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Where Troubles Melt Like Lemon Drops…

Emma French's picture

Where troubles melt like lemon drops

Gee whiz – I thought the last time I went to see a doctor took the cake, but I have just upstaged myself. That time I had booked a few sessions with a psychologist friend of mine, and was required to answer an exhaustive questionnaire detailing my mental health in order to be able to claim a sizeable government rebate for the cost. At one point, when asked whether I see things that are not in fact there, I took a deep breath and replied: “No…but my idea of what is actually there is probably quite different from many other people’s.” The young woman most tactfully wrote on my report: “Doesn’t hallucinate, but very spiritual”.

I am not much of a believer in the medical model (which is, by the way, thankfully a sentence likely to completely knock the wind out of the sails of any Medecins Sans Frontieres wet-behind-the-ears door-knocker charity hopefuls, in case you want a tip), so my being in the waiting room of a medical clinic on any occasion is not so much like being in a foreign country as being on planet Mars, and even more so on this occasion as I had never so much as set foot in this particular establishment before.

Half of me wanted to dissolve into yet another giggling fit at the ridiculousness of my predicament, but I figured that this would not inspire the desired result, which was an instantaneous consultation without the bothersome formality of having actually made an appointment. I thought it best to turn up the volume on my distress, which was in fact as genuine as it was expedient. I settled on a nice medium-level wild-eyed look, not too close to the deranged end of the spectrum, since I imagined that that could instigate a most undesirable amendment to my afore-mentioned report, should it be forwarded on. I leaned as close to the receptionist as I could manage, given that there was a counter between us, and told her I needed an emergency consultation because I could not remove my contraceptive device. She was wonderfully receptive and immediately scuttled off on a mission not only to do my bidding, but to find me an equally sympathetic female doctor, bless her socks.

It was not until I got to see this sweet medico only a few minutes later that I admitted it was not an ordinary case of a lost-in-the-wilderness contraceptive, if there is in fact such a thing. Nope – apparently her retrieval duties almost always involve wayward tampons. I liked the fact that she was from India because I felt she would understand about cultural traditions and ancient wisdom, and be very open-minded, and just as I had hoped, she wasn’t in the least bit lecture prone, nor was she too serious, nor amused to excess. No, it was a case of Goldilocks getting the porridge just right….

What the ****?

So…….I had decided to research historical methods of contraception and discovered that Casanova had enticed his proliferation of lovers to first douche with a 1:5 lemon juice solution, which zaps all sperm, and then insert the rind from one half as a diaphragm. This sounded entirely reasonable, especially since the size of a lemon is as long as a piece of string, and especially as I had had prior experience inserting conventional devices of a comparable nature. Indeed, I once told the inquisitive four-year-old daughter of a pharmacist friend who had just got me the proper rubber implement at cost price, that it was a trampoline for tadpoles; she seemed perfectly satisfied with this explanation and tottered off to ponder it.

I had very resourcefully and sensibly speared the lemon half with a tapestry needle and threaded it with waxed dental floss; my having managed to find an unflavoured variety was a great triumph as, quite frankly, I couldn’t see the point of having some horrid synthetic mint up my clacker – nor in any other orifice for that matter. Here I should point out, in case you want another tip, that this tapestry needle has been used umpteen times to thread a string on a blanched and peeled organic garlic clove for the purposes of treating thrush in a very quick, effective, cheap, chemical-free, non-messy, and altogether highly recommended manner, with the added bonus that you wake up in the morning tasting the yumminess of garlic.

Unfortunately, in the case of a lemon, I hadn’t counted on nature’s little cup getting jammed very high up and turning around so that its string was unreachable – a bad combination when one has a cervix with stronger than usual suction. Incidentally, I discovered my personal vacuum force upon my first experiment with a rubber menstrual cup bought from the US. I had to call a woman in Sydney for encouragement and verbal assistance with its removal, the usual squeezing of its base not being sufficient to prise it off. I became fairly quickly quite adept with this comfortable and environmentally friendly blood-catcher, though on account of my particular idiosyncrasy I do have to go right to the top to release its grip.

Wanting out

Anyway, this lemon was attached to me like a barnacle, and I was stuck between a rock and a hard place; the blunt end of a toothbrush had been useless the night before, the kitchen tongs were not a delightful prospect even with their rubber ends, and I might have done myself a mischief had I been able to locate the tweezers. I had eventually collapsed in exhaustion from over an hour’s frustrated foraging, having to be content to sleep on it.

After one valiant, ouchy and unsuccessful attempt with her speculum and forceps, the doctor was not very hopeful, and muttered something about possibly ringing her gynaecologist friend for further instruction. Thank goodness on the second attempt, fuelled by my quiet yet utter determination that this foreign body had to be removed NOW, she managed to locate the still attached tail and retrieve my naughty yet hardly ruffled little piece of fruit. Of course the whole ordeal was even more fun than having a pap smear, especially since I had already suffered exhaustive prodding and poking by my own hand.

It does give a whole new meaning to lemon wedge, but at least it wasn’t for the purposes of self-pleasuring. That would have been far more embarrassing, like the guy whose x-ray my hospital-orderly friend’s workmate was called over to peruse – a banana for the fun (whatever floats ya boat…), followed by a trying-to-retrieve-the-banana screw-driver – no, not the drink, the rigid metal work tool….shucks.

I only hope that when I next grace a conventional medical practice with my presence, it is not for quite some time, is for a very minor reason, and is a very dull experience indeed. Of course my nether regions are now quite inflamed, but it’s nothing that some delicious genuine 3% rose otto in jojoba, and a garlic clove chaser won’t fix… I am now considering the contraceptive pros and cons of a sea sponge soaked in a lemon juice dilution because at least it would be soft – and you can bet your arse I would add a string long enough to tie to the bed post.

Do you have any tips on – or funny stories about – using alternative healing treatments? I would love to read your comments!

Emma French


Anonymous's picture

Oh My!

Thank you for your sharing Emma. I have had a similar experience, only not with a lemon, with a sea sponge used for soaking up my moontime blood. It squished itself so far into my cervix that I couldn't remove it...lots and lots of far reaching and deep breathing resulted in its expulsion, but I've not used it since. Still haven't gotten around to sewing a piece of floss into it for easy removal. Your story took me straight back there. Hysterically funny! Thanks for the laugh and No More Lemons up your clacker lady!!! :)

Emma French's picture


I'm not surprised you haven't used your sea sponge since - they are so small it would be really scary to lose one! I tried one for my period too - after the lemon episode, so it had a long string (!)- but I found that for some reason it pressed on my bladder and made me pee involuntarily a little. So not being ready for incontinence quite yet, I decided to abandon the mission...

Maribel Steel's picture


Oh Emma, what were you thinking???
I hope that little girl isn't trying to catch tadpoles with some obscure piece of rubber...and you are banned from using lemons (or oranges!) in our house next time you whiz up a healthy juice...
Hilarious - so brave of you to a) reveal all to us here + b) to be so creative! Anyone for grapefruit? xx

Emma French's picture

Well, it could have worked with a longer string!

The funny thing is that my boyfriend at the time now swears black and blue that it was he who came up with the trampoline for tadpoles line. And triple ouch to grapefruit!!

Melanie Bates's picture


This is. absolutely. outstanding.

Kudos, love. And... no more lemons.

Emma French's picture

No more lemons!

Hello wonderful Melanie
I am so chuffed that you posted your praise - thank you so much!!!!
Incidentally, I went back for the first time to that same medical establishment I mention in the story only a few weeks ago - just a tad embarrassing...
Love to you!
Em xx

Sheila Bergquist's picture


I am laughing so hard I'm crying! I absolutely admire you for telling such a personal story. While I was half wincing in pain during parts of it, I was also laughing at the same time. Thanks for making my day!

Emma French's picture


I'm glad you liked my story - thanks for commenting. I have found it tends to make men blush as well as wince!

Emma French's picture


I'm glad you liked my story - thanks for commenting. I have found it tends to make men blush as well as wince!

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