I had a doctor’s appointment last Friday that I thought would be quick. It was not. My doctor was running late but his nurse was not. She checked me in, confirmed I had a pulse, temperature, and blood pressure then efficiently parked me in an uncomfortable plastic chair in my doctor’s exam room without access to any reading material — not even a single tattered and aged copy of Sunset Living or Arizona Highways.
Whenever I’m left alone too long in an empty exam room without any reading material – and by too long I mean anything longer than 15 minutes past the appointment time – I spend my time opening all the drawers and cabinets, poking about to see what’s there. At thirty minutes, I start stowing things in my bag. Time is money and collect a wage however I can. Thus I’ve amassed a tidy supply of alcohol pads and latex gloves collected through regular visits to a notoriously tardy dermatologist in town.
This visit my poking about uncovered a neat stack of little booklets titled Diabetes & You: Your Guide to Living With Diabetes.
At 60 pages long, it would serve well enough to keep Dr. G’s alcohol swabs and latex gloves unpilfered for at least a while longer. Clever man. These kinds of glossy booklets are too fancy for the clinic to spring for so I flipped it over to see which drug pusher had thoughtfully left it for me:
Novo Nordisk – quite the public servants. Your country thanks you.
The start of the booklet was very reassuring. They had a couple of pictures of orgasmically happy folk who were “leading full and active lives.” No worries. Novo Nordisk and the VA will keep you healthy.
Then I got to page six: The signs of diabetes. Each sign or symptom was illustrated with a crude but appropriate cartoon. They all made sense.
Then I got to this one:
Now, I can fully understand the illustrator’s dilemma. How exactly does one convey the idea of “repeated vaginal infections” in a single cartoon without drawing something gross and vulgar? Inflamed genitalia is too graphic. What other choice is there than a disgruntled and itching woman?
Her face is perfect. Furrowed brow, angry eyes, gritted teeth, curled upper lip, deep frown lines, and disheveled hair. Isn’t that what every woman looks like while suffering from a vaginal infection?
There are no credits anyplace in the book so I’ve got no idea who drew “Vaginal infections.” I would love to know. And I would love to know what other ideas for this illustration were considered and rejected.