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She looked over the goldenrod paper like she was grading it. Someone knocked on the door, and I was horrified to hear my doctor say, "Come on in!" Sure, invite the whole staff, why don't you? I want everyone to see me in my fabulous new Charmin-fucking-outfit!

"The rep on the phone told me her insurance terminated in December," said the same woman who had been sitting at the front counter.

"What? That's ridiculous!" I snapped, even though she hadn't addressed me directly. "I never miss a payment! I didn't receive any kind of notice or anything!"

My doctor looked at me with this sad, understanding expression, as if to say, "I'm sure you want to believe you paid, hon, but the reps don't lie." In actuality, she said, "I'm not sure how to proceed; if I should go ahead or if you want to sort this out first."

"Is this something we could have checked before I got all naked?" I shrieked. "Look, I'm sitting here in this toilet paper for Christ's sake. Just do whatchya gotta do, and if I end up paying more than my deductible, I'll deal with it. Okay?" I glared at the woman still standing by the wide-open door, offering every nurse and paper pusher behind her a glimpse at my revealing ensemble, and said, "Okay?" but what I meant was, "Close the fucking door!" It wasn't until much later that I realized I had given the diligent woman behind the counter the wrong insurance card.

I fumbled my way through the next terrifically uncomfortable 20 minutes, making unfunny jokes in a sad attempt to divert attention from what was really going on -- that some near-stranger was groping my breasts for lumps, feeling my abdomen for God-knows-what, and sticking all kinds of shit up my, well, you know . After a Dick Van Dyke--like tangle during which my left leg got stuck in the drawer at the foot of the examination table and, in my fight to retrieve my foot, I ended up ripping away most of my "clothing," I was left in the room, a used and violated wretch in tatters of tissue, to re-dress in my real-fabric clothes and head to the laboratory to have my blood drawn.

Once in the lab, I eyed the needle with gross fascination as it was plunged into my vein, and I said a little prayer to the gods of technology that, by this time next year, someone will have figured out how to decipher my cells with a microscope more accurately than any doctor can read my body with eyes and hands, thus forever after sparing me the humiliation of the examination table.

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