When you show up at the office for your pap smear here are a couple tips for you.
1. The paperwork they make you fill out is not because they want to torture you. It has a purpose. Either insurance verification, change in health history, change in family history, or whatever, it is important and we do look at those papers. If you have questions about any of it, ask someone.
2. Expect to pay a co-pay. The girls at the front desk who are asking for your money aren't doing it to be mean. So don't get mad at them. If you have a co-pay and they don't collect it from you they could potentially get in trouble with the insurance contracts because your insurance expects the provider to follow the rules that they set out for you.
One of the fabulous things about president Obama is that he has made some healthcare reforms. A lot of insurance companies now cover well woman care (usually pap smears!!) 100%. Even if you have a high deductible it usually covers it 100%. Thank you, thank you for making this important health screening tool more accessible to women everywhere.
However, if your insurance plan hasn't hopped on board with this, or if you are at the office because you have a history of abnormal pap smears, then you may still have to pay a co-pay.
3. If you have to pee, leave a urine sample. I have no idea if anything will happen with it, but nothing is worse than going to the bathroom and then 20 minutes later someone telling you that you have to leave a sample and you can't. The medical assistants might look at you like you are crazy, but just tell them "I left one just in case the doctor/midwife/PA/ Nurse practitioner needed one."
4. When you are called back, expect to be weighed and have your blood pressure taken. This is standard. You may think it is to torture you, but we really do care how your weight has changed or not over the past year. This is another part of your well care. Do we need to discuss risk for diabetes? Do we need to ask about a diet or congratulate you on a well done job? I know you don't want to go to talk about your weight, but it is a part of your overall health, so suck it up, suck it in, and get weighed.
5. When the medical assistant looks at you and hands you a drape or a paper gown just smile. If your medical assistant hands you a laborlooks gown, jump up and down and scream thanks!! Just joking. Most offices have paper drapes and covers. The paper gown for your top half can either open to the front or the back. If you feel more comfortable with it opening to the back then just know when we do your breast exam we will have to bring the paper drape up and it kind of goes into your face. However, if you have the top with the opening in the front, then we can gently slide it to the side and still talk with you as we are doing our exam. The provider preference is to have it open to the front, but we work with whatever way you put it on.
6. You see those stirrups in the picture at the top. They don't have covers on them. Trust me... this may be cold, but much more sanitary. After every patient we clean these. When there are fabric covers you are lucky if these get washed weekly. So about 100 patients may put their feet on these before you get your feet on them. If you are worried, wear your socks! I always wear my socks...
up next.... what actually is a pap smear??