The Harmless Thoughts of a London Gynecologist

He determines the thickness of the wall by picking it up with his fingers and bringing his fingers close together beneath it. “That’s a promising sign, wouldn’t you say, no resonance in the flanks?”

“So far so good?”

He seems surprised by the sound of her voice, though both understand what’s just happened: He’s given her a turn to speak to prove, with him, she’ll have to take it.  “So far so good, Mrs. Mangrum.”

He helps her down, directs her to the chair—oh yes, the chair, it’s never been out of her mind–feels the slightest hint in her hand of stubborn resistance. Both of them know what comes next, so, as he adjusts the muffs to the back of her neck, he says, “That’s comfy now?”

“The stirrups are cold as ice, Doctor.”

Well he’ll certainly have none of that. How can he? “Knees up, Mrs. Mangrum. Knees up, if you please. That’s right. A little wider.”

Turning now to his instruments, he leaves her there. Unprovocative, cruelly spread.  How better than this to explain who she’s with:  He can look at another man’s woman or not, as he chooses. He can hurt a woman in ways any other man wouldn’t dare to.

She follows his eyes now, unsure of what he’s seeing. His instruments are neatly arranged in rows on a coarse cotton towel. A Graves speculum, a catheter, three pair of uterine dressing forceps,  tenaculum forceps (to catch the cervix if he needs a keener view), and beside them, at the end of the top row, a bivalve speculum, which has two blades you introduce closed and then open by a device at the handle.

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