Words by Jené Gutierrez
Illustration by Erin Baird
So you’ve gone and lacerated your vagina. What now?
You won’t immediately know you’ve lacerated your vagina. Look down at your legs. You will see an alarming amount of B-L-O-O-D streaming down your inner thighs and into your boots. Later, you will learn this is because of the concentrated amount of blood vessels that comprise this delicate area, but at this moment think you are dying. Breathe easy. You are not dying. (Not yet, anyway.)
You still don’t know you’ve lacerated your vagina. The pain is a dull ache in the general area of your vagina and as you felt nothing but maybe a slight discomfort upon your bicycle crash’s impact, your brain’s argument that you are bleeding internally and probably dying is strengthening.
Call 911. It’s okay to hesitate since you have no insurance and hate to be a bother to people, but give in. You need help. You are, in fact, bleeding profusely from an unknown area.
Take the 911 responder’s advice and stay calm. When a woman walks by staring down at her phone, taking no notice of your predicament, consider it appropos.
Once you’re in the ambulatory vehicle, feel free to strip off your bicycle shorts, spread your legs, and exclaim, “DO YOU SEE ANYTHIIIIINGGGGGG?!” for the young male EMS crew, but they will not inspect or examine your bleeding vagina after this inquiry.
Expect to be asked incessantly by all medical personnel the date of your last menstrual cycle and if you’re pregnant. Guffawing “MY SEX LIFE IS THE PITS RIGHT NOW” will not put these questions to rest.
Once you arrive at the hospital, no one will be lining up to get their faces near your vagina. That’s okay. Your vagina is good at waiting.
Opportunities to talk about your vagina in this much detail are rare. Take full advantage. Some of the medical personnel might think you are modest and don’t want to discuss your vagina’s details and history. Surprise them by divulging information about your vagina with chutzpah, as you love your vagina, are not ashamed of it, and want to make sure she gets the best care possible.
Eventually you will need to pee. Shuffle over to the nearest bathroom down the hall. This will be a slightly uncomfortable experience. After you get up from the toilet, look down into the bowl. Think for a second that something was murdered in there. No need to be alarmed. It was just your vagina expressing itself.
Your vagina hates Fox News. Tell someone to turn that shit off.
After a regular MD with long hair and a soft voice examines your vagina, discovers a hematoma, and determines the need of an expert opinion from one who studies human vaginas, continue to wait patiently. All questions will be answered in due course.
Call your brother. He will drop what he’s doing and come to the hospital because he is a great brother who loves you, vagina included.
After the vagina doctor examines your vagina, she confirms the existing hematoma on the outer lips of your vagina, but then adds that there is more blood INSIDE your vagina that she anticipated. She recommends anesthetizing you so she can suture you and get a better look. Nervous though you may be, agree to this minor surgery. You can settle your nerves by joking with the vagina doctor that there is a nice kind of freedom in being able to bleed wherever you want.
You will be a little embarrassed by it, but will have to admit to the doctors and anesthesiologists that you are a regular pot smoker who snorted generic Adderall recreationally before leaving your house. The nurse will ask you a couple of times if you’ve also been drinking because she smells the stale alcohol on you from the night before. “It’s SXSW…” you begin to explain.
Your loving brother will bring you greasy ass food from a greasy ass burger joint, thinking you might be hungry. You are hungry because you haven’t eaten since the morning (it is around midnight) and you can’t eat anything because of the surgery. Your brother will hold on to that greasy ass bag of food until he drops you off at home hours later, even though you were told to avoid grease and salt, just in case you might want it. In the end, determine that those post-surgical “rules” can go to hell. Take a few bites of that cold greasy burger and fries because goddamnit you just had SURGERY on your VAGINA.
After the surgery, you find out that the laceration extended into your vagina, and was properly sutured. You are told to avoid cycling and “pelvic thrusting” aka sex (no problem for you, of course) for six weeks. You will have to use a squirt bottle to cleanse yourself after using the bathroom.
At your follow up appointment two weeks later, you spread your legs for the attendant surgeon who exclaims, “That looks REALLY good!” Be certain you will never open your legs to that pronouncement ever again.
Three months later, consider publishing the details of your vaginjury in the online magazine you co-edit. You initially feel you are sharing too much information, but then you remember that your state’s legislature is currently waging an ignorant and dangerous war on women’s bodies and rights. Throw one more “vagina” in your piece for good measure. Vagina. There. Now publish the article with gusto. Vagina. ◥