad sad commentary on what can be expected from gov’t dominated care that poor people and Black folks have been living with for years.

  2. bob Says:

    My brother is a doctor. This is a topic dear to my heart.

    My outlook is, what we need is more doctors.

    We could do it too, if we really spent the money in the right places.

    For instance, we could have a medical school in Boise, Idaho.

    We still have no medical school in Idaho.

    It’s big enough now, we have the talent, and the money.

    But we don’t seem to ever get it done.

    I ask that you put pressure on your representatives to have the government (here’s taxes I would happily pay ) help fund some new medical schools in places where we have a real lack.

    We could do it, if we get focused.

    • kywrite Says:

      It’s your state; use your taxes, or see if you can get a movement spearheaded with your brother to start one. Elect representatives who will push for a medical college, or who will institute ways to bring doctors to your area. You have bootstraps; use ’em. Good grief. Charity begins at home, not on someone else’s blog.

  3. John morris Says:

    Hey, Bob

    Speak for yourself and stop with the “we”. A society in which certain people are able to force life and career choices on others is one based on slavery. Be honest with yourself– if you think this is morally right, you are twisted in a very bad way and should know that many people- fought against slavery.

    There is nothing new about collectivist societies or collectivist rights. The so called right of one person to get things at others expense against their will is slavery.

  4. John morris Says:

    Bob, any particular reason you are not a doctor since you seem to think someone else should be?

  5. bob Says:

    jeez, what brought all that out?

    All I was suggesting is we tax ourselves to create more medical schools and doctors.

    This seems an innocent enough suggestion.

    What the hell is your problem?

  6. bob Says:

    I’ve read your post three times now, John Morris.

    Your post makes no sense whatsoever.

  7. bob Says:

    It kind of reminds me of that short story by that American doctor, whose name, unfortunately I can’t recall, maybe you have read it, where he is trying to treat the young girl, and she puts up resistance, resistance, resistance, and he finally gives up in despair, and writes a short story about the episode.

    Fuck you, John Morris, whoever you are, you are a moron.

  8. John morris Says:


    Have you ever really met a “we”. We is an abstraction- a combined number of individual people- all of whom have the right to their own lives liberty and property.

    The fact that you and people like you don’t even ackowledge what you are advocating says it all. What you are saying is that– You- Bob, are smart enough to know better than anyone else what careers they should go into, where their schools should be located and all of the millions of other decisions required to meet your idea of a perfect society.

    Any so called “right” to products or services provided by others- is just the right to enslave.

    If you want to become a doctor- great. If you want to contribute your money to a medical school with your own money-great; If you want to start a drug company or invest in one – great.

    But, when you try to draw a gun on someone (which is what the government is) else- because you know better than them what they should do with their own money and lives- don’t act shocked that some people resent it and get very, very angry.

  9. Holly Says:

    That is a horric experience to endure, especially when dealing with such a sensitive and pure “landscape” so to speak. I too was a virgin when I had my first appointment at twenty years old, but I was blessed to have an amazing gynocologist you understood and had a daughter my age, so it was a really pleasant experience. It was still horribly uncomfortable and foreign and I think I giggled through the entire breast exam, but an amazing doctor can make even the most uncomfortable situations manageable.

    If I may ask, do you believe that the passage of this healthcare bill will lead to more coverage and care that you received as a young woman, and if so, how can we prevent this? My senators and representatives are not listening to me…I write and write and get the same damn generic response. If they hold a town meeting I will be in attendance, but there has to be a more powerful way that we can force them to listen.


    • afrocity Says:

      Holly, in all of my years on government health care, I have never had a pleasant experience. Finally when I was employed and had my own health care was I treated with dignity and respect in the doctor’s office. Better health care was an incentive for me not to be on welfare as an adult. Before, I never had much of a say in my treatment options. I could not choose the pair of glasses I received. I wish I could say it was better than nothing but besides the penicillin, school immunizations and birth control pills, I really was never satisfied with gov’t health care. I did not know what wellness and preventative care was until my first job.

      • Holly Says:


        I cannot say that I am surprised by your answer because, in my opinion, government is never the option; it may be well intentioned, but always poorly run. I am never a fan of government interference in my life.

        I’m still struggling to find a way for my supposed “representatives” to hear my voice and my absolute hatred of the bill they are proposing. I have received care in the UK and I do not wish for anyone to wait 14 hours before receiving a CT scan, 16 hours before the doctor informs me of what is wrong, and then being sent to another hospital on the following day to receive an emergency scan to be told that they wouldn’t perform the EMERGENCY scan and that I would have to wait until I got back to the States in two weeks. In the first hospital, as I was sitting in an old reclining chair that didn’t recline (they didn’t have beds) and throwing up while four young men stared at me because there were no dividers for those sitting across from me, the nurse apologized over and over: “I’m sorry, we just don’t have care like you do in the States. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” Others were there before me, and I was the only American in my wing, so when she squeezed me in between two other patients when I wasn’t yet scheduled for my scan, I assumed that it was because I was American. I never demanded her of this nor was I ever angry, but I knew at that moment that the system was broken and she was admitting it to me. I also read this fact when I was walking with my friend the following day to receive my emergency scan in bold letters on the front page of the newspaper: HOSPITALS OVERCROWDED!

        If this is what I can expect to come to our great country, I might as well move to the UK…and least I can listen to the sexy accents.

      • kywrite Says:

        Holly, this guy has a pretty good plan laid out, and has already seen some results:

        And — I so agree about the sexy accents. Not sure I ever heard a word Tony Blair ever said; I was too busy listening to his voice.

      • TeresaINPa Says:

        AC, that was medicaid or a medicaid like program in your state or city. They pay very poorly. Talk to people on medicare. It is a great program for those who can afford a good suppliment and for those who can not, most doctors will wave the extra 20 percent. Medicare can be much better and cheaper when everyone is included, No insurance company in its right mind would create a pool of just old and sick people.
        People on medicare get treated just fine and ALL doctors take it. It is their cash cow.

        In the meantime I am very sorry to read about your experiences. It was a horrible way to be introduced to GYN services. All I can say is that I think health care workers get very burned out after awhile.

  10. Holly Says:

    Sorry, I meant to say “Horrific.”

  11. johninca Says:

    This health care bill is our equivalent of the Reichstag fire. What’s being proposed is a fascist takeover of health care. It’s about power, not medicine.

  12. kywrite Says:

    Afrocity, this was a very private moment you shared to make a very important point. Thank you for being so generous.

    • AfricanAgainstO Says:

      I agree a 100% – isn’t amazing though how much the human spirit can overcome if your will to overcome is so great! God bless you afro!

  13. John morris Says:

    Yes, the best quality of this blog is it’s extreme honesty. Few people are honest about their private histories and even fewer are articulate.

    The imagery you bring up of violation and rape fits perfectly. Once a full collectivist system is in place- the idea of free choice in any area of life becomes imposible. You are raped as a consumer by not being able to choose what to purchase or receive and you are raped as a producer and worker by not being able to choose your school or career. As the number of possible opportunities go away, many don’t even know choice is possible.

    • TeresaINPa Says:

      did you swallow Ayn Rand solid for breakfast? Jeesh. Do you drive on roads, go to the library, call 911, plan to cash your social security checks?

      When the right calls everything left of Rand communism (or in your case collectivism) you just sound as loony as the worst of the real world wide socialism types.

      • John morris Says:

        “Plan to cash your Social Security checks”– hell yes, because they are just the return of my own money.

        Good luck cashing yours!

      • John morris Says:

        “Plan to cash your Social Security checks”– hell yes, because they are just the return of my own money.

        Good luck cashing yours!

        I hope this number gives one some idea of thje position our government has put us in.

      • John morris Says:

        Ooops – I was trying to embed this debt counter that tries to account for all the off the books liabilities of the Federal government.

        It’s really interesting that you brought up Ayn Rand since she was generally only trying to more fully defend the ideas of our original founders.

        Do you think the government of today is even remotely following the Constitution? Is that 71 trillion$ for 911 services?

      • John morris Says:

        It’s also very, very interesting that you brought up “Social Security.” Think about how the system works and compare it to slavery.

        Social Security is called a “social contract” in which each new generation pays for the retirement of preceeding generations. Except– it’s not a contract young people signed.They were born into these liabilities.

        In fact the national debt shows exactly how the chaotic, live for today ponzi government really works.

        “But surely someone who writes a book about them in another 40 or 50 years — Tom Brokaw wrote his book “The Greatest Generation” decades after that generation’s self-sacrifice preserved our freedom — will brand them as perhaps the most selfish generation in American history. That author would accurately nail them for their greedy, miserable selves because he and hundreds of millions of others will be living in the cesspool of debt that they leave behind.

        Every time you take a breath, President Barack Obama (he’s on television more frequently than the weather forecast) is pushing through another costly program, rescue, bailout, giveaway — whatever you want to call it — that we can’t afford to pay for ourselves. So, in a magical example of time travel, he — we, I should say — will deliver the bill to the future, with nary a thought of how the future will pay for it.

        No need here for a tedious recounting of the huge, impossible debt that we’re passing off; it has been outlined enough, but the figures seem to scare few. Our official national debt, the one you hear occasionally debated in Congress, is a sliver under $12 trillion. Sounds like a lot? Then get this: Our true national debt, when you include every cent of benefits promised to seniors, Baby Boomers and other entitled beneficiaries, amounts to nearly $62 trillion, according to the Northbrook-based Institute for Truth in Accounting. That’s $202,000 for every man, woman and child in America. Our gift to future generations is the shaft. We could talk about how paying the interest on the national debt we now have is one of the largest items in the federal budget, already draining billions from all those education, welfare and other programs so dear to the progressive agenda. But future interest payments will gobble up so many of our resources that we won’t be able to afford new cars, homes and the rest of the consumer cravings that fuel our economy. Our economy will be in shambles.

        But wait, that $62 trillion doesn’t even include the other trillions for the sugarplums dancing in Obama’s head. The additional $1 trillion for health-insurance “reform.” An additional trillion or so for the third stimulus package. What else, we can only imagine.”

        What will future generations living under these debts be if not slaves?

  14. joanelle Says:

    Oh, Afrocity, how awful {{{}}}

    It is about power – right now the insurance companies run the industry.

    My husband and I qualified for medicare last year – we need medicare for everyone – it would save us significant dollars – but it does need to be “cleaned” up as far as the paperwork and some funny business is concerned to be able to retain good doctors in the system.

    Or we could all push for something like this

  15. joanelle Says:

    We were away over the weekend – just got back last night – I had no email, so… Happy belated Birthday Afrocity!!!! 😀

  16. jbjd Says:

    When I was in law school, a fellow student extolled this capitalist system for taking care of those who could not take care of themselves, offering up such tidbits of ‘free’ supports as Medicare and Food Stamps. I retorted such care, in theory, is great; but first, you have to find a doctor for your child, who will accept Medicare as payment; and a store selling food in your neighborhood, that takes Food Stamps. My point is, if everyone offering the service accepted this type of payment then, the benefit would truly be a benefit; and competition to provide services would improve overall care. It works in other capitalist democracies, whose citizens enjoy an overall healthier result than we do here in the U.S. Do your home work; you’ll see. SICK AROUND THE WORLD

  17. looking Says:

    I spent over a decade in Germany which has some of the best health care in Europe. It was a well organized system that provided great care and placed great emphasis on preventitive medicine. Yet even there the type of system being planned for us here, is beginning to crack. My ex told me that out of pocket payments for medical expenses have risen sharply. Perhaps our leaders should do some real analysis prior to sedning us down a road that has failed for others.

    • jbjd Says:

      “Perhaps our leaders should do some real analysis prior to sedning (sic) us down a road that has failed for others”

      Perhaps we should do some real analysis of health care systems in other capitalistic democracies; compare and contrast the pluses and minuses of those systems; and consider which elements of those systems could be incorporated into a health care system that would work in the US. Then, we should only send to Washington Senators and Representatives who would vote that system into law.

  18. swanspirit Says:

    Afrocity … I am also a survivor of the cold metal speculum ..altho I did not lose thatso called sacred piece of skin to it, ( Virginity is a spiritual thing actually I think ) it still felt horible and painful , and when they changed to the plastic disposable ones I was relieved . I will not go to a male gyno , and no female that doesn’t believe in being gentle . This is the part of health care that most suits in offices miss .. the individual experience that should be focused and involve HEALING . Your experience was not limited to free care… even the high priced paid for care for WOMEN was not very different , with the possible exception that you did not have to wait to be treated badly in the exam room . My first gyno was the coldest meanest doctor I ever met bar none, and I have bveen a nurse for 20 years. He was, please forgive this comparison , a living walking metal speculum . He also took time from his busy medical practice to judge me and look down his nose at me for being pregnant out of wedlock at the tender age of 17 . And my mother paid good money for that .

  19. johninca Says:

    We were told for years that the evil insurance companies were making obscene profits. Now we are to be mandated to buy insurance, increasing their obscene profits by the billions.

    If that does not make people see that a scam is in progress, I don’t know what it would take. The good news is that people are waking up.

  20. WMCB Says:

    Afrocity, I’m sorry you had to go through that.

    Many of the European countries do not have real “socialist” programs anyway. They may have started with that, but have seen that it doesn’t work in a pure form, and have moved to more hybrid free market solutions along with govt guarantees of coverage, and subsidy when necessary. That way they get choice and flexibility while still making sure everyone is covered.

    One thing they DO, though, is have fierce laws in place re: insurance plans. They have to cover everything, and they have to be open to all to buy in, no pre-existing crap. They are not allowed to skim outrageous profits off by price-gouging and denying care, either. Many of them are set up as non-profit private insurance (similar to co-ops) – the employees get paid to run it, but there are no big stockholders taking their 15% cut off the top.

    I’m not a huge govt regulation fan, but I think in this area we could accomplish a lot by setting very strict, simple rules on what the insurance companies can and can’t do, and by creating more non-profit insurance companies.

    As for Medicare for all, I think it could work, and be the cheapest solution if those able to pay PAID for their coverage, BUT you’d have to fight to get it done in a sane way that wasn’t a huge power-grab by the govt. The devil is in the details, and they will always want to micromanage everything if you let them.

  21. loudmouthjewishbabe Says:

    Speaking of gyns, I just received my annual reminder last week.

    My female gyn believes in writing scripts for the newer digital mamms every year, over 30? as a preventative measure, regardless of family history.

    My various insurance plans that I have had throughout the years have always picked it up.

    Her practice is in a “bluedoggie” dem district.

    I have shopped her philosophy around to various *DEMS* and they scoff at it. (too expensive- hush now you annoying voter)

    The American Cancer Society agressively lobbies Congress and insurance companies to mandate regular screenings as prevention. “Regular” = not in a blue moon.

    There is only so much money taxing the rich is going to generate, before we move on to the middle class= BROKEN campaign promise.

    The press has been pressing Gibbs to clarify Geitner and Summner’s comments over the weekend. And then how much. Obama himself has said that docs will be

    “rewarded” for giving “quality of care, as opposed to quantity of care.” What does that mean, anyway? Gvt paying off docs NOT to write scripts for screenings? If she suddenly changes her philosophy, I will wonder why.

    I hope docs who believe in Obama will be there when Obamacare refuses payment for procedures they recommend.

    I expect/demand no less.

    Here is one doc who just went public as regretting voting for Obama, and has come out against Obamacare and esp HR3200.

    I don’t have an audio yet.

    Wonderful, but fat lot good that will do us now. Doctors who naively backed Obama are doing their patients a great diservice by allowing patients to think x,y, and z will be covered whenever docs recommend treatment.

    We need to hold Obamadocs’ feet to the fire, because in my experience discussing this matter with pols, NOBODY wants to be held responsible for the fallout of the unintended consequences.

    Meanwhile, Chris Dodd will be treated at Sloane-Kettering for his cancer.

    • jbjd Says:

      S-K is in NY. Isn’t that out of network? (This is a morbid thought but, I wish cancer sufferers in CT with health insurance issues would flood his senate in the state and compare and contrast his coverage, which we pay for, with theirs.

  22. John morris Says:

    “I retorted such care, in theory, is great; but first, you have to find a doctor for your child, who will accept Medicare as payment; and a store selling food in your neighborhood, that takes Food Stamps. My point is, if everyone offering the service accepted this type of payment then, the benefit would truly be a benefit; and competition to provide services would improve overall care.”

    Sorry jbjd, You have no idea at all what a real capitalist or free society is all about. The semi slave societies of Europe do not qualify.

    The real basis of capitalism- is the right of each individual to make free choices and associations in a free marketplace with others who have the same freedoms. Everything else is what we might call a mixed economy in either the process of becoming fully free or fully enslaved.

    I’ve stated that the basic issue here is one of slavery and you are proving my point.

    You say doctors should be forced to take whatever coverage or payment the government might offer. Suppose-they just decide to quit and do something else. Should that be allowed when people need healthcare? I guess then, they should be tied to their jobs by the government which will tell everyone where and what they should do. Suppose then, doctors or scientists or anyone else the government thinks is needed wants to leave the country to leave the country? Should that be allowed? We need them– so they should be slaves I guess.

    My recommendation is large electrified fence, walls, barbed wire and guard towers.

    “A Slaveholding economy or a Socialist economy cannot co-exist for long with a free system. They must naturally consume and expand to survive. And Socialism, the modern day slavery, is quickly expanding across America. And we cannot long survive as a mix of free states and slave states.

    Obama’s election is a decisive wake up call in that regard. A statement that America is to be a slave nation, its population taxed into poverty, its corporations turned into corrupt government fiefdoms, its freedoms tightly regulated and curtailed. The contest for the future depends on making clear the choice between Freedom and Slavery, between Individualism and Socialism. The fate of America and the future depends on it.

    We can either have a nation of free men, or a slaveholding nanny state. We cannot have both. The time when we could choose is quickly passing, and the chains and collars are nearing our throats.

    An America of slaves may carry the name America, but it will no longer be the same nation. Instead it will be American In Name Only. A country where the Constitution is nothing more than a piece of paper, where history is bunk, rights are imaginary and everyone is constantly arguing over which of them is more mistreated. And worst of all, we’re nearly there now.

    The media’s propaganda barrage is meant to get the populace happy about being slaves. Slavery with a smile, or Socialism with a Human Face, as was the old Soviet slogan. And it will be slavery indeed, whether it’s Slavery in the name of the environment, Slavery in the name of social justice, Slavery in the name of the Unions, Slavery in the name of the Bureaucracy. It doesn’t really matter because slavery by any name is still slavery.”

  23. Laura Blanchard Says:

    Your clinic experience sucked. I had military care through my pregnancy and that sucked too. If we all wind up on government health care and I get some serious condition, I believe I will drink myself to death in order to avoid the health care gulag.

    I feel trivial commenting on such a side issue, but I giggled when I saw the Speculum cartoon and guffawed at the Speculum cover you included. Did you know the Medieval Academy used that cartoon in a special feminism issue? — in 1991 or 1992, I think.

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