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- Tue May 26, 2009 9:48 pm
Nearly 10 yrs ago I was kidnapped and raped for 2 days. The man who did this had all kinds of speculums and medical instruments he used to penetrate me. He tied my ankles to his bedposts in much the same way one is positioned during a GYN exam. I have not been sexually active since this event. Every time I visit my GP I am reminded I'm overdue for a pelvic and told to schedule one. But the thought of undergoing an exam like that terrifies me. I can't tolerate the IDEA of an exam, much less actually submit to one. When I told a doc about my past experience and my anxiety, she did not seem to understand the extent of my fears and suggested taking Valium to get through the exam. I know that if I am conscious during the exam I will relive the torture I endured and I worry my precarious mental health will deteriorate. I understand I need to do this to ensure my well being, but I CAN'T go through the exam while awake. Can a doc give me anesthesia or strong meds so I am completely unaware of the exam? What kinds of medication would be appropriate? How can I convey just how much this kind of exam terrifies me?
| Debbie Miller, RN
- Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:26 pm
Your fears are real and I know the seriousness of it is often misunderstood. There are programs to help healthcare providers to better understand this kind of anxiety and trauma with its long-lasting effects. I would recommend seeing a psychotherapist, specifically to address the exam fears and possibly someone who could teach you self-hypnosis. There are childbirth educators who teach hypno-birthing and they are very successful with helping people get past their fears of pain. There is a good chance this might also help you get through this.
There are medications that could work as anesthesia, like what is used in dental offices to help people with serious anxiety about the dentist but the trick is finding a provider who has such supplies on hand and is able to employ this. Insurance would not cover it and there may not be enough requests to make it worthwhile to invest in this.
In the meantime, I would also seek a doctor you feel more comfortable with because of a sense of empathy for you. Schedule "meet and greet" appointments where you can just talk to the doctor. This should help you to know if the provider is understanding. It does not even need to be a doctor. A certified nurse midwife can perform the exam and you could schedule the meeting with her just as you can a doctor.
I am glad you are looking out for your physical health and I'm sorry that your mental health from this horrendous crime against you has caused you such pain and suffering.
Good luck and best wishes.