overheard in the vestibule.
dr. strangelove makes his preliminary (?) (not sure what the right term is) diagnosis on the basis of a very long and detailed patient questionnaire. because his vaginismus patients apparently spend an average of 7 years seeing other doctors and trying various things that don’t work, there are a lot of questions about your (that is, my) treatment and diagnostic history.
it was pretty fascinating to fill out this questionnaire, let me tell you (that is, you). it was so thorough and so well-designed. i have always appreciated a good instrument of evaluation. (my marathi professor wrote very long and meticulous exams and i really loved him for this.) (Judge me, O Lord!)
it was also fascinating because it is part of Ongoing Research. it was also fascinating because it was me. and because in answering the questions, i started to suspect that i was the textbook classic unambiguous painfully obvious vaginismus case. except apparently most people never learn about vaginismus in medical school or they learn that it doesn’t exist or something, so i guess there is no textbook case. if there were a textbook. when there is a textbook, they should totally model the case study on me, because i am the fucking quintessence no-pun-intended of severe primary vaginismus. and how grand it would be to be in the annals.
wordpress spellcheck does not recognize vaginismus as a word. and in this soapboxy kind of mood i’m in today, i could be angry about that. but it doesn’t think spellcheck is a word either, so. its opinion is worthless to me.
in 2008 i went to see a goddamn fancy-ass specialist in “vulvovaginal disorders” and he did check off ‘vaginismus’ on that sheet where doctors check things off—you know, those sheets where the maladies are listed by diagnostic code—but he checked off a lot of things. some of which seem to cancel each other out. appallingly unrigorous, yes, but anyway, he gave me the primary diagnosis of vestibulodynia. that is, pain in the vestibule.
worst. diagnosis. ever.
probably it’s obvious what a meaningless diagnosis or concept-of-a-condition or whatever vestibulodynia is. i mean ‘pain of the X’ is the reason you go to the doctor. (‘my good doctor, i have pain of the X. what is the cause?’) but the point i actually set out to make when i started writing this post was just that ‘vestibule’ is a very very funny word. and it gets funnier the more you say it. and it is funny (downright hysterical) to think about the man of science who looked up a lady and decided that she had a vestibule.
‘pain in the vestibule’ reminded me of the wonderful schreber. i remember—(in the translation i read)—he was always talking about the fore-courts of something. my BFF said it sounded like something from english as she is spoke.
on dr. strangelove’s questionnaire, when it asked about one’s history of vestibulodynia, i wrote: “I never really understood where or what the vestibule was.”
i actually do understand what it is now: it’s basically the lower/upper inside/underside of the labia minora. (depending on how you look at it!) not sure if there’s any medical meaningfulness in the vestibule being an official part of female anatomy or if it is just funny metaphor*—like, ‘that weird place you’re in before you get to the vagina’—but there is no reason i should know, because i am not a doctor.
or an architect.
(a google image search for ‘vestibule’ just made me realize how disgracefully ignorant i am.)
probably very few ladies or lady-oriented men have considered the vestibule. that is, the lady vestibule. that is, the vulvar vestibule—(though to me it seems like it should be called the vaginal vestibule, since the vagina is the thing it’s outside of—but i guess it’s the vulvar vestibule because it’s part of / made of some vulva?). probably very few are even aware of its existence. probably because it is not a very interesting or sexy place. but there’s a fetish for everything so maybe there are people with a vestibule fetish. (oh baby. your vestibule. it’s glorious. symmetrical. well-lit. i am so turned on right now.) and for sure the unfortunate women who have undergone vestibulectomies (!!!) (not enough exclamation points in the world) know that the vestibule has at least enough existence for it to be removed.
anyway, imaginary reader, rest assured that my vestibule is perfectly fine. and always has been. and thank you for suffering my consciousness to stream on about it.
* yes ‘vagina’ is metaphor but not so amusing.