The Dreaded Pap Smear

Earlier in the year I realised it had been nearly 2 years since my last Pap Smear (which is apparently an out-dated term, Pap Test is the preferred now. What do you call it?) and I would need to book in to get it done shortly. Of course I put it off. I’ve never known a woman who has said “Oh I am due to get my pap smear done, better go do that right this second!” it’s usually “Oh, I need to get around to doing that” but the experience is so awkward we just keep pushing that date back.

One of the main reasons I’ve been postponing mine is that I don’t have a regular doctor that I visit and it seemed really strange to have my first meeting with a doctor be one where they inspect my cervix. I thought I might wait and see if I had to visit the doctor for any other reason first but that never happened so I sucked up my courage and made an appointment. A local medical centre has a female doctor who specialises in female and sexual health so I thought, although awkward (for me), she would probably be a good choice to see. I made an appointment online and tried to prepare myself for the whole thing.

I'm so glad these aren't metal anymore!
I’m so glad these aren’t metal anymore!

I arrived to my appointment, got to the front desk and was told that the doctor I had chosen doesn’t actually take new patients and I should never have been able to book her. Regardless of the fact that I had been able to book the appointment they weren’t going to let me see her. Although the receptionist did whisper “Is it for a Mirena implant?” and I wonder what the outcome would have been if I had said that it was for an IUD.

After being told I couldn’t see the doctor I had researched I was also told that there were no appointments with any of their female doctors for that day. My options were to see a male doctor or see no one. Given I’d finally made the appointment I figured I’d go with the male doctor, how bad could it be? It couldn’t be any worse than normal, right?

I took a seat and waited for the doctor to call me in. I tried to stay calm and relax as much as I could.

The doctor called me in and asked me what I assume are standard questions but kept pressing on when my last test was. I don’t know if he didn’t believe that it was 2 years ago or maybe didn’t think I needed it yet but he asked me multiple times and at that point I was still fully dressed.

Then it was time to remove all clothing from the waist down (I kept my socks on!), spread my legs and let a strange man inspect me. It was about as pleasant as you would expect what is basically a plastic set of tongs clamped open inside you can be and then he made it even less so by proclaiming that there was a lot of blood and how that wasn’t very good. He then asked me again how long it had been since my last test. TWO YEARS!

At this point I’m getting even more uptight and the relaxing of my muscles just isn’t working. I assume he can see how nervous I am but then, the phone rings. Given we were in the middle of a procedure and the speculum was ‘in place’ I never thought in a million years he would actually go and answer that phone but… he did. He went and answered the phone while I just lay there, legs wide, in shock.

Unfortunately, the appointment didn’t get much better and it ended with him shoving a bunch of tissues at me telling me that there was some ‘stuff going on there’ and pointed in the general direction of my crotch. Because this appointment hadn’t been humiliating enough.

Once I had gotten dressed he essentially dismissed me from the office without giving me any understanding about what the issues with the test may mean.

I walked out of the medical centre and raced over to the nearest toilets where I shut myself in a stall and cried and tried to process what had just happened. While I gave permission for him to complete the test I have never felt this way in one before and didn’t expect to feel violated when it was over.

Fortunately, they were able to process the sample he did get and the results came back normal. I don’t know if I would have been able to work myself up to getting it done again so soon if they hadn’t been. It makes me wonder if this is a common experience for women during pap tests and is one reason why women fail to get them done regularly even though they are important in detecting abnormal cells and cervical cancer.

Next time I think I’ll investigate a gynaecologist so I can then be confident that it is a common procedure they do all the time.

Sarah

Review: Social Bean Cafe, Belconnen

Winter has been slowly approaching us and that means I’ve been on the look out for somewhere that will make me excellent Hot Chocolate at a reasonable price. Last year I was going to Max Brenner most of the time and while that is tasty it is also quite expensive. I don’t really want to spend nearly $8 on a Hot Chocolate when the feeling arises.

Small Hazelnut Hot Chocolate ($4)
Small Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with awesome foam art! ($4)

One afternoon I was considering Max Brenner but I had no cash on me and they have an eftpos limit so I thought I might give Social Bean a try and hoped that they wouldn’t have an eftpos limit. They’re a bit hard to find if you don’t know where to look as they’re nestled under a government department building but they are worth hunting for. On this particular day I got to the counter and asked about an eftpos limit and my eyes lit up when the answer was “no eftpos limit” and that is when my love of Hazelnut Hot Chocolate began.

Another Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with Awesome Foam Art!
Another Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with Awesome Foam Art!

I’m so glad I decided to give them a try because the hot chocolate is one of the best I’ve found from a cafe. Generally places that make great coffee tend to make mediocre hot chocolate but that is not the case with Social Bean! It is hot but not so hot that it burns your face off when you first attempt a sip. As soon as it is handed to you, you can sip it and it will be perfect!

There is a good amount of foam (and if you decide to have it there it will have some great foam art!) and it actually tastes good. So many times I have bought hot chocolates and found they just taste like warm milk. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that over the last month I have been to Social Bean at least twice a week for a hot chocolate. This is quite a lot for me!

French Toast with Bacon and Maple Syrup
French Toast with Bacon and Maple Syrup ($13)

Now I’ve raved about the hot chocolate for 3 paragraphs I thought I might move onto the food. After finding their hot chocolate very good I thought I might see how the food was. It didn’t hurt that they would serve me French Toast for lunch as that is a thing I do now, apparently.

The food came out quite quickly and was pretty good. Nice and syrupy with a bit of a crunch on the outside and nice and squishy on the inside. There was also a good amount of maple syrup to dunk my bacon into. For some reason I always thought maple syrup and bacon would be a terrible idea. I’m glad I decided to try it because it is so amazing!

Chicken Burger with Chips ($15)
Chicken Burger with Chips ($15)

On my second lunch visit I decided to try the Chicken Burger and asked for it with chips (an additional $3, the burger alone is $12) which came out as a massive mountain! They were crispy and fresh and satisfied my craving for chips for the time being (it always comes back, chips are awesome!). The burger was also well made with grilled chicken breast, bacon, cheese, baby spinach, tomato and aioli. It came out on a massive toasted piece of turkish bread that I couldn’t actually finish. It was very tasty and also incredibly filling.

Social Bean also do salads (I’ve had multiple!) and wraps and some great little cakes and muffins! I definitely recommend checking them out.

Not only do they do all of the above but they are operated by the Belconnen Community Service and work to get people involved in the community, plus they have ‘suspended coffee‘ where you can buy an extra coffee and someone else who needs it can come and claim it. It’s a great endeavour that I’m happy to support – it’s an added perk that I get all the deliciousness in return!

Facebook | Website
Social Bean Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sarah

Don’t be such a jerk – a rant

We were notified earlier in the week that there was a strike for garbage collectors and they wouldn’t be servicing our area on the normal day. There was a possibility that we would have to wait out the week for the pick up the following week. As such it was suggested that we minimise our waste as much as possible – you would think they would be trying to get everyone to do that all the time.

“By minimising the amount of waste created, people may be able to help their friends, family or neighbours by offering them any room they have in their bin to dispose of excess waste.”

image source: tams.act.gov.au

I know that some neighbours occasionally put a bag or two in our bin when we’ve put it out to the kerb for collection. We usually have space so I have no issue with that. I was pretty surprised however, to find that this week, when we may not have been getting our bins emptied at all, that a neighbour had filled our bin in it’s entirety before we had even had a chance to put anything in it. I can’t prove 100% who it was but given that our recycling bin was also half filled (on an off-week – our recycling is collected fortnightly) with a bunch of beer and other alcohol cans and bottles I have a pretty good idea. If you sit out in your garage every afternoon drinking and then put your empties into someone’s bin you become a fairly easy suspect.

I just don’t understand why someone would do that and think it is ok! I was pretty angry at the time while I tried to shove my rubbish bag into the bin and hoped that it would get collected this week. I would think twice before using someone else’s bin if it had been put out onto the kerb, let alone if it hadn’t and just wonder how much of a jerk you need to be to not give a shit about anyone else.

Fortunately, the bins were emptied a day later but, because of the material of the rubbish the neighbours had put in our bin (a bunch of plastic) and how much they (and probably partly me) had stuffed it into the bin it didn’t actually come out when the bin was emptied. So now we have to deal with their crap 2 weeks in a row, and hope it actually gets emptied properly next week. I will admit, I have considered dumping it into who I believe the culprits are bin and make them deal with their own rubbish.

My more rational self decided to move the bins into our backyard (previously they were sitting near the driveway) which is less convenient for us but it means they have to put in more effort if they use them. I highly doubt (but you never know) they would actually come into my back yard to dump some rubbish.

Have you ever had a situation where someone did something you considered incredibly inconsiderate, and what did you do about it?

Sarah

My Favourite Things – April 2016

Click to Join the Linkup
Click to Join the Linkup

It’s time for the February edition of “My Favourite Things”. A linkup hosted by Raisa and Eirene where you post about something you enjoyed in the previous month. I meant to write my post nearly a week ago but kept forgetting! It’s finally here though.

This month is all about cross-stitch. Earlier this year I started playing Stardew Valley and one day I stumbled upon Siri’s (yes, I did join Twitch just for her channel) cross-stitch work of characters of the game and thought it looked awesome. Although pixelart is quite easy to replicate in cross stitch I never really considered that people were making cool cross-stitch work out of video game characters rather than flowers and mountains and the usual stuff that is associated with cross stitch.

Geometric squares cross stitch
Geometric squares cross stitch

I decided to look into patterns but didn’t want to start with something too difficult and I ended up on the work above. The completed work ended up being 64 squares with 8 different colours and many different patterns. While working on this I realised it might be my equivalent of adult colouring-in for relaxation and stress relief after work. I gave colouring a try and bought some pretty markers but I found it really frustrating and it sort of defeated the purpose. With cross-stitch you can’t really go outside of the lines and if you happen to stitch in the wrong spot you can just reverse what you did easily and quickly. The most frustrating thing with cross-stitch, to me, is when your needle becomes un-threaded. “that’s your home, are you too good for your home!

I also used the time I was cross-stitching to start listening to Welcome to Night Vale again and as I got faster at stitching I was able to complete one of the squares in the same time as an episode. Night Vale is so weird and crazy and Cecil’s voice is pretty awesome and I really enjoy it but I tend to have issues concentrating on podcasts because I start reading things at the same time. I don’t have that distraction where cross-stitch is concerned.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer cross-stitch
Buffy the Vampire Slayer cross-stitch

Once I had finished the square cross-stitch I decided to try something a little more geeky and slightly more complicated (mostly where stitch counting is concerned) and went for this cute Buffy pixel/sprite work. As it turns out it’s actually a lot faster and probably easier than the other one! I currently only have Xander, Willow and Giles (no Faith or Tara, maybe I could create them myself) to go and I started on this less than a week ago.

I think what I love most about cross-stitch is that it’s a creative outlet without having to need too much artistic skill. Sure, when I start making patterns of my own I’ll need to have a bit of skill but really this is just a bunch of coloured crosses on a piece of fabric, not dissimilar to count-by-number colouring.

If you’re interested in keeping up with what I’m doing in the world of cross stitch I have 2 hashtags I’m using on Instagram: #SarahsFirstCrossStitch and #SarahStitches (strangely, there is a model who goes by the name Sarah Stitches and she also uses that hashtag, she has some nice pin-up style photos and photos of tattoos!) or you could just follow me for all updates on Instagram.

Sarah

Watch this space

Normally today would have had a blog post of a restaurant or cafe that I’d been to recently with mouth watering photos and the promise of delicious shakes (probably) but I didn’t have anything written up and yesterday I just lost any motivation to do it. To the point where I’m contemplating what the future of the blog is overall.

When I started this blog I wanted it to be like blogging of old, more like chatting to a friend than just some blog you read on the internet. It hasn’t really turned out that way though and I started getting caught up in promotion of my blog and increased views rather than enjoying blogging for bloggings sake.

I’ve been blogging in one form or another now for more than 15 years, with my longest standing domain (lazily.org – no longer updated) turning 10 last month but maybe it’s something I’ve outgrown? Maybe seeing the polish of other blogs and, in some cases, the lack of personality makes me wonder if there is room for us random little lifestyle bloggers who don’t have posts with lists and life hacks and whatever else.

This also doesn’t help on the food side of things. My city isn’t overly big and there are quite a lot of food bloggers for its size and maybe there isn’t room for this little blog. I don’t know if I should just ignore what they’re doing and blog about food and restaurants because I like those things or just stop doing them altogether. I wonder though, would I stop trying new places if I didn’t have the blog to update? I don’t really want to stop going new places!

So I’m not really sure what is going to be happening here, maybe it stays the same, maybe it changes or maybe it lies dormant. I’m  not quite sure at this point.

Sarah

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