First, let’s get this out of the way: I am accident prone. Seriously.
So that said, and with the acknowledgement that the following post really IS TMI in content and is not for the faint of heart, please keep reading at your own risk.
I started my period the other day. I was happy when it was on time (because it hasn’t been, ever, since I’ve moved back to Kentucky and I was beginning to wonder if Florida was some special place where my period was always regular and the sun was always shining). I put in a tampon, like I do, and went about my day. But, see, the thing about periods, is that I’ve been having them and using tampons so regularly throughout my life that I don’t really think about it anymore. I just put them in, change them, get on with my life, no problem. So with this one, I could remember putting one in, I could remember taking one out, and I thought I could remember not replacing the last one with another one because the flow was so light that I didn’t think it was needed.
But I wasn’t certain about that. I was fairly certain. But not 100 percent certain. So when Lord Ormsby and I had sex that evening, I just took it for granted that I hadn’t replaced the tampon and that the only thing that would be keeping company in my vagina that evening was Lord Ormsby himself. I wasn’t worried. Not at all. I mean it’s hard to worry when you’re having multiple orgasms and can’t remember your own name.
Until we were finished. Because when I looked at the trash can in the bathroom, I saw TWO tampon wrappers. I didn’t remember putting two in. I only remembered putting one in and taking one out. Frantically I dug through the trash can looking for two tampons to match the two wrappers. I found only one.
Not gonna lie. I panicked a little bit. Checked all the trash cans in the house. Still didn’t find it. I panicked more… because if a second used tampon was not in the trash can, in my mind, that could only mean that it had gotten pushed way, way, way back in my vagina. I dug around in there as far as I could reach. I couldn’t feel anything, but you know, that’s still not the most comforting thing in the world because it’s not like I can just pry it open and look in there myself.
We don’t have a bathtub, but Lord Ormsby, who is kind of a MacGyver in that he can rig up pretty much anything, created a system in the shower stall so that it would fill up enough to maybe help me saturate that thing with enough water to make it expand so I could fish it out. It sort of worked, but I still couldn’t find it. He offered to create a speculum out of spatulas from the kitchen and his flashlight and look for it himself, but I declined. I’m cool with him MacGyvering a lot of things, and he’s good at MacGyvering up a lot of things… but I was NOT going to let him MacGyver my vagina.
This was a big fucking deal. Because Toxic Shock Syndrome is a BIG FUCKING DEAL. It’s a rare bacterial infection that can be caused by the extended wear of a tampon. It can be fatal, quickly, and losing a tampon in my vagina is just the sort of thing that would cause it. And I’m just accident prone enough to get it. And look… while I’ve accepted the idea that I’m going to die, eventually, of something, death by tampon is NOT what I had in mind. So I told him I wanted to go to the ER or Urgent Care the next day to have them look for it.
Except that night it snowed. A lot. And the next day the urgent care center that we normally go to was not open because of the snow. I had already slept very little the night before and I was sitting on pins and needles the entire day, obsessively reading about and watching for TSS symptoms. I kept pushing, I kept feeling around, I couldn’t find it, and I was convinced that it was stuck behind my cervix somewhere, compacted because of the fucking, and at the same time flagellating myself for not just pausing everything and double checking for it before I sat on top of Ormsby.
Now, the other thing you have to remember, is that Ormsby is a photographer. So the fact that it was a full moon with clear skies and there had been a big snow was a pretty big deal to him. He decided he wanted to go out and photograph it. He asked if I wanted to stay home, but I elected to go with him (despite the cold), because I figured if I was going to go into shock and die from this stuck tampon, I’d be better off doing it while I was in the car with him instead of home alone with my cat (See?? This is how my brain works.). That’s every recovering cat lady’s worst fear. So I got in the car with my gloves, three layers of clothes, and a blanket, and we went out.
While he worked, I sat in the car and searched for 24-hour urgent care centers that might be open. I found one and during a break while we waited for the clouds to clear, we decided to find it so I could get this taken care of. We stopped for dinner at Steak and Shake and then traveled out to the location to see if they could take care of the problem (and if there was no problem, at least put my mind at ease by telling me for sure that there was nothing in there).
Once we got to the center, I somehow had to find the words to explain to the woman at the desk what had happened. Not my proudest moment, because at 32, you know, I’m supposed to know how this shit works, but there you go. My stomach was also beginning to rumble. Like not in a, “I’m hungry” way, but more in a, “Hey, I’m thinking that I might have to sit on the toilet soon” kind of way, and you know, shitting on the doctor that has a speculum in your vagina while he searches for a lost tampon is not an experience I have had (nor one that I want to have). But I also knew that I could sit on the toilet right then and nothing would come out… not shit… not a lost tampon… nothing. So, feeling particularly secure in this knowledge, I filled out the paperwork and waited.
Long story short: they looked, I did not shit on the doctor, the doctor did not find evidence of a lost tampon, there had been nothing to worry about all along. Hooray. Relieved after a full twenty-four hours of worry, I was ready to go home. Rest. Watch TV. Be near a toilet. Maybe have sex again.
Not Ormsby. Nope. After we got out of the clinic, the skies had cleared, the moon was visible, and “going home” was a long way off. But what did I have to worry about? There was no lost tampon in my vagina. I was not going to get TSS. I could stop pushing. I could seize the day… or… er… night. Or something.
To be continued: