Down Under

I was pleased to have a side gig recently representing Spirit Health Network at their smallest, rural hospital . It was a pharmaceutical sponsored program about vaginal atrophy. Inquiring minds might wonder, “How do you get women to show up to a public program about a vaginal health ?”

Never underestimate people! The spirited hospital staff decided to host a Halloween themed Ghoul’s Night Out instead of Girl’s Night Out. They rocked it with reservations for 170, terrific decorations and a spooky themed, finger food buffet rivaling any Pinterest postings. A winery was on
hand serving one complimentary drink for a modestly priced admission. This all speaks to the forte of Spirit and motivated, health professionals delivering Health-U-tainment by creating memorable events.

In preparation, I picked dog hair off of my corporate black suit, because it was all that would fit. I scheduled plenty of time to drive allowing for road construction or delays. Dressed, doing finishing touches, I decided to try and revamp my hair style. I tried many variations, pinning, clipping, and

spraying multiple products until my mane was dull and lifeless. As, is my habit, I’d worked myself into a sweaty lather procrastinating away the comfortable space of my original plan. Undoubtedly, I have issues, too numerous to list.

In spite of myself, I got there in plenty of time. Where would you host a vaginal health work shop?  Hospital, private club, hotel? This was at the K of C, not KFC!  I’m not talking fried chicken – Nope-Knights of Columbus, a historically catholic men’s organization. The virgin Mary’s statue was right
at the door. Since vaginal atrophy can affect any woman late in life, I felt better. As guests poured through the door I knew I was in my element – lots of girlfriends, grey hair and comfortable shoes. My people!

My crazy voice of grandiosity piped up. (Silently in my head.) “Maybe being the eyes and ears on the ground is not the best place for you. We (the many voices in my head) think you should consider becoming a spokesperson for the product.” I smugly think, “Makes sense- grey hair, dog handler shoes and a post dated vagina.” Rest assured, the pharma company had a more dignified approach, flying in a brilliant female physician who was very polished, funny and approachable.

I started to mix with the guests to keep spirits high, until the wine started to kick in, for them at least. At one of the back tables I asked, “Did you all pack your binoculars to see the slides? There might be test afterwards!” Another group opted to enjoy their wine and each other’s company in lieu of standing in the buffet line. “Now, here’s a group that has their priorities in order!” To a more boisterous group deliberating on wine now or later, I encouraged them to drink up as part of the treatment to loosen up their vaginal walls.  One who had imbibed blew wine through her nose.

The physician really was terrific. She was an internist who referred to herself as a Woman-ol-ogist, clarifying her interest in the whole woman. She quickly reviewed some basic anatomy and then said, “If having sex is like having a root canal; maybe vaginal atrophy is the culprit.” I loved that!

Apparently she has a following of very satisfied patients who upon seeing her in the grocery will tease, asking where the Vagin-o-mins could be located? She credits a patient with that nickname for the little vaginal tablet. She closed her talk, reassuring guests that the thin plastic applicator featured on the slide was much smaller than the illustration. It was hilarious for those in the front rows where the probe appeared 3 feet long. It wasn’t nearly as funny for the binocular table.

In keeping with my professional interest I kept some quick reminders. I jotted atrophy/thinning, ‘ later scribbling the word “Plump” in my notes which made me think of Puffy, then Puff Daddy and then Slim as potential names for vibrators, but that’s another story all together.

Kidding aside, vaginal atrophy can create problems that often can be relieved.  Disrupted intimacy, embarrassment, pain, and urinary infection –like symptoms are often over-treated or misdiagnosed. Having the facts is important. Regardless I find that laughter even in painful situations can provide some temporary relief. Fact: Only 98 years ago in the USA a woman could be jailed for speaking about vaginas. It’s True!

If I became the Florence Henderson of vaginal atrophy relief, I would commission a riding coat with Pale pink and pomegranate sequins and Go Go boots of days gone by. I’d use Altoids to demonstrate vaginal tablet size explaining not to expect the cool mintyafterglow. I would be wildly confident, bodacious with a sparkle in the eye, a smile on my face and a
vagina ready to rumble.

5 thoughts on “Down Under

  1. Pam Kolter

    This may very well be my favorite, so far anyway!! ALL of this is true and funny and troublesome all at one time!


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