Approximately a month back, during early morning I get a call at my cell phone from an unknown number.
"Doctor, I have been referred to you by one of my friend who is your patient. I want to have a really urgent appointment with you today at Green Park. Can you please accommodate me into your schedule", said a trembling voice from the other side of phone.
"What kind of urgency? Something related to pregnancy?", I asked thinking that the most common reason of asking for an urgent meeting with me is generally related to someone being diagnosed with high risk of pregnancy.
She said, "Doc, I can’t explain over the phone, but please allow me to come today itself".
Sensing her tone which was pleading and nervous, I mellowed down and said, "Come over at 4pm to my office at Greater Kailash 1 of Delhi"
"I know that place, will be there without fail, Doc"
After my operative theater schedule, I came back to my clinic chamber. My office assistant calls at my desk, "Ma’am, you gave an appointment to this young lady who has been waiting for the past two hours! Can I please send her?"
"Yes, please" was all I could remark, and hoping that something must be really serious with her that she came two hours before time and just waiting for me.
There she steps in, somewhere in her early 30s, and visibly tensed.
"Yes Ma’am, how can I help you and what’s the urgent matter".
She quickly narrates even before taking her chair, "Hi Doc. I got your reference from a friend of mine who had undergone IVF procedure under your care, and is expecting her baby now. I have come today to discuss on a private procedure that I am thinking. Doc, I don’t know how to say this, but please I want to get my hymen repaired from you"
I had to hide my frustration. Frustrated because this was certainly not a medical urgency. Many a times as a doctor gynecologist catering to variety of elective IVF or operation procedures we also do accommodate and cater to urgent gynecology and obstetric delivery issues at Delhi, but giving a consultation on hymen repair is certainly not any urgent matter.
My team caters to hymen repair surgery on a regular basis at Delhi. This is a planned elective procedure, not an urgent one!
I then asked, "OK, tell me when you are getting married?"
"How do you know that I am getting married!" she exclaimed
"Well... that’s the commonest reason for hymen repair surgery coming to us."
"Yes doctor, my marriage is after two months, and I have gone through your web site write up, and I presumed that doing hymen repair before two months will be a safe bet, so I’m here."
I felt that she has really researched on the condition, what I as a gynecologist do, and thanks to the good reference from her friend whom I am treating that provided her a sense of comfort.
Irrespective of patient’s social and education status, often I find that many individuals are not aware about some of the simple stuffs about any disease or condition. And therefore I asked, hoping to understand about her awareness status on the common myths of hymen rupture,
"Why do you want to do this surgery? I hope you are aware that an intact hymen is no longer considered as a proof of virginity. In other words, one may be virgin and yet had a hymen rupture during her childhood days for reasons like gymnastics or sports etc."
"Doc, please, I understand it, but my would be spouse, I don’t know, how he will take it, I just want to repair my hymen."
Without wasting time, after review of her medical conditions, and bit of more discussion with her, I fixed her date for hymen repair surgery after two days. She tolerated the procedure well.
A small incident, and from this incident I’m reminded about many such examples of anxious females seeking our care and operative skills for their hymen repair at Delhi. Somehow the list is growing, for both domestic Indian and international patients looking out for gynecologist doing hymen repair. We see girls coming all the way from neighboring states far away from Delhi, Noida or Gurgaon, seeking our opinion and care, and with the additional hope for maintaining strict confidentiality. Sometimes one wonders, are we still so culturally backward to think that the only proof of honor of a woman is the few drops of blood on the bed at the first night! One talks on gender equality, but it does not apply to sex. Beyond the ethics, the culture, and the debates, one may also ask if doing a hymen repair, are we doctors not helping the patient deceive her partner. All I can say that it is their private life, and a woman’s own private decision. From a doctor’s perspective, it is gratifying to see change of an anxious face with worries of future to a face that is serene, calm and confident to make a fresh beginning.
What happened to the lady’s story?
After approximately three weeks she walks into my chamber and this time a visibly relaxed, calm and a smiling personality…and oh yes.., this time after scheduling a regular prior appointment :)