The Harmless Thoughts of a London Gynecologist

He wipes the labia dry with a ball of cotton he’s secured in dressing forceps, sponges it dry, then exchanges the forceps for the speculum, then introduces the bivalve speculum with his right hand ensuring that its edge is enough to the side to miss the urethra. With his left, he separates the labia and depresses the perineum with his first finger. He carries the speculum further toward the upper part of the vagina, applying pressure, wary of the pubic arch, cooing, “Be a good girl now Mrs, Mangrum, don’t resist me, relax now Mrs. Mangrum, relax and I won’t hurt you.” Directing the pressure against the perineum, he feels it yield, saying, “Just a little bit more now, there, that’s a girl; once we’re finished we’ll make you a virgin again,” and once it has yielded sufficiently, that is, once he is able to turn the bivalve Graves transversely so that he can modulate the blades and open the cervix to satisfactory proportion, he turns once again to his tray.

He selects from the three pair of uterine dressing forceps, deciding on the curved. He fools with the cotton swab, as if suddenly distracted, for the filaments of fiber stick to the fingertips of his rubber-gloved fingers, and he holds their tips to the light, blowing against these stray cotton fibers as if wanting to watch them dance, then returns to the procedure. With the cotton now secure in the dressing forceps, Delk cleanses the wall of the vagina, first posteriorly, then anteriorly, then laterally—daring her to flinch.

And flinch she well might, for he’s made a dreadful, careless error:  the walls have fallen lax about the blades he’s inserted, forming a duplex of skin.

Yes, he can see what has happened. A small gouge, a nasty matter. If she moves so much as an inch—Well, suffice it to say the flesh about the tip of the blade is papillaed,  it’s getting badly inflamed in a hurry, and each time she shifts her weight she advances the point still deeper.

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