Lest, dear readers, that you are all left with the impression that I am a calm, cool, and collected midwife, I would like to deeply shatter this perception by letting you all into the private world in which I do deeply embarrassing and awkward things every damn day in clinic.
It was after I realized that I had been walking around with some depo injection sprayed across my glasses all day that most of my awkward moments are highly hilarious, and that I may as well rename this blog The Bumbling Midwife.
So, grab a drink of your choice (I’m currently working on coffee cup number 3, balanced delicately and surely to spill. If my husband were home he would grab it off the couch and set it on the coffee table….where these things belong) and settle in for some tales from the front lines of awkwardness:
Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of a sentence, realize we have a really great hand-out on the topic I’m bumbling through and go digging in the drawers for it. And invariably I can never find the form I’m looking for. I then explain, bent over the drawer that every room keeps the flyers in a different order, while I continue to dig and mumble to myself while the patient looks on.
Male exams still make me blush. I am a grown-ass midwife and I cannot handle it. I’m talking cheeks blazing red. Stumbling over words like “testicles” and “glans” because I literally cannot take it. I’m a child.
The other day I washed my hands and there were no paper towels. I searched through the drawers for extras, to no avail, and had to pop out of the room to another exam room, hands drenched, only to return, realize I had to wash my hands again, and there were still no paper towels.
During IUD inserts I make baseball analogies. My patients range in reaction from awkward laughter and tolerance of my craziness to blatantly asking me to just shut up and get the damn IUD in already.
I have a horrible understanding of slang terms that people use for sex acts. I would seriously appreciate a glossary, and, no joke, have had to pop out of exam rooms and look things up on Urban Dictionary.
I drop things constantly. I fling charts across the room because I am very animatedly explaining something, usually to do with vaginal discharge.
I lose pens and then awkwardly search through my pockets until I realize that there really is no pen in there and then tell the patient that I litter them everywhere and then we both have to walk up to the front desk while I frantically search for the right things to circle on the patient’s fee ticket.
Sometimes I really have no idea what I’m looking at, and I have to explain to my patient that I need to step out and ask someone. But really. Please take me seriously as your health care provider.
Sometimes I chatter incoherently to myself while looking at a wet prep under the microscope. And the rest of the staff ask me if I’m talking to them. Nope. Just talking to the clue cells, everyone.
Every time I get on the phone with a pharmacist and they ask me what the strength of the nuva-ring is….”I don’t know that. Just…..the nuva ring” evidently is not an acceptable answer.
Sometimes people bleed a lot after removing the tenaculum for IUD inserts and I try and use my best big-kid voice, “not to worry, not to worry, silver nitrate please! Don’t pay any attention to all that blood, nothing to see here…..”
And last but not least, my favorite awkward moments are when I open the speculum drawer and it is incredibly disorganized and I can’t find the size I want. Patient is in the stirrups, and I calmly tell them, don’t mind me! Just banging around in the drawers here….I’ll find it eventually. This definitely gives them confidence in me.
So, dear readers, these are just but a handful of the severely awkward things I do every day. Usually I’m just by myself or with patients when they happen, which is a crime. If there’s nothing a new grad must get good at, it’s laughing at herself. And I’d like to invite you all to laugh with me. But not at me.
Well, a little at me.