by Jodie Nicholson
The Stick – Episodes 1
This is Jodie Nicholson’s first published piece. It won’t be her last.
(or jump to PART TWO or PART THREE
Women have to go through pretty invasive procedures all the time, so why not talk about it.
Monday, I had an internal ultrasound. Knowing this was going to be painful, I loaded up on endone and codeine and headed into the hospital.
I get into the office and the tech, Jenny, introduces herself with a big smile. I am whacked out on endone and tell her I hate her but not to take it personally. She asks me to take my jeans and underwear off, get on the table and spread my legs. I, of course, make an inappropriate joke about how it’s been a long time since I’ve dated and people really seem to cut to the chase now. Jenny looks confused.
She asks if I have had any children (no). She asks if I’m sexually active (no). She asks if I have EVER had sex (this is the third time I’ve been asked this in a week — note to self: vajazzle). She asks if I am ok with undergoing an internal ultrasound that will “penetrate your vagina.” I ask her if she will buy me a drink first. Jenny just looks at me.
Jenny introduces me to the ultrasound wand. This is now the worst sex toy party ever. Google ‘internal ultrasound wand’. Actually, don’t.
There is no foreplay, she just inserts the wand, but just the tip. And for several minutes, she moves just the tip around. And I’m lying there, confused. Very very confused. Then, without warning, in she goes. I take a white-knuckled grip of that examination table and I gasp. “Sorry,” Jenny says, with zero sincerity.
She moves that thing around like she’s stirring cake batter and I lay there, squirming, with tears streaming down my face, trying not to scream with the pain.
“I am having trouble finding your ovaries,” Jenny informs me. “That’s because you’re in my lungs,” I tell her.
Then the phone rings, it’s an urgent call from ED. Jenny apologises and says she has to take it.
Excellent, I think, I can have a short reprieve from The Wand Of Misery. Then Jenny moves away from me and over to the desk, leaving The Wand Of Misery INSIDE ME! So I’m lying there, legs spread, vagina facing the door and a corded wand sticking out of me. Please, take a moment to burn that into your brain.
She wraps up the call and comes back to me, removing the wand (now? NOW?!) and telling me that she can’t find my ovaries so she’ll need her supervisor to come and have a look.
Her supervisor walks in to be greeted by my vagina and introduces herself, “Hi Jodie, I’m Nicole, I’m the boss and I’m going to find your ovaries.”
“Hi Nicole, I believe you’ve already met my vagina.” Jenny tells her I’m funny. Thanks Jen.
Nicole does not have a delicate touch. Nicole wields The Wand Of Misery like it’s a fucking machete. In it goes, stab, stab, stab. Through my groaning and tears, I start laughing uncontrollably. Nicole asks if I’m ok, “YOU ARE JAMMING THAT THING AROUND IN ME LIKE YOU’RE CHANGING GEARS ON AN OLD CAR!”
Nicole returns to her rally driving. Then she says, “I’m really sorry but this is going to be very painful” and with that, presses down on the area where I am feeling the most pain, then jams the wand in that direction. It’s at this point that I feel myself starting to pass out but as someone who works in a hospital, I know what that will mean. If I pass out, they will have to call a Code Blue and at least six people are going to rush through that door with a crash cart and they will be greeted by my vagina. I cannot pass out. I will NOT pass out. So I will myself to stay conscious.
Then Nicole announces that she has to do it to the other side. In that split second, I calculate how long it will take me to save enough money for a hitman.
My ovaries are found, along with three ‘masses’ in my chick bits. Jenny hands me a box of tissues and tells me I can put my pants back on.
WORST. DATE. EVER.
by Jodie Nicholson
The Stick – Episodes 2
We said in Episode # 1 that Jodie Nicholson’s first ever published piece, Vajazzle Me, wouldn’t be her last. Sure enough!
It’s now 24 hours since surgery to remove a couple of growths from my reproductive system. I keep saying vagina but that’s just where one of them decided to bungee jump into through my cervix. It became so large; I ended up with a mini penis. A. Penis. It became a running joke among the close friends and colleagues I told. Oh, you wouldn’t tell people you were packing heat in your knickers? Man, you are not living your life to the fullest.
But I digress. Just before the surgery I was told I would receive a call within 48 hours if the pathology results showed something sinister. So I am now halfway through the longest 48 hours of my life.
When I showed up at the Emergency Department a couple of weeks ago, I thought I had a prolapsed uterus because that is what my GP told me I had, which was magic enough. I had lived with it for three months until suddenly, it dropped out of my vagina about 5cm, the pain became excruciating and the blood. Oh fuck me dead, the blood. At one stage the blood loss got so bad that there was blood splatter on the walls of the toilet and a pool of blood on the floor. Fortunately, I’d watched enough CSI to know that the victim had not been shot or stabbed and the trajectory of the splatter indicated it had come from my vagina, like someone had stepped on a sauce bottle. In case you’re wondering, I’m single.
So I’m laying on the examination table in ED, being delicately fisted by a gynae when she breaks the news that my vagina is actually in great condition and that the prolapse is in fact a growth. That night I would have it described to me as a growth, a mass, a polyp and a tum-growth-we-don’t-know-yet. I was there by myself, furiously texting my sister (an ED nurse) and a couple of friends in a bid to quell my fear. I was now freaking the fuck out. Then the consultant comes in to lucky dip me and confirms that my vag is in fact a pristine wilderness, where everything is “high and tight” and in perfect working order (gentlemen, wink wink). She reassured me that the growth was probably nothing. Probably benign. Probably fine. She said “probably” too many times for my comfort. I was sent home with Endone and an assurance that surgery would be very soon but that if I had any issues to come back to ED asap.
Two days later I was back in ED. The pain had increased, the bleeding hadn’t stopped. My penis was giving me so much grief, and the stomach pain was redonk. Two more gentle fistings and this consultant did not pull any punches. “It has the hallmarks of being cancerous but we need to do an ultrasound and wait for pathology before we can determine exactly what it is. Unfortunately, we won’t know that until the surgery because we cannot take a biopsy.
Here is what’s going to happen during the surgery …” And then she drew a diagram showing where they were going to cut and insert a camera and cut some more.
I cracked jokes in between the tears because that is what I do. But I was terrified. And sick of being fisted.
At the pre-op appointment, I was once again laying there, with my legs spread, having strange devices and fingers roaming around in my vagina. Now I had developed an infection and the gynae organised emergency surgery for the following day, which was yesterday. So now I’m here, penisless and in far less pain, waiting for the phone not to ring. And every time a well-meaning friend calls, I want to throw the phone at the wall. I lied to my friends and family when I said I wasn’t worried about it. That’s what you do to protect others. My family has already had to deal with me saying vagina a thousand times so far in conversations and on social media. Having to tell my mother I had a mini penis was difficult enough, I can’t tell her I have cancer, and, in 24 hours, I won’t need to. I hope.
by Jodie Nicholson
The Stick – Episodes 3
Jodie Nicholson is the proud custodian of Australia’s most famous vagina-penis.
My penis was benign! I got the all-clear and although people expected me to be jubilant, I actually just felt significantly lighter, like the cement shoes I’d been wearing for years were finally off, which is great because it was a pain in the arse trying to put pants on.
I should probably rewind and fill you in on how this whole vaginal roller coaster began. Two years ago I left a miserable relationship, which was shortly after he attempted to take his own life. The following nine months went a little something like this: Colleague committed suicide, aunt diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, assaulted on a tram on my way home from work, started seeing a psychologist for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, aunt passed away, car accident landed me in hospital, emergency wisdom teeth extraction, stress from all of that leads to me clenching my jaw so hard in my sleep that I crack two molars that then also have to be extracted and, finally, my doctor thought I might have coeliac disease.
I was a complete mess of a human being, physically and mentally at that point.
But I put my head down and worked as many hours as I possibly could in a job that made me stabby but it was still a better place than where my mind was at when I wasn’t at work. Each morning, for about six months when the alarm would go off at 3am, my first thought would be ‘Is today going to be the day I smash my car into a tree and just end this shit?’.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t.
In February this year, I took my mum to Bali because she’d been full-time carer for my aunt since she was diagnosed with brain cancer, so we both really needed the break. I booked us a luxury villa and planned all kinds of wonderful, relaxing and fun things to do. I even arranged for my niece to join us for her eighteenth birthday as a surprise.
This was my first holiday in 11 years. On the second day, I developed an ear infection; on the third day I thought I had Bali Belly. By the fourth day, I was spending quantity time in the bathroom and it got worse each day to the point that I could have won The Biggest Loser in a week. So the staff at the villa sent me to the medical centre where I was examined and given all sorts of medications but they only cleared up the ear infection, I still had The Other Problem. On our second-last day there, on my 75th visit to the bathroom that day, the strain caused a very odd ‘popping’ sensation in my vagina. So I did a self-examination and discovered a bulge that I assumed was a prolapse. There was nothing I could do until I got home and I still had to do that with the most chronic diarrhoea you can imagine. So bad that I had to wear an adult nappy on the plane home.
I challenge you to clear Bali security checks, sweating profusely, unable to maintain eye contact, while looking jittery as all fuck and about to erupt like Mount Vesuvius.
I would have appeared less suspicious if I’d swallowed 20 coke-filled condoms. When they gave me a pat down before boarding, I honestly thought it was all over for the people in line behind me.
For the record, the nappy remained clean thanks to extreme clenching and positive thinking. But mostly clenching.
When I returned, I saw my doctor who examined me and confirmed my guess of a prolapse then gave me a referral to see a gynaecologist. I was also about to start a series of tests to work out what the fuck was going on with my health. I have had more blood tests in the past six months than I have had in my entire life. I’ve also had an iron infusion, B12 injections, gastroscopy, colonoscopy, pill camera endoscopy and several biopsies.
I tell you all of this because, as you can see, my life was bat-shit crazy for years, especially the last two, and with all of those medical appointments and procedures I was having, you know which vital one I neglected to get? A Pap test and pelvic examination.
That popping sensation I felt in Bali was actually a huge polyp dropping through my cervix. If I’d been getting regular pelvic exams, they perhaps could have found the growths much earlier and I could have avoided the whole penis situation. But I shall not bewail my previous health transgressions; all I can do is make a promise to myself that I will put my health and happiness first. Tomorrow I meet my personal trainer for the first time, so they can take this 1971 Datsun 1600 and transform it into a 2016 Aston Martin Vanquish. Actually, I’d be more than happy with becoming a 2003 Toyota Corolla.
December 13, 2018
November 23, 2018
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