I Break For Kegals!
**WARNING: If you are a man, do yourself a favor: DO NOT READ this post!**
We had two "well-check" appointments today.
One in the morning for our three year old daughter and
One in the afternoon for my thirty-something-year old old me.
At the first appointment for my daughter, I was struck by the growing length of questions,
nearly bordering on interrogation. Perhaps one could argue my defenses arose at the "less than one hour of television on any given day?" query (and therefore heightening my sensitivity due to the fact that just the other day we had a "Curious George" marathon without trying it because it was just one of those days, and if we have them, I don't feel beholden to check in and confess to our pediatrician). Upon being questioned as to the nature of all these new questions, the nurse did explain why they do it, but I still did not like it.
Later in the day came the second appointment. For me.
This was the annual mecca to the Valley of the StirUp, in which I have faithfully subjected my pride to for many years. At this point, however, pride has no bearing for nearly all the doctors/nurse practitioners at this practice have seen me in various (ugly, unflattering) stages of pregnancy and/or labor and delivery, so they could host a party at the end of the table during my pap and I would only ask them to pass me the nachos. However, since it's been two years since I've given birth, I am not the old familiar face anymore.
I am barely a memory represented by one of the many bulging medical files.
As I sat in the little examination room with canvas portraits of happy families and naked newborns cradled in the hairy hands of their father, the basic pre-exam questions posed by the middle-aged nurse began. Being as though I have sat under this line of question countless times before, I almost caught myself trying to beat her to it with my answers. Not annoying in the least, I am sure.
"Any allergies, recent surgeries or medications?"
"Never cared to."
"Still taking your daily multi-vitamin?"
"Sure" (fingers crossed)
there it was.
The surprise curveball:
"Performing your Kegal excerisizes on a daily basis?"
A strange and yet familiar uncertainty trickled over my conscience, not completely unlike when the
priest dental hygienist asks me in a guilt-laced voice if I floss regularly, but this strayed into something more. It hovered in ballpark of 'the awkward birds and bees discussion' one has with one's parental figure.
And so I did what comes naturally to me in awkward situations.
I made it more awkward by trying to be funny.
"Yup. My clock is set for every day at high noon!".
The nurse did not crack a smile, which made the mood in the shoebox-sized room even more delightful than it already was.
She gave me pert instructions to remove all clothing, with the exception of my socks. I could at least maintain dignity by not exposing my chipped toenail polish. I followed instructions and sat there in my gown that 'ties' in the front (why the heck even bother? What purpose do those ties really serve except to further distort what little there is to peek through?), surveying my surroundings. My eye caught the three counter-top brochures they had available for the bored patient. The first was an overview of their practice, the other was titled "When Is It Time For My Daughter To Schedule Her First OB-GYN Appointment". This pressing question of the ages and it's detailed response seemed fitting for such a place, as had the first. But then, the third brochure was what should have sent red-flags a wavin' had it caught my eye when I came in.
Published recently (circa 1995), and tantalizingly worded and illustrated was this bright piece of irresistible literature:
Inside it assured me that a weak pelvic floor is not a plus for a woman who has a hearty laugh, prone to sneeze or has any hope to remain a desirable lover. But fear not! A Kegal a day keeps the leakage (and lackluster love-making) at bay! And in case the reader was still not biting, it was quick to remind that doing Kegals was a most economical form of excerize: "Kegal excerises don't require special clothing or equipment." Really? I'm quite sure I saw panties advertised recently that came with a built-in buzzer to remind you of your daily chore of successive squeezes.
"Remember", it gently encouraged (with water-painted illustrations), "You can do Kegal exercises anywhere and anytime! You can do them while you work, while you do chores, while you wait in line, when you're driving, and while you're relaxing at home". As every roadblock to arguing against the Kegal evaporated into thin air, I nearly wept with repentance at my flippant answer given to the nurse. Besides, far be it from me, the woman who only recently learned that she can not run (or laugh. or sneeze. or swoop.) at great speed without being 'compromised', to eschew such an easy exercise!
As an added bonus, there was a handy chart provided to me to personalize and post by my kitchen sink as a reminder to squeeze the 'great divide' as I scrub.
Since, as advised in the above illustration, it might take a few months to notice an improvement, I feel I should notify all friends and family that if you should be, say, talking to me on the phone as my mid-day scheduled Kegal exercises approach and I begin emit a an occasional grunting noise...or perhaps you see me at the stoplight in my minivan with a straightforward look of concentrated determination and a twitching jaw...or drive past and see me walking with an odd limp behind my lawn mower...please understand that I am not trying to be rude. I'm just a woman on a mission to have a rockin' set of Pelvic Floor Muscles, for next year when they ask, I will be prepared for the interogation.
PS.I find it fitting that earlier this week, my dear friend emailed me this:
*My apologies to any die-hard Kegal fans out there and to anyone who needs a mental shower after reading this post. A full-refund is not available. Sorry.