Monday, November 10, 2014

The Paper Gown Patient...err Princess?

I have a not so secret secret.  I don't like to go to the doctor.  I am horrible about preventative medicine.  I don't go to get my yearly exam except every three to five years and up until this year I had never had a mammogram.  I do go to the eye doctor every year because sight is very important to me.  I have to be able to read, also glasses are cool.  I go to the dentist every six months because I like to chew my food.  Food does not always agree with me but I do enjoy eating.  Eye doctors and dentists I have no problem with.  I don't have to get naked to see them.  OBGYN's I see no use for.  I'm done having babies.  Yes, I get that it would be responsible of me to make sure I don't have cancer, but nothing else gets checked every year for cancer.  My husband doesn't go see a doctor every year and get naked to check for cancer. 

Some years ago my doctor actually moved her practice an hour away.  I have seen her once in her new office.  The discussion with my husband recently when like this:  Vaughn:  You need to go to the lady doctor.  Me:  Why?  I feel fine and I can't get pregnant.  Vaughn:  Just to make sure everything is ok.  I don't want to have to explain to our kids if something happens to you, that I couldn't get you to go to the doctor.  Me:  First of all, I am pretty sure I was just there a couple years ago.  I remember going to the Italian place for lunch and shopping after.  Second of all, I am also sure our children are well aware that no one can talk me into doing anything I don't want to do.  Vaughn:  Please just call and see if you can get an appointment.  Me:  Fine.

 So I called my old doctor and she was out until February.  I took that as a sign that I didn't need to go, because obviously I'm not going to go in February.  It's deep freeze winter in February.  This didn't fly with my beloved husband so I called and got a new doctor. 

Now here's the thing with new doctors who happen to be in the OBGYN field.  You meet them naked.  I don't know about you, but I don't normally meet people naked.  I prefer to see a woman doctor because other than what they studied in school, a man isn't going to get women's issues.  I found a doctor closer to home that met my criteria and made an appointment.  I found the office and checked in.  (Side note:  My husband told me before I left for the appointment to remember that I laugh at myself when I get nervous.  I have no idea what he's talking about.)  When the nurse took me back, she took me straight to the scales.  Now... I have to take my shoes off, my coat off, take my phone out of my pocket.  Essentially remove any excess just to be weighed because I need all the help I can get.  So I say, "You know, I think it would make more sense to have the scales in the rooms because I can tell you for a fact, that I weigh less without clothes and obviously my clothes have to come off here." 

Once in the room and after all the preliminaries I am asked if I need to use the restroom.  Why yes, yes of course I do.  When I return I have to put on the paper shirt and cover up with the paper blanket.  So now the situation becomes horizontal or vertical with the paper blanket.  As I'm sitting on the table of torture awaiting certain doom, I am thinking that when the doctor (that I am meeting naked in paper coverings) comes in she will see my backside first so..I definitely want to go horizontal with the paper blanket so I can wrap it around and sit on it, thus keeping all parts covered at first meeting.

The doctor was very nice.  We talked about Women of Faith and had I not met her wearing paper, I think we could have been friends.  I think that she and the nurse were disappointed that visiting them rated below going to the dentist for me, as they said usually rate just above the dentist.  Chat time was great.  Exam time was uncomfortable as best.  After the exam with a bonus round that apparently is required after forty.  No, just no.  We must not speak of that ...ever.  I thought I was done.  No, no so much.  I need a mammogram and apparently it is a bit appalling that I have never had one at this age.  I was given an order and told to go where I wanted to have it done. 

All I knew about mammograms at this point, was that 1. I didn't want one, 2. They are apparently uncomfortable and painful.  I pictured metal jaws of life compressing what little bit of deflated nothingness I have left after nursing three kids.  I called on a Wednesday in October.  October is breast cancer awareness month.  I was sure I was going to get a reprieve until at least November.  They got me in two days later.  It was crazy.  I made it to the appointment and there were no metal jaws of life.  I was given pink beads on the way out.

All in all, it was bearable.  It is funny how our imaginations can make things to be worse than they actually turn out to be.  I still don't think these appointments need to happen every year, but I am not found of being a paper gown patient.  Or would that be a paper gown princess?

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