Most of the time, my job is Very Serious.
Captitol S serious. People are in for annual exams in between chores, people are having side effects from their birth control, people need to terminate unplanned pregnancies.
But sometimes funny things happen in clinics. They are the absolute light moments of my day that bring human connection and levity to it all. Sometimes it’s a good laugh with the other staff about something a patient said, or everyone giggling at me as I power walk (no joke, I’m busy and it saves time) from exam room to office back to exam room.
Sometimes it’s the patients themselves, those who laugh about funny smells during intercourse, or who laugh out loud at my full body impersonation of what an IUD looks like inside a uterus.
It’s the woman who shouts “Holla!” after I tell her she is the proud owner of a brand new IUD.
It’s the woman who sits up on the table and shouts “whoohoo!” after I remove an IUD that was causing heavy bleeding and cramping.
It’s the man having his first exam, who, after I tell him to move his pants and underwear down to his knees, puts his hand over his mouth and laughs, looks me in the eye and says, “So, this is actually happening, huh? I gotta show you my dick.”
It’s the small talk I make with patients during a wart treatment and I ask them how their day is going and they say, sarcastically, “Oh just a regular ol’ Tuesday, getting my warts frozen off.”
It’s the woman who starts a little dance party in her chair when I tell her I looked at her ultrasound and she is definitely no longer pregnant.
It’s all the young women that laugh at my corny jokes about how it’s everyone’s favorite thing to do after turning 21 to go get a pap smear.
It’s the study abroad student who tells me that she must have gotten chlamydia from that “stupid, but hot, American boy.”
A lot of the time, my job is not a happy one. I tell people that they’re pregnant when they dont want to be. That they probably have infections that they will carry for life. But sometimes I can make people laugh, put them at ease and everything seems like it will be ok. And sometimes, because of the intimate subject matter of the work I do, people’s emotions are just under the surface, humor is a great coping mechanism, and, sometimes, all we can do is try to bring out the joy.