I did it. I went to the doctor for my annual physical and I did all the stuff I was supposed to do. Well, actually not ALL, but most of it.
Let me explain. I go to a medical group where there is a huge focus on wellness and preventative care. They have LOTS of different machines and an in-house lab and all sorts of ways to assess your health. That is generally a good thing, but each year for my physical they order all these tests that really don’t change from year to year, and they don’t change what the doctor will tell me. He will tell me what he always tells me, “lose weight and some of these other things will take care of themselves.”
Now you have to understand that I’m generally quite healthy. I know that being an adoptee puts a giant question mark into my medical chart, but in fairness I get a yearly pap, a yearly mammogram, and bloodwork done quarterly. Some of the other tests and procedures are just not medically necessary (so says my health care provider, and I agree). A healthy person doesn’t need a resting metabolic rate test each year, or an annual chest x-ray.
I felt a weight lifted off me, because typically their procedure for a physical lasts about 3 hours, and that doesn’t include the appointment 2 weeks later to discuss all the results. I was in and out in about an hour and a half, including the mammogram, so that wasn’t bad.
I also felt better about it than usual because of my trusty towel. How could a towel help me? Well I decided that I’ve had enough of sticking to the paper that covers the exam table and then shredding it as I scoot down to the edge of the table for the exam. I get shreds of paper all over my backside, and I end up on the vinyl cover of the table itself, which is what the stupid paper cover is supposed to prevent. Enough. This time I brought along a clean towel from my linen closet and placed in on top of the exam table before I sat down. When it came down to scoot there was no sticking or tearing, and my dignity (what was left of it) remained in tact. Next I need a cape.
A cape, you ask? Yes. You see the mammogram lady (who is contracted through a separate company, so she does things a little differently) had these wonderful cotton capes. The design was similar to a Christmas tree skirt, with your head being the tree, of course. It was soft, modest, and easy to move out of the way for the exam. I need to make myself one to replace the paper vest that the doctor’s office provides.
The paper vest is another humiliation that I just don’t need in my life anymore. First off, it doesn’t cover anything on this body, so as I’m waiting for my exam I sit sort of hunched and cowering. Secondly, somehow I managed to split the thing right down the back. Well, it is paper. So now instead of a vest, I have two completely separate pieces of paper around my shoulders covering my sides and little else. Never again. I’m going to make an examination cape and that will solve that.
These types of appointments are uncomfortable enough, without being made worse by the humiliation of being exposed and subjected to conditions that are awkward and unpleasant. With a few small modifications, I can make myself so much more at ease, and hopefully reduce some of the stress that I associate with my yearly exam. What do you do to help put yourself at ease at the doctor’s office?