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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday, December 16, 1981 - premature ejection from the sex club

Yesterday, Tuesday, December 15, 1981, between 4 and 6 pm, I visited the VD clinic at Cambridge Hospital. This is the story of my visit, examination, and some things I learned there.

I was embarrassed to be there for two reasons. The first having to do with a general sense of shame at going to such a place. There is such an attitude in society about this kind of health care. A sense of guilt. I must have done something wrong to have to go there. But that passed quickly. There were two people ahead of me. They finished very quickly. A man and then a woman. After I finished with everything, and returned to get my coat, the waiting room was filled with men. Half a dozen or more. And no women. The second reason for my embarrassment was related to having run out of clean underwear the day before. So I had borrowed a pair of women's underwear. It made me a bit self-conscious. But that too passed quickly. So now its my turn. The nurse, Ms C, called me in. She's an older woman, in her late 40's or 50's. Another source of embarrassment, to be examined by a woman. But maybe she won't be doing it. All my little anxieties get added up as we enter the exam room for who knows what. But I don't feel any dis-ease from her. She seems like an old hand at this. Since 1963, in fact. She takes out a roll of paper and puts a new piece on one of those exam tables with stirrups. She sits and I continue to stand. Am I going to run out or something?

Do you have sex with men, she asks. No, I reply, and why do you ask. 65% of my cases are gay males. They tend to be the most promiscuous of all sexually active people. They have the least knowledge about their partners. They have the most casual and frequent sexual contacts. Just women, she comments. Yes, that's right, I assure her. She doesn't ask any questions about animals, plants, or other objects. And nothing about masturbation. Can one get anything from masturbating? Let me see your penis, she asks, after slipping on a rubber glove. Out it comes. My embarrassment all goes away at this point. She is completely matter of fact, and probably quite unimpressed. One could see a lot of these things in 18 years. She has this piece of wire, about 8 inches long, with a little round thing on one end, and a loop on the other. This goes inside to get something for the culture. The little round this is specially treated to pick up germs. It smarts like a son-of-bitch! She must have put about half of it inside me. The end gets smeared on the surface of a culture kit. She puts a little pill in with it to absorb all the oxygen. This test is for gonorrhea. It must be done in the absence of oxygen. It takes a day or two to grow. The little plastic case goes into a second plastic container, a bag. The blood text for syphilis means a needle. Its easy to find a vein, but a little blood spurts out a slightly jagged hole. It stings a little. A friend of mine faints when he sees blood. He can't donate it because of this. Otherwise he's fearless. That's it. I've no other symptoms.

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