The New M.E. Generation

I get a call from my financial planner informing me that my health insurance had been approved. That’s great news for me. I may have had a rough year, but I’m proud at myself that I got this matter resolved, especially when my annual gynecological visit was coming up.

I called the medical office to make an appointment and, as usual, there’s no immediate availability for any of the doctors I have met with before but until six months from now.

I insisted with the appointment setter that my exam was due and that I would take any open date.

“Well,” said she, “there’s availability next week with ‘Dr. H.’”
(Darn it! I know all the other ones in the group and there’s no choice but with one I have no idea who it is? So it’s either him or half a year from now. What it is going to be?)
“Fine, book it. Thank you.”

My appointment day arrives and I’m a nervous wreck, as always. I basically hate having to take my clothes off, wear a hospital gown, plus get touched all over during the examination.

What in a guy’s right mind would motivate him to become a gynecologist? I mean, you’re dealing with naked bodies of all shapes and size the whole freaking day.

And what about the births? You really need to have a thick skin to make them happen.

And another thing…(the doctor walks in into the examination room), who are you??
(OMG!!! My ob-gyn is a hottie!!!)
I’m trying to conceal my obvious facial expression of amazement, and his is of ‘oh, no, not again.’

We reviewed the usual health questions, and I kept looking at him throughout the whole conversation.

“All right,” said he, “let’s do your check-up.”
(Fine by me! Take all the time that you need.)

The examination felt quicker than in previous years and everything went very smoothly.

“Well, all done,” said he. “I hope there was no discomfort.”
(None whatsoever. Honey, you can keep touching me all that you want.)

My ob-gyn finished writing his notes on my medical chart. I’m still looking at him very attentively.

“Do you have any last questions for me?”
(Yes, like, are you single? If you are, what are you doing for lunch or after work, or the rest of your life?)
“Ah, nope.”

Dr. H exits the room and I remained seated on the examination table for a couple of minutes.

Damn it! I know what’s happening to me. I’ve been alone for a while and feel that I’m ready to have a relationship again.

But, am I feeling this because I’m alone or because I am really ready to take a chance at love?

I don’t know.

Only time will tell.

I’m pretending to be checking out the hair accessories and I’m wearing my sunglasses. I felt kind of stupid doing this (the glasses deal) inside the location.

But, hey, that’s the current fashion statement, to wear them whenever and wherever, even if you can’t see a darn thing. I hope security doesn’t get a wrong impression of me.

When I noticed the aisle getting cleared, I slowly, but surely, moved to the ‘adult’ products. Oh, my, I haven’t been around here for a while.

I started my research by examining the Femidom box (or female condom), and reading its content, which I found interesting and educational.

I also found other products marketed to women that really took me by surprise, not because I haven’t heard about them before, but because I thought you could only get those via the internet or an adult store.

Wow! I have really been out of the loop for a long time.

It is one of those things that I thought couples would take care of in a totally private way and not shared it with anyone, not even other trusted people. Well, at least that’s how I saw it when married. I guess it is now normal to let the rest of the world know that you’re about to get laid.

Moving on…to the male ones. And there are plenty of them to choose from. Question: How the heck do men know what to get?

And, if women want to do the same (get some for their man or just to have them handy when needed), how can you honestly make a selection?

I’m totally concentrated looking at all the different boxes and reading as much information as I can, that I was almost disconnected from reality.

I’m still wearing my sunglasses when I came to a sudden realization: What am I hiding from?

This is what the tide has brought in, that somewhere in my lifetime, as a single woman, I will be faced with the inevitable question: My condom or yours?

As soon as the lab guy left my apartment, I headed straight for the pharmacy. I was in need of some vitamins (not because of my hair raising experience), but was also on a research mode.

I get to my location and walk directly to the nutritional section. I’m looking for a female multi-vitamin and glance over all the different products before making my selection, when, one in particular, stops me on my tracks: Horny Goat Weed.

And what is this? I pick the jar and quickly read the label; “A sex herb or aphrodisiac that increases libido in men and women.”

Oh, I wonder if my ‘x’ was taking during this during my treatments. No wonder he was so ‘jumpy’ at times.

Question: Why is this herb placed so strategically on the shelf so everyone can see it, including children?

And speaking of the little ones, why are the vitamins and supplements right next to the baby section? Hint: Give this to your man and you might get pregnant.

All right, moving on to other matters, like looking for other female products, but of the adult kind. And I find them, next to the brushes and hair accessories.

Oh, I get it. You pretend you’re shopping for an accessory and when nobody’s around, you quickly shift to the other one and get what you need.

That’s exactly what I’m going to do (while wearing my sunglasses and trying to be incognito), and praying there’s a short line at the cashier. Or, even worse, running into someone you know.

What am I so nervous about? I’m not doing anything wrong. In fact, I think I’m being responsible.

Truth is, I’m faced now with a reality that in many aspects is completely new to me. I guess this is what life is as a single woman. Me against the world, with no one here to hold your hand.

My mind is still drifted away to another time and I’m feeling sad. The technician probably interpreted my facial expression as that of lack of courage to ask him a question about the content of the pamphlet, and makes an additional comment about the current topic under discussion (the ‘s’ word).

“Remember,” he said, “that you must never share needles, and always wear protection.”

“Oh, like him using a condom.”

“Yes, but also you, like the female version of it.”

The female condom? Oh, yeah, I heard about it a long time ago, when I way married and didn’t pay much attention because I thought it was not that important.

And here I am now making a totally moronic comment about such a serious topic. How ignorant of me for not learning about it, assuming my married life would go on uninterrupted. Now that’s a sad reality check.

My mind is still analyzing all that I’m swallowing when I finally make a (hopefully not moronic) question:

“So it doesn’t matter if I have intercourse with multiple partners, as long as they or me wear protection, I’m safe, right?.”
(Did I just ask that? What am I saying? I haven’t gone to first base with anyone and I’m shooting for a home run?)

The technician was looking at me with a face of ‘in what planet have you been all these years?’ and spoke the enlightening quote that summarized the moment:

“Whatever you decide to do with your life, you need to put yourself first.”

Wow! That’s deep, but very true. I spent so many years doing the opposite because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do.

In a certain way, yes, I was living in a different world. I gave up so much of myself to the point I didn’t recognize who I was any more. And in the end (what’s his name) left me simply because ‘he was not happy.’

Analyzed in another way, he put himself first, not the marriage or me, and when the going got tough, the tough got going.

“Done,” said the technician in regards to the lab report. “If the results pinpoint to anything, you’ll be surely hearing from us.”

I hope this is the last I hear from you. This ‘quickie’ sex education class is about to give me high blood pressure.

“Thank you so much,” I said to him. “Bye.”

I’m glad the lab guy is gone.

I need to go shopping.

I can’t remember what else the technician asked me after the ‘preggie or not’ question. I was still getting over it when shocker #2 of the day occurred: he hands me a pamphlet about HIV/AIDS.

(Whoa! That I wasn’t expecting, getting this pamphlet that is.)

“You knew the blood test also included this, right?” asked he. (Ah, no.) I didn’t need to give him an answer; my face said it all.

“Feel free to ask me any question,” said he while continuing to fill out the lab report.

I was still speechless. I started reading the pamphlet and my mind had a quick flashback 15 years back when my then fiancé and I were applying for a marriage license. To get it, we had to undergo a medical test, which included that for HIV.

When the clerk at the Registry told us, we instantly looked at each other like we had just gotten frozen in time, and stayed like that for a minute or so.

It was an ‘out of body’ moment in which two people are about to get married to each other, but felt more like you’re about to ‘tie the knot’ with a total stranger you know nothing about.

The silence finally got broken when my former ‘significant other’ said, “We’re still going to get married no matter what happens, right?”

“Yes.” (I think my ‘yes’ when he proposed was more assertive.)

Yep, a lot did happen while married: the good, the bad and the very ugly. And, unfortunately, all the bad eventually outweighed the good, to the point that there was nothing to be possibly done to salvage it, no matter what.

I’m finally meeting with the lab technician; he came to my apartment to perform a blood test for my life insurance.

I hate needles and my blood being drawn. I saw plenty of that during my surgeries and fertility treatments. There was a time when either one or both was always scheduled, and I just couldn’t wait for the day when all of it would be over.

I approached this test the same way I did before, by closing my eyes and trying to think about something nice, but I couldn’t, like I used to.

All I could think about was all the time, effort and money wasted in trying to have a baby. And in the end, what did I get out of it? Nothing. Or maybe the first of many disappointments that lead to the inevitable break-up of my marriage.

The technician finished drawing the blood and started filling out the lab report, and to complete it, he needed to ask me some questions.

“Do you smoke?”

“Do you suffer from any heart or lung conditions?”
“Same as before.”

“Have diabetes or similar conditions?”
“Copy that.”

He kept going and going, and I was answering ‘no’ to everything before he even finished asking the question.

I’m getting bored. When is this going to conclude?

“Are you currently pregnant?”
“WHAT?? NO!!!” (Is he serious about what he just asked me?)
“Positive that it is a negative.”

(This is not happening to me.)
“Dude, I’m divorced…”
He gives me look of ‘so?’ (Is he for real??)
“I’m not having a child out of wedlock…or on my own…”

The technician looked at me again, but now with a ‘poker face’ of, ‘why are you telling me this?’

Yeah, why am I saying this? I mean; I can’t have kids, so why am I making a decision on something that will never happen?

Or is it perhaps that somewhere deep in my heart I’ve never fully accepted it, despite what the doctors said and all that I went through, and I’m still thinking there’s a slight window of opportunity that it will happen in the future?


But definitely not by myself.

I hung up with my brother and then had to call my mother to gather some additional information for the life insurance application.

“Mom, what age did dad have when he passed away?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know?? Weren’t you married to him for over 10 years?” She doesn’t give me an answer. “OK, let’s try this another way. How much older was dad to you?”

“No more than five years.”

“So based on your current age of (60 something), we can then assume that he was (somewhere in his 70’s).”

“But I’m younger than that age you said.”

“Mom, didn’t you have me at 28?”

“No, 26.”

“Mother! I’m not picking numbers here to play the lottery’s million-dollar jackpot. I need accurate data.”

The only thing missing here was to have asked my mom what my real birth year was. I mean, everyone tells me I look younger than the actual age I have (or believe to have). I’m wondering if something funny happened on the way to Demographic Registry when my brother and I became part of this world.

I took a long, deep breath. My agent was still sitting patiently (bless her!) and I gave her a look of ‘bare with me here, please.’

“All right mom, let’s give this another shot. How old are you now?” (She gives me an age.) So, aiming for the perfect score, let’s add five more years, which means that dad’s age at the time of his passing was this (I give her the number), right?” She approved over the phone. “Thank you. Bye!”

I looked at my planner with a face of ‘finally, mission accomplished.’ She then explained the next step in the process.

“You have to undergo a blood test to make sure you don’t have a medical condition or something that could affect the insurance.

A lab technician will be contacting you in the next few days to set up an appointment, and will come to your apartment for the testing.

If the results are satisfactory, you should be covered sooner than later.”

Sounds easy enough.

Great, things still moving forward. If only the rest of my life would run as smoothly as this.

I met for a second time with my insurance agent, and now financial planner, to discuss options for investing my money. I’m not that quite ready to get into too many things at once, so I decided on a life insurance/retirement plan that has the flexibility of withdrawing money if necessary.

I also decided on having my only brother as the sole beneficiary. I called him during my meeting to get some information from him, as well as to give him ‘the good news.’

“Hey, I’m getting life insurance and you’re the beneficiary,” I said to him.

There was dead silence from the other end of the line.

“Look at the bright side. If anything happens to me, all the money goes to you,” I added. “My agent is taking care of everything and will contact you directly in case of anything.”

More ‘dead silence’ over the phone.

“Thanks for letting me know…” is all my brother could say.

“Maybe I should forward you a copy of my policy.”

“Yes, you probably should…”

“Great! Talk to you later. Bye!”

Poor him, I completely caught him off guard. I had managed to get my agent speechless a few days back and now him.

It’s funny though to think I feel quite happy for getting life insurance. Wonder why?

“What information do you need?” I asked my insurance agent.

“Just a quick overview,” she answered.

Fine. Here goes my story. Ready?

Started seeing a specialist, got into treatment, then became pregnant with an entopic, had to eventually terminate it. Tried again, didn’t work.

Then gave IVF a shot, did one treatment, got pregnant with twins, miscarried three months later. Went for a second round, but the frozen embryos were no good, so no attempt at conceiving again was possible.

Some time later I tried with another IVF clinic. That didn’t work out either, and that was the end for me. I decided I was not going to pursue this any further.

Oh, and there were all those surgeries, about two per year for multiple reasons. Heck, if I could have accumulated miles for each one performed (like in credit cards), I would probably be now eligible to have one for free at any hospital of my choice.

That’s it. Anything else you want to know?

I said what I needed to say and my agent had a face of ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’ And I had touched ‘only the surface’ on the matter. Telling my experience has left many others speechless in the past, and it happened with her once again.

But my past is not the real issue here. My present health ‘affairs’ is what needed to be discussed.

“Listen, I’m divorced, not involved with someone right now, and definitely will not shoot to have a child with anyone while single, or by myself regardless of whatever alternatives there might be today for women like me.

It’s just me here, that’s all,” I concluded.

She then gave me a look of ‘I totally understand.’ She then shared with me that she is also divorced and all the difficulties faced throughout the years as a single mother.

That perhaps I should take my situation as a ‘blessing in disguise,’ meaning that there is a reason why all this happened and that, sooner or later, I will figure that out.

The agent finished filling out all the necessary paperwork and gave me her business card. I noticed something very interesting.

“You’re also a financial planner?? I’ve wanted to work with one for some time. When can we meet again?”

Goody, moving forward, finally.

et cetera