Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Dreaded Yearly

My insurance just rolled over for another year. This means that I am having to schedule my yearly female exam. I'm loosing sleep over it. I don't have an issue with my doctor-- this is a guy that I know through a former nurse and he is great. He is 48, looks like he is 35 and he practices only gynecology and whatever this man says, I will do if I can afford it because I can tell that he takes care of himself.

The problem is the damned nurses. They say dumb things.

His former nurse was fine-- I knew her from another doctor. I'd go in and if I looked nice she might comment or might not-- I like to dress up so it's a matter of how I dress and she didn't notice unless I was dressed down or wearing a Republican shirt when I went to see the former doctor, an avowed Democrat, on election day and he and I would razz each other. In the exam room she'd say, "Tea. You've been getting these for years. Here's a gown (she'd put it on the chair) and you are getting the full exam? Use either your powers of clairvoyance or your past experiences to figure out what you need to take off. We'll be in in a second." I'd use my powers of clairvoyance and do what I needed to do.

What is it with OB/Gyn nurses now? "You look awfully pretty today. Is there something special going on?"

My response is usually along the lines of, "Thank you." They try to draw it out of me, like why I am dressed like I am is an issue worthy of their demand to know. I wear suits and business type skirts-- they look good on me and if I am going out I feel like I am "together." I get the kids ready on time, I get the house cleaned-- but who needs to hear that garbage and hear how dressing like I could run the universe makes me feel less dowdy? I don't need to tell the universe that my house doesn't get clean unless I am in 3" heels or that I accomplish more in 45 minutes with make-up on than I do in an entire day wearing sweats! Am I supposed to dress a certain way being a lowly housewife?

I must not look smart to them. They fucking get up in your face-- or is it just mine? and invade my interpersonal space and hand me the fucking gown and say, "Take off everything your panties, your bra, everything but your socks." If I try to avert my eyes from embarrassment, the perky little swine step in a wee bit closer and maintain eye contact. My fight or flight goes into effect and I am straining to keep from slapping them. I have to be nice to this nurse-- she is nice. I met her when I worked at a -Mart and she was a vivacious Black lady, dispensing great advice and just being a character. I said, "Forgive me for being so personal but where do you work so I can come absorb your ambiance?" She said, "I work with Dr. John ______!" She handed out cards to all of us that she had spell bound and I was like, "I know him! He was my doctor between babies 7 and then 8 & 9 but I kept getting pregnant!" They all laughed and she said, "He doesn't do pregnancies so he will never miss your appointment because he is delivering a baby!" Everyone laughed. And-- this man gives me chocolate. I have never had a gynecologist meet with me before the exam, tell me lame jokes during the exam, then have me meet in his office and talk with me afterwards. A gynecologist who gives his patients chocolate before the exam says, "I understand you. I understand women. I want you to come back." He knew I was a dark chocolate kinda girl but he had several kinds in his desk-- I told him when I was emotional about my dad dying and the chocolate kind of threw me off and laughed, "What was I saying?" He smiled and reminded me, "You were saying that you might need an antidepressant because your father died."

"Oh him." (We both laughed.) He said I was too easily made happy with the chocolate-- having no signs of diabetes or other problems, he told me to keep chocolate on hand for when I felt sad!

A nurse did the thing about getting in my face while I was in labour and I looked at her and said, "I'm not taking off my panties. I will take off my socks and my bra but not my panties. Dr. Lawrence just slid them aside for my last one and I was fine and just wore a pad and never got water or blood on a damned thing. Go ask him." I heard her tell Dr. Lawrence and he told her, "You'd better not come in here again. You just insulted her. This is her sixth child and you telling her what to take off is insulting." He told her that he was serious and to not come in again unless there was no one else around and he needed to do a c-section.

Anyway-- what is it about invading my personal space? I feel gross after that with my gyn's nurse-- and insulted. I am 38 years old and I have had over 20 of these and if you include full pregnancy physicals, probably 30. Do they really think that I must be so stupid to not know and that I need to be told to take everything off? (They emphasize everything and do a shake of their heads while they do it.) Why don't they just do what the other nurse did and put the gown on the chair?

Why do I feel manipulated?

Two years ago a doctor's assistant patted my 3 months along bulge and told me that I was getting a cute little tummy. I was ready to dislocate her wrist and threw a fit, "Thank God she didn't notice that my breasts are getting swollen or that my butt is big!" My body language to her was indicative that I did not like her yet she was moving in on me. I don't know-- is one's IQ supposed to go down when we walk into the exam room? The doctor never responded to my letters-- I like him but his assistant touching me like that could have caused him grief.

I am not sure what to do about my doctor. I know there are more patients who need doctors than doctors who need patients. I don't want him to fire me because I want his nurse to stay 3 feet away from me unless I am falling off the table and to just assume I know what I need to do. This guy is good and I would be crushed to not have him as my doctor. He annoys the hell out of me with his 20 questions on everything but I love that he is so thorough, then he says, "The AMA standard is. . . but you don't do well with drugs and you hate pills so I think you should try one of these methods." I love that!

I was going to get an ablation for extra bleeding but he said that women need to bleed, that the monthly bleeding tells him all kinds of things that wouldn't be noticed without it, that aren't as prevalent post menopause. . . when you are not bleeding anyway. I did yoga to fix it. He's Seventh Day Adventist-- they do things like that.

Anyway, I may call and see if he will tell me where his former nurse has gone and tell him why I liked her. I hope he won't be mad at me.

Or. . . maybe next time I go I will
  1. wear a garter belt and fetish shoes and when she says to take everything but my sock off, I will laugh and ask if I can keep my shoes on as well and shock the hell out them. Dowdy house wife that I am. . . he may very well fire me but the expression might be worth it.
  2. I can turn this into a psychological game and see what she does if I keep my hands at my side and not act like a trained dog and hold onto the farking gown while she makes intimate eye contact and I stare just off to the side of her face. Many years ago I was in an interview and I decided that I didn't like the woman so I was very pleasant but started staring at an area just to the right of her head and within minutes I had her leaning over trying to make eye contact with me and she scooted to the side of her desk. If you do that, look about six inches away. The other thing you can do is to stare right in the middle of your subject's forehead and see if he or she will stand up, but it's harder to do if the person isn't sitting down.
  3. Leave everything on, put the gown on but take of my stockings and sit on the exam table. While they look befuddled I can smile and ask what is wrong. "Oh! I'm dyslexic! She confused me. She shouldn't have said anything!"
Hmmmmmm. "Hello. This is Tea. I need to schedule a yearly exam with Dr. Ka-- I mean, Dr. ____ for my stress management class I mean, for my health. hee hee"

I am feeling less stress already.

On the females in exams-- several years ago I had a midwife inappropriately touch me at my post partum visit. I was furious but she said I had post partum depression. I won't detail what she did lest I attract some creeps here, but she left state soon after and I cannot help but wonder. I met other poeple who'd been her patient and they were like, "Did she bother you?" I was in a state over having to get a mammogram last year because of not liking women touching me-- the lady was great and was like, "Look, I don't like women touching me, either. I learned to do this because I was good at other scans and I was asked to learn it. People say I am good at it and I hope you will write a nice letter to my supervisor afterward." I did-- I wrote a great letter afterward. She wasn't bad in the least. I could have handled a male doing what the midwife did-- I'd have had no problem slapping him and walking out. The midwife made me take St. Johnswort ($23 bottle not covered by insurance) to thwart depression! (My husband threw it out and said I needed to get away from her.) That's why I have guy doctors and male hair stylists and I deal with men whenever I can.

I had wanted to be a doctor but I hope and pray that I can make it as a multilingual human services worker and work with doctors/nurses and people who don't speak English, where cultures clash and there are language barriers. I want very much to be a good patient, but I cannot stand being treated like I am an idiot.

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