check her blood pressure

Thank God for the nurse

I went in to a family planning clinic to get a pelvic exam I had been dreading for over a month. I was taken to an exam room by a nurse (we’ll call her Mindy). Mindy took my blood pressure and checked my pulse. Then she began to ask questions about my family’s medical history, my medical history, immunizations, medications I’m taking, any symptoms I’d been having, questions, about my mental illnesses. Then we got to the hard part. The sexual history section. It started off easy. When was the last time you had sex, did you use a condom, are you still together, had I been tested for HIV/STDS, etc. Then she asked about my first time. I never know how to answer this question. I consider the guy I was with in high school to my first, but in reality, I lost my virginity at 14. I struggled to find an answer for her. Eventually, I reluctantly said 14. She asked if it was with my permission and I told her no. She asked a few more questions about it like was there emotional and physical abuse? Was I safe now? I answered honestly, and she moved on to the next section; reproductive health. Again, started off easy; when was my first period, how often, how heavy, when was my last. And then ‘have you ever been pregnant?’ to which I had to answer yes. She typed yes and said ‘I wouldn’t ask unless I had to; did you have a miscarriage or abortion?’ I answered ‘miscarriage’. I could tell she felt bad for bringing up some of my most painful memories. After another series of questions, she said 'I’m sorry. I have to put this in here; you were raped at 14, correct?’ I looked at the floor and mumbled yes. 'Ok. That’s all we have to talk about it.’

After she left, the midwife came in. She grazed over my abuse, told me I didn’t need a pap smear, performed a breast exam, then had me dress and talked to me about birth control options. I selected a method, peed in a cup and came back to have my blood drawn. Mindy re-entered the room saying 'guess who’s back!’ I smiled, relieved to see her. The midwife was nice and did a great job and I felt comfortable enough with her; but it was a really hard visit for me. It wasn’t just that I had to tell 2 complete strangers about things my closest friends don’t know about, but I realized that anytime I talked to someone about my sexual or reproductive health; he had to be a part of the conversation. He was technically my first and his will always be the first child I bore. And no matter what happens, I can’t change that that will never not be a part of my life. That hit me hard.

As Mindy drew my blood, she asked exactly what I needed right then: 'Are you ok?’ She knew it couldn’t have been easy for me, no matter how calm and composed I seemed. All she did was check to see if I was doing all right, but because she showed she cared and I wasn’t just some other patient, I was able to smile and honestly answer 'yeah. I’m ok’.

Torn 18
You can read past parts here.


Eric found Mandy in the infirmary working. He walked up to her just as she was about to take a patient’s blood pressure. Mandy was so busy checking the blood pressure cuff she did not notice her patient stifle a gasp as they saw the tall, angry looking Dauntless leader approach behind the nurse.

Eric grabbed her upper arm and pulled her out the door into the hallway.

“Eric! What are you doing?” Mandy started to panic when she saw Eric’s face. He was pissed and it showed in his eyes.

“I need you to listen to me carefully.” Eric’s voice was low and steady. He needed to get his point across to this woman. “Do not……Mandy…listen to me.” Eric grabbed her chin, as she looked away from his piercing blue eyes, to move her back into his line of sight. “You do not go near my child…..do you understand?” Eric squeezed her chin to get his point across. Mandy grimace as she felt his nails dig into the side of her face. “Do. You. Understand?” Tears sprung to Mandy’s eyes as Eric slammed her head against the wall as each word fell from his lips. Mandy nodded her head yes.

“Say it!” Eric’s tone was deadly as he moved closer to her face. He was just a mere inch from her.

“I understand.” Mandy managed to get out as more tears decorated her cheeks. Eric let go of her chin and watched as Mandy slid down the wall in tears. He looked at her with a hint of amusement in his face. Please with her response Eric headed back to your room. Mandy stayed seated on the floor against the wall as her body shook with sobs. It could not be over between her and Eric. She was not going to let it be over. Mandy gasped as her right cheek stung from a slap across her face. She looked at the palm of her hand and smiled as she slapped herself over and over again until her cheeks were flaming and red.

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