I enjoy being a (neutered) girl

By Mir
September 19, 2007

I am having a VERY EXCITING WEEK! Why, just yesterday I went and had my hair cut for the first time in three months. I contemplated writing an entry about the whole dilemma—having painstakingly grown out my short layers only to discover that once the hair reaches my neck I start feeling like a muppet is roosting atop my head, wanting to go short(er) again but not TOO short, going to the stylist and saying “have at it” and not being entirely sure what exactly she did because then she dried it straight and WHO KNOWS what it will look like when I wear it curly again—but then I realized that it’s possible that no one cares as much about the state of my hair as I do.

(Oh, the irony of a blogger realizing that ANYTHING is only interesting to her. Ha!)

So instead of talking about my hair, we can delve right into TODAY’s adventure, which was going to see a new gynecologist! Because that’s totally of interest to everyone!

I embarked on today already in something on a snit, because Tammy was kind enough to ask her doctor for a recommendation for me, and it turns out that her very doctor is someone who specializes in My Particular Issues (unlike the practice where everyone specializes in everything), and Tammy really likes him and says he’s great, but of course he is not covered on my health insurance because my health insurance sucks hairy donkey balls.

Nevertheless, I made an appointment with a doctor whose credentials seemed acceptable and headed off for my early morning appointment.

There’s a thing that they seem to do in this town—and I would find it charming if it wasn’t such a colossal pain in the ass—where we have two hospitals relatively close to each other, and then EVERY DOCTOR IN TOWN has their offices somewhere inbetween the two. That’s fine, except that they all have the same address. Like, there are 400 doctors located at 123 Main Street, because actually 123 Main Street is a compound of offices, and it spans twelve blocks, and GOOD LUCK finding the office you need. So I left right after dropping the kids at school, because I already knew from previous experience that I would need plenty of time to park and figure out where I was going.

I managed to find it okay, and then I went inside. I was nice and early so that I’d have time to fill out paperwork.

Well, all they wanted was insurance information. There were no forms for medical history or anything, which I found weird. BUT when the nurse or medical assistant or whoever she was took me back, she asked me all sorts of questions and put the answers into the computer. I think.

See, there was just one small problem. I’m great at filling out forms. I’m a paperwork whiz, if you will. But the nice girl who asked me all of these questions? Had a southern accent as thick as molasses. I couldn’t understand a word she said. So the history interview went something like this:

Her: Haaa you evah blahdeewadoo?
Me: I’m sorry?
Her: Haaa you evah blahdeewadoo?
Me: Blah…?
Her: You knowah, in the waaneegreyfo?
Me: I… ummm… in 2002?

Lather, rinse, repeat. I may have copped to being a hypertensive man. I just don’t know.

Finally she gave me some attractive paper garments and left the room. (Her changing instructions: “Tay evrydee off ‘n’ ope in da frah, seegobeheeyamin”) I was extremely relieved when my new doctor arrived and spoke English. New York English.

I explained how I’ve been on hormone replacement since my hysterectomy, but I’m having some trouble with it, and also how apparently I am due for a mammogram, as I’ve been dutifully having them every six month ever since my breast biopsy which revealed some pre-cancerous tissue.

I was sure she was going to assure me that I really don’t need to be having so many mammograms, and also have a WONDERFUL idea for rectifying my hormonal woes.

Well, she did an exam and looked over my history and sat down and asked me if my previous doctor had ever suggested I go off of my hormone replacement.

“Uhhh…. no?” I said, leaving out the implied “… because it would be LUNACY to go hormone-less at my age.”

“Well,” she said, “I would hate to take you off estrogen at your age. But two years into hormone replacement you had a concerning change in your breast tissue, and we know there there’s a link between taking estrogen and breast cancer.”

We sat in silence for a moment while I considered this.

“Um, how do we know that had anything to do with my hormone replacement?” I asked.

“We don’t,” she answered. “But it’s concerning.” She likes the word concerning. I, as it turns out, am starting to hate that word.

There’s a part of me that knows she is Right and Good to be concerned about this, and I would certainly rather have hot flashes than breast cancer, but still. Dammit, woman, I could barely find my way to your office. Must we start out our relationship with you basically telling me that I’m royally screwed?

Then she suggested that instead of the topical estrogen gel I’m currently using, maybe we could try just having me take birth control pills.

Birth control pills. For hormone therapy after a total hysterectomy. Whaaaaaa?

Fortunately (?) when I pointed out that progesterone gives me migraines (and most bcps contain both estrogen and progesterone) she gave up on that idea.

But then she assured me that I would love our local Breast Health Center, and I should go over there for a mammogram and we could talk game plan moving forward, like can I drop back to annual screenings, etc. Fine. We went up front so that the secretary could call over and make me an appointment, and GUESS WHAT!

My health insurance doesn’t cover the Breast Health Center. Of course.

So they’re sending me someplace else for a mammogram, someplace that I expect will consist of a set of vice grips mounted on a table next to a Polaroid camera.

Once I finally finished up there, I took myself and my defeated sense of self-care down the street to drive through Dunkin Donuts. The lady waiting on me must’ve been related to the lady at the doctor’s office because I couldn’t understand a word SHE said, either. After some back-and-forth we determined that they didn’t have what I was asking for (a plain stick; it’s a rectangular cake donut), so I asked if they had old-fashioneds and she said yes. “I’ll just have one of those, then, please.” I paid and took my bag and drove away.

Inside the bag was a cinnamon twist. Because that sounds EXACTLY like a plain old-fashioned.

If she gets tired of slinging donuts, I think she could probably get a job at my insurance company.


  1. jennielynn

    Vice grips and a Polaroid. I’m dyin’ ovah heah.

  2. Chelle

    Welcome to Georgia, Mir! I’ve been here a little over two years now and I am still navigating the insurance / doctor territory. I hope your day gets better from here :)

  3. Rachel May

    Ok. I’m southern, but I have NO IDEA what you typed up there in your conversation with that chick, and it’s driving me bonkers. Can you put the real English in parentheses beside it or something so I can laugh at how she’s pronouncing them? Please?

  4. The Other Leanne

    Obviously, Nell* has grown up and gotten a job: “T’ayy inna wiiin’!”

    *Egg Pictures, 1994. Starring Jodie Foster and Liam Neeson. Michael Apted, Director.

  5. Ei.

    When I was sixteen I spent the summer with my sister and her husband in Texas after a lifetime in the sandhills of Nebraska. They thought it a good idea for me to get a job at McDonalds. On my first day it took me approximately 23 minutes to figure out that someone was asking me for a fork. That is when I learned how to make biscuits…and lots of them.

  6. Sara

    Just checked your Google ads box and um? Menopause Hair? Um…what?! So perhaps I missed it, but did you wind up at Giant Vagina Practice? I’m guessing no. Either way, can’t wait to see the post you do with all the Google hits because of the last two posts…I’m laughing already.

  7. tuney

    Wait. Do you mean to say GA is screwy when it comes to insurance? That there are states that have it better? Um… I thought EVERYbody had it this bad. Maybe if I move my rock a little to the north…?

    Of course, I’m still stuck on finding props in the produce aisle. **whippin’ out the debit card**

    There are several phrases which I will forever remember, thanks to you. “Sucks hairy donkey balls,” “vice grips and a polaroid.” So freakin’ funny. Thanks for increasing my lexicon, Mir.

  8. pam

    Oh stop please stop. Coffee out my nose on the computer isn’t pretty. But I just went back up to look at the pronunciations and chortled again. Too funny. Reminds me of the two interminal weeks I spent in Kentucky once.

  9. Pretentious

    Uh, what’s wrong with staying on hormone therapy and just getting a mammogram every six months? Why does she want to start treating a problem that’s not there, and stop treating a problem that is there?

  10. Kellan Rhodes

    This was hilarious!!!! I loved the conversation between you and the nurse and at Dunkin’ Donuts (which, by the way, was my first job in high school). I loved it – I laughed so hard! I have my annual/mamo appt. tomorrow (yuck). Have been psyching (is that how you spell that? Who made up all those Psy-words, anyway? It’s “siking” – that’s how it should be spelled. Like debt, should be “det” (tried to explain that silent “b” to my son the other night – I just said, It’s stupid!) – anyway, I’ve been psyching myself for tomorrow’s appointment … well, all summer. Sorry you are going through all this – hormore, new doctor, insurance – crap. But you are certainly not alone (if that makes you feel better) – I have to go to my old doctor (due to insurance) – the one that never really knew what he was talking about, but he’s easy to get into – tomorrow. He is cute though.

  11. Bob

    I have both vice-grips and a polaroid.

    and very reasonable rates.

  12. Daily Tragedies

    I would have no idea how to order donuts at a drive-thru. It’s bad enough when I point at the glass case … that one. No, no, forward, left, no forward

  13. Lady M

    Good god. I was hoping that the lady at Dunkin Donuts was going to give you a recommendation for an excellent specialist doctor who was covered by your insurance. I guess a cinnamon twist is kind of close.

  14. Pam

    Oh, I am SO your twin separated at birth. I just got back from my followup mammogram (after the surgical biopsy in April), and I am apparently producing calcifications at an alarming rate. So yay! May get another biopsy! Have an MRI on Friday… my boobs are not that big. How can they be causing me so many problems?! Any my hysterectomy left me with one ovary, so I didn’t have to do the HRT route — but I am going to experience all the joy of menopause — more yay! At least my insurance, and my northern VA doctors, are understandable…. small consolation today.

  15. ScottsdaleGirl

    I could use a donut right now.

  16. Not The Mama

    Ugh, in Atlanta we have the same issue of every doctor being in a freaking compound with a single address and no explanation of where they are actually located. Maybe it’s a Georgia thing. In any case, it sucks. As does the rest of your day thus far. I hope it gets better. (And for the record — I’m always game for a post about hair!)

  17. Heidi

    Bob, do you have an opening next Wednesday?

  18. AmyM

    Oh dear. Insurance companies. Every ‘good’ medical/chiropractic/mental health professional within a reasonable driving distance is always, always, ALWAYS “out of network”.
    I hope you everything works out for you and ‘the girls’. My Aunt Vivvy is in post-mastectomy chemo right now.

  19. lauren

    Thank heavens for Dunkin’ doughnuts…I think they should put one beside every doctor’s office, health department and walmart in America. Nothing takes the pain away like a doughnut!!

  20. Manic Mommy

    I’ll have a /laaj reg U la/ and a honey-dipped for you next time I go to Dunks.

    I think it’s considered a crime in New England to work in Dunkin’ Donuts and NOT understand the vernacular.

  21. Nancy R

    I had your dunkin’ donuts experience at Sonic a couple of weeks ago. I lost count of how many times I asked the girl taking my order to repeat herself. When I peered in the bag and questioned whether that was our order – because I had ordered a grilled cheese for my daughter, not chicken strips – I got, “I repeated it back to you.”

    No apology. No ‘customer is always right’ offer to get me the correct order.

    I hope you find a resolution to the hormone stuff that you’re okay with.

  22. Anne Glamore

    My son misspelled “think” as “thank” on his spelling test, but you know, here in Alabama, that’s just the way a lot of people pronounce it, so I believe his phonetics are good; we just need to de-thickify the accent.

    I can come translate next time– I can turn on the accent and I know a lot about health care.

    (Don’t pronounce the “r” in “care”)

  23. Leandra

    I like to get the chocolate cake donut at the DD, but somehow I always end up with chocolate frosted. Which, in the grand scheme of things is not a TERRIBLE problem to have. But still. Also, while we’re on the subject…DD just went up on the price of their coffee! What’s up with that?

  24. Jenny

    As proof that I live in the Boonies of SC, seen just this morning tacked to a light pole: “WE BUY & SALE MOBILE HOMES”
    Presume for “sale” read “sell” — but it’s phonetic, I suppose.

    BUT, the problem is that there isn’t just *one* southern accent. Taking “health care” as an example, if you ask someone in my part of the state, you’d hear “haylth cr” and if you ask my grandmother (from the lowcountry) you’d get “helth cay’-ah.”

    Good luck with the vice grips!

  25. Amy-Go

    I got nothin’. Poor Mir! :(

  26. Izzy

    For the love of the sweet baby Jesus! It’s no wonder people go postal. Hope your mammo at the other place is less frustrating.

  27. mama speak

    Jeez Mir, I’m sorry all that AND you can’t even get the damn donut you want.

    Hoping you get some bacon chocolate very soon.

    And if it makes you feel any better (probably not) your entry just served as a PSA as the BC I’m going to go on has estrogen in it and I hadn’t even considered the whole Breast Cancer thing (even though I knew). Going to go ask Dr. Google about it right now. So Thanks.

    I hope they find a quick and easy solution for you very, very quickly!

  28. Sheila

    I’m with Rachel May… it will cause me to lose sleep tonight if I am unable to translate those phonetics to a reasonable word. Ah thank ah could nevah live down theyah.

    P.S. Good luck with your brayusts.

  29. Peanut

    Maybe Mir never figured out what they said! I wouldn’t have been able to!

  30. All Adither

    Where can I get some of that estrogen gel stuff?

  31. saucygrrl

    Oh! That would send me packing my bags for a new doctor pretty damn fast. In my opinion, I should NOT be smarter than my doctor. Just because they’re MDs doesn’t mean they all graduated with honors. Not that I want to make you nuts thinking about that but.. well… um… does estrogen gel help with foot-n-mouth?

  32. Karen

    I just found your blog- it\’s so funny! I look forward to reading more!


  33. Amanda

    I can relate to not understanding the SOUTHERN lingo! Don’t believe me? Read my last entry on my blog! HA

  34. Crisanne

    I seriously cannot distinguish a single word of your conversation with the nurse! HELP! Or maybe you still don’t know what she was actually saying…

    The doctor’s offices were like that in TX as well. My husband went to the wrong building one time when he was shadowing a doc and wound up having to run 8 or 10 blocks to try to make it to the right building on time.

  35. Flea

    Tay evrydee off ‘n’ ope in da frah, seegobeheeyamin”

    Take everything off and hop on the (no idea), she’s going to be here in a minute.


  36. Flea

    No no no! That’s … and open in the front …

  37. danelle

    I just read a study that said men are more afraid their wives will cut their hair than they are they’ll gain weight!

    Anyway – the southern dialogue was hilarious but I couldn’t figure it out either.

  38. Sandee

    Blahdeewadoo is my new favorite word! :~)

  39. Tree

    I got the part about “Tay evrydee off ‘n’ ope in da frah, seegobeheeyamin”. But the prior conversation – not a clue. I worked at a cancer clinic at the ripe old age of 20 in Long Beach long ago (27 years, if you want to get really anal about it)…and one of the patients who had lost her larynx to cancer had a “trach” tube, so could not speak, only make sounds like “quuuueeeek, kuaaaaachhhhh, qwiiiiccccchhh”. AND SHE CALLED ON THE PHONE ON MY FIRST DAY AT THIS CLINIC!!!! I was in tears and passed her on to my office manager. Later I met her when she came in for radiation treatments and by reading her lips, I eventually was able to understand her, even when she called on the phone! I’m just sayin’ that eventually you will figure people out. And another anal-type observation….I’d call you a (spayed) female…just sayin’…..’sall duh saym I gess.

  40. JustEnjoyHim/Judy

    Her: Haaa you evah blahdeewadoo?
    Me: I’m sorry?
    Her: Haaa you evah blahdeewadoo?
    Me: Blah…?
    Her: You knowah, in the waaneegreyfo?
    Me: I… ummm… in 2002?


    I ran into her second cousin once in North Carolina when all I was trying to do was order a sub from Subway. Luckily, I had my friend, who lived there, with me and it turned out that she was asking me if I wanted my sub “all the waaaayyyy,” which I thought was a pretty personal question until I found out that meant “with everything.”

    Face it, we Yanks just “don’t get it” where the South is concerned.

    Actually, I think they can actually speak exactly like we do. They just don’t because they’re still bitter about the Civil War.

  41. karen t

    I think she was saying ‘Take everything off and hop in the fire.’ It’s like kill or cure treatment.

  42. jo-less

    hahaha, we have the same problem here in the UK. I went to uni in the North of England (Durham) and had entire lengthy conversations with locals (mainly taxi drivers) where I just nodded and hoped I wouldn’t offend them, or agree to pay my entire student loan for one journey :-) And just try going to Glasgow….OMG!

  43. Megan

    I had a long conversation once that consisted of nothing but vowels. It shouldn’t have been long really… it was only three sentences but I had to ask her to repeat it so many times… she was pretty patient really, but at the end she leaned forward and said, very slowly, hunnnneee ah thiiiiuuuuh yaaaaa neeeeeuuuh a eeeeaaaaah teeeyyyuuuuussss.

  44. Jenny

    “Actually, I think they can actually speak exactly like we do. They just don’t because they’re still bitter about the Civil War.”

    Unfortunately, in some cases, that might actually be true. Bless our hearts.

  45. tori

    I had a hysterectomy last year and thought I would forever be done with birth control pills. My doctor left one ovary and also my cervix since it was adhered to my bladder (and I sort of need that to stay in). I have been having nonstop spotting since they did all that and they are now telling me my hormones are still just a little messed up from the raditation from my cancer. I can either give it all time to settle down and live with the spotting, or try birth control pills. Seriously???? I feel your pain on this one! And sorry for TMI so early in the morning.

  46. Jan in Norman OK

    The regional speech issues thing works the other way, too. I spent one summer in South Dakota and had a heckuva time understanding people on the phone. I could understand people better in person, though. I finally figured out that it was because I could read their lips.

  47. Mary Robideaux

    I knew what it meant to live in Oklahoma the day my daughter wanted to take something to school for show and tale…..which makes a lot more sense now that I see it written out!!!

  48. Aimee

    Vise grips and a polaroid camera! *dies laughing*

  49. Susan

    Listening to everyone starting sentences with “I mean..” and ending them with “ya know…” and throwing in “like” as many times as possible — well, it’s highly annoying but still completely understandable. Suddenly, Southern California Talk* isn’t as frustrating as it was just moments ago.

    *Tune into The Hills on MTV for an example

  50. Kris

    HAH! The sad part is I’m not southern and I understand the “Take everything off and open in the front. She’s gonna be here in a minute.”

    The donut chick – she just needs to be slapped. That’s so wrong. Once I asked for a bear claw and got an apple fritter. They are so NOT the same thing! (And for the record, I like both, but when you’re in the mood for an Egg McMuffin and they’re already serving lunch, there’s trouble!)

    (Totally off topic, but I have to share. For hernia repair, they’re now using biomedical mesh, which is actually pig tissue. After I have mine done, if I lay out in the sun, will I smell like bacon? What more could a girl want!)

  51. carson

    I started having hot flashes last year (at the ripe–no, let’s make that wizened age of 38/39!), and someone recommended Progesterone cream. After I tried a month of the BCP my dr recommended (and I remembered all the things I hated about them), I rolled my eyes and went for it.

    Stuff works for the hot flashes. I hardly every feel like lightening is shooting from the tips of my hairs these days. It also worked on the migraines that I was getting. You have to go to a granola crunchy store (health food), but with your insurance, it would probably be cheaper than a package of pills.

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