Tuesday 13th September 2011

by Megan Beth Koester

An unspeakably tiny woman enters the room, her white coat dwarfing her fragile frame. The aide that comes in alongside her looks positively zaftig in comparison. This biologically improbable nymph with skin the color of whole milk (pasteurized, of course) shakes my hand in the most non-commital of fashions. The aide explains to her my vaginal ailments; upon receiving this information, the nymph’s face contorts into a mask of sheer confusion. Her furrowed brow marring an otherwise pristine face, I realize (to my horror) that she cannot speak English. It is a Thursday, I am deep within the bowels of Koreatown, and this childlike woman is about to administer my sixth pelvic exam of the week.

She wraps a flashlight around her forehead. What – is she going spelunking in my vagina? I have no idea; she and I exchange no words. The speculum the aide offers her is not good enough; she demands, in broken English, “the green one.” The aide pulls said speculum from a drawer; it is aesthetically identical to the first, the only difference being that it is wrapped in green cellophane. Upon unwrapping the green speculum, she says, “I go inside now.” She goes inside now.

The matriarch of a Korean soap opera is now foraging around in my secret garden. She is doing so sans delicacy. Her confusion is contagious; I am too bewildered by this chain of events to even get angry. I feel indigent. I feel impoverished. I feel humbled. After a minute or so of rooting, she says (to no one in particular), “Done.” She leaves without speaking to me or the aide. The aide leaves. None of my ailments have been solved; they haven’t even been acknowledged. I ask myself, “What – they don’t have vaginas in Korea?”

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