“Do you want me to come?” Feng offered.
I declined. “Nah, I’ll be fine. I think it’s just to get the blood work results, I’ll be in and out in a matter of minutes.”
That’s the way most medical appointments go here. The waiting time is longer than the time you spend with the doctor, and routine appointments are about five- to seven-minute long.
On a bitterly cold March morning, Feng dropped me off at the University of Ottawa Health Services. Sitting in a waiting-room packed with flu sufferers and exam dodgers, I started to make plans for the rest of the day. Maybe I would head to Rideau Centre for a while or grab lunch somewhere, since I was already downtown.
Twenty minutes later, a nurse called my name and I was asked, once again, to give a urine sample. To this day, I have no idea why pregnant women constantly have to provide doctors with urine samples—good thing our bladders are bursting most of the time though, it makes things easier.
The doctor joined me in one of the many small exam rooms.
“Taking your vitamins?”
No, I wasn’t. They made me sick. I’m sorry, but I don’t see the point of taking random over-the-counter supplements if you have a balanced diet.
Gosh, here I was lying to my doctor already. Surely that was bad karma for the bean-shaped baby. I cringed inwardly.
“Blood work looks good,” the doctor added. Then she pointed to one of the corners of the room. “Alright, go behind the privacy curtain, take off all your clothes but your underwear and we will listen to the baby’s heart. I want to do a breast exam too.”
I slipped behind the curtain, closed it, took off my clothes, pile them up on the chair, and covered with the paper gown provided.
“I just checked, you are due for a Pap test,” announced the doctor after listening to the baby’s heart. “Let’s do this now. If you can just take off your panties…”
Still on the exam bed, I awkwardly slid my panties down. A minute later, the doctor announced she was done and that I was free to get dressed. She closed the privacy curtain behind her but stayed in the room.
As she was asking me where I wanted to deliver the baby—something I haven’t even had the chance to think about yet, considering I had just found out I was having a baby in the first place—I was getting dressed behind the curtain.
I adjusted my bra, put on my tee-shirt, then my sweater, then my socks, then… I stared at my jeans, the only item of clothing left on the chair. Where the fuck were my panties?
I looked around me. The privacy curtain was almost touching the exam bed, there wasn’t much room in there. Surely, my panties were somewhere.
I looked under the bed and under the chair. I looked on the table—maybe caught in the disposable white paper the bed was covered with?
Meanwhile, I was trying to keep up with the rather important conversation I was having with the doctor, who was sitting two metres away at her computer.
Oh shit. I couldn’t stay in there forever. I did one last quick check on the bed and under it—come on black panties, show up!—and gave up.
I put my jeans back on without the damn panties, slid the curtain open and walked out as naturally as I could.
I hadn’t gone commando since I was three.
The doctor was done talking (and picking a hospital for me to have the baby at) and that was the end of the appointment, which, for once, seemed to have lasted forever.
I stepped out of the clinic and headed straight to the bathroom, to make sure my panties weren’t caught in my pants—the only scenario worse than going commando.
To this day, I have no idea how I was able to lose a pair of black panties in a tiny exam room.
Maybe the things people say about French are true. I mean, there has to be something wrong with us—no respectable Canadian woman would ever lose her panties.
And I am supposed to become a mother? Oh boy…
(If you have an embarrassing story, please do share!)