Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligory

ew, originally uploaded by medusahead.

I've spent quite a bit of time at the Baptist Women's Hospital, visiting friends and family members who have given birth in addition to my own baby jaunt. I've walked through the lobby scores of times, never paying much mind to the antique display cabinet I would pass on the way to the elevators. As my sister was busying herself bringing Dana into the world, we were forced out of the waiting area by making the mistake of leaving our seats to eat. It was standing room only, so we reluctantly camped downstairs in the lobby, and bored and antsy, I decided to join Lindsey's father in-law Jim who was staring into the cabinet with a mixture of fascination and horror.

The cabinet looks like an antique that would be kept in a formal dining room, except instead of fine china and crystal, it would house terrfying rods of steel and clamps and shiny metal protuberances that look like artifacts from a Cronenberg film. But they aren't for a movie. They are for your vagina. At least, they were. I'm hoping because they are encased in glass, these "various retractors" and the Bros. Sharp and Pointy have been retired from duty and replaced by hoo-ha stretchers that maybe aren't quite In addition to the slice and dicers , the cabinet holds a tattered copy of Grey's Anatomy from 1914 and a bloated, spinecracked copy of Woman and Her Gynocology from 18somethingornuther. I'm assuming this was used to bludgeon the patient into compliance once she got a look at the doctor's toolkit. I honestly can't think of things less creepy to help facilitate the birth of a child, and yet, here is a whole cabinet of them, proudly on display for every laboring mother to see as she heads for the elevators. Who says hospital administration doesn't have a sense of humor?

And the kicker? A sign taped to the cabinet announces that the tools are on loan... from the doctor that delivered me.

My poor mama. Happy Birthday, by the way!


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