The Cost of Getting a Pap Smear (In Canada)


(All emotional upheaval calculated as a loss at my usual $22/hour freelance rate)


Clinic fee for processing blood work: $20

Fee for losing your provincial health insurance card and having to get a temporary replacement document faxed to the clinic: $23

Time lost due to health card mishap (1/2 hour): $11

Annoyance at my inability to not lose important documentation (1 hour): $22

Total time spent worrying about potential awkward conversations with past partners (pending test results), spread over weeks prior to appointment (3 hours): $66

Heart-sinking feeling experienced upon realization that I will not be given a gown, and will have to walk the six feet between chair and examination table bare-assed in a tee shirt, with the doctor in the room (1/2 hour): $11

Self-chastisement over watching Vagina dentata-themed horror comedy Teeth days before appointment (1/2 hour): $11

Distress over hearing doctor telling me to “slide down” in the exact same tone as the predatory OBGYN in Teeth (1/4 hour): $5.50

Cost of yeast infection prescription creams: $20.22

Cost of 250 ml bottle of non-abrasive ladybits soap (“It also works great on your face!” —The Doctor): $7.99

Cost of congratulatory bag of chocolate-dipped pretzels: $3.99
SUBTOTAL: $201.70

Relief upon hearing that that itch is only a yeast infection. No awkward phone calls necessary (2 hours): + $44

Amount of prescription potentially refunded by health insurance: + $12.25

Amount of prescription actually refunded by health insurance because, let’s face it, I will probably forget to do the paperwork: $0

Pride felt for doing responsible, grownup health things (1 hour): + $22


TOTAL COST: $135.70


Alyssa F. is a freelance writer and designer based in Montreal, Quebec. She is the assistant publisher at Maisonneuve magazine and also has a blog, Unfridged. Follow her at @AlyssaFavreau.



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