Who Invented This Torturous Device?


This is exactly what I was thinking as I was enduring my second pap in as many months. To back up a great deal I had a partial hysterectomy 6 years ago. I still have my ovaries and cervix. Don't ask me how they pull that one off, I just imagine it floating around in there. Up till now my paps have been normal. Last year my test came back with glandular cells present. I was also having severe menstrual type cramps. I can only say 'type' because it's impossible to have cramps without a uterus, right? But I was in so much pain I had to drop out of my exercise club and spent a lot of time on my bed in the fetal position crying. I swore my uterus had grown back. But after an ultrasound nothing unusual was found.

This year same thing; glandular cells found. I see a nurse at my clinic and she wanted me to see a doctor to have a colcoscopy done. This is a fancy word for a pap with more digging and pain. The doctor explained that these types of cells are only present in a woman with a uterus. See.....I told you it had grown back. In talking with a gyno the doctor was told that is might be possible that a small piece of uterine tissue was left behind during my hysto. Aahhhhhh, I said, that would make sense of the cramps.

The second pap with fairly quick but far from painless. I saw the tools dumped out on the tray. They were long and huge. They looked like something you would use to fix your car. At one point she rammed something inside my cervix, I think it was like a 5 foot long swab, or a dagger, I'm not sure. And then to top off the whole fun experience, a student nurse was present. As the doctor would do something, she would invite the nurse to take a look. See....we can tell by looking at the (doctor talk) that she has not gone through menopause yet. And oh, looky here, this looks normal.

After all the poking, twisting, stabbing, pinching, and peeking in my nether regions I felt I had been violated. I would rather endure 10 mammo's than one pap any day.

But then it got me to thinking about how the speculum came about and who invented it. I'm sure it has advanced some since it's first design but it sure doesn't feel like it. It was invented by J. Marion Sims even though some evidence of this type of device was discovered in Roman times. Maybe he hated women because his mother gave him the middle name of Marion, who knows.

But this is where it gets a little creepy. Before he actually invented the speculum, he operated on 3 slave women from 1845-1849, suffering from vesicovaginal fistulas, a condition caused by hard labor. He operated on these women without anesthesia, one of them possibly 30 times. Only after he had perfected this surgery did he move on to Caucasian women, using anesthesia. This is when he devised the speculum to gain proper exposure. Yea, thanks Marion. He named it the Sims Speculum.

He went on to do good things though. He founded the first woman's hospital in New York and then when the hospital argued with him about accepting cancer patients (he wanted to), he went on to found the Memorial Center for Cancer and Allied Diseases. He has a statue honoring him in Central Park.

So now you know more about speculums than you wanted to and we should all say a thank you to Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy for the pain they endured for the betterment of surgical procedures in women today.

Oh my test result? They came back fine and I won't have to go back for 2 years!!!!


Gina said…
Ugh...I had a pap done once where they had the student observer DO the pap, and it was beyond terrible...so terrible that the doctor had to swoop in and take over halfway through. ::shudders::

Thanks for the...history lesson. I'll have far too much to think about during my next pap now, haha.
Signe said…
Yeah, it would be a man that would invent something like that :D
I'm glad to hear everything's ok!

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