Monday, 4 June 2012


I am normally of the mind that if I can do it myself, why should I pay somebody to do it for me? Maybe this is the Girl Scout in me, or maybe it is having grown up with a mother who sewed, an aunt who knit and crocheted, and a father who fixed and built things. Every Christmas my mum gave me and my favourite doll matching dresses. And on my last trip back my dad and I used left over bits of cedar to make two flower planters that, while not perfectly symmetrical, were pretty good for a few hours of work!

But today I gave in and paid double to have somebody else do what I could have done myself. It was my annual employee health check at the big health centre. I got the general check and opted to add a couple of extras to check various female parts.

The menu was pulled out. Did I want a mammogram or sonogram? Did I want the doctor to conduct my pap smear or would I do it myself?

Wait, wait, wha!?!? My brain caught up to the barrage of questions being thrown at me.

That's right. I could pay ¥3200 for a mechanical ride and a doctor to poke around inside me (curtain hanging down to protect my privacy, of course, wouldn't want the doctor to see my face, now would we!!!) or I could pay ¥1500 and do it myself (minus mechanical chair and curtain, apparently).


It didn't take me long to make my decision. Despite assuring the nurses and desk staff that I could understand their rapid fire instructions and reams of paperwork, and despite the cutesy illustrations (this is Japan after all!) that would undoubtedly have covered the instructions, I decided this was one thing I would pay the expert to do. I don't feel so bad, I don't remember there being a "pap smear" badge in Brownies!


  1. Pap smears. Ugh.

    I don't know what's worse: that curtain thingie, or my doctor way back in South Africa who'd be doing unspeakable things while cheerfully grinning at me and blithely discussing a family barbecue the previous weekend!

    Are the cutesy illustrations as much fun as the cutesy illustrations for a barium test and various related indignities? :D

    1. I thankfully didn't have the honour of a barium test this year, but I sure the instructions would have had lots of cutesy illustrations - the mammogram vs ultrasound pamphlet did! But I was rather disappointed that the urine sample packet was illustration-less!

      I'm a curtain-less type of girl, I think. The curtain just weirds me out. I made the unpardonable mistake of tripping over the chair and sticking my head and shoulders to the other side of the curtain... the nurse quickly pulled it back to the other side as she made an audible "tsk"! Sigh, the life of a bumbling furriner!