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Ways I Suggest to Improve the Medical Profession, Even Though They Never Asked My Opinion


Over the winter break I got all of my medical appointments done, so I wouldn’t have to leave school to get all healthy. I got two fillings, had my blood glucose and cholesterol checked, got a pap smear, and got a mammogram. All but one came back normal; the abnormal one was the mammogram. Nobody wants to get a “you have an abnormal boob” letter, and nobody wants to wait the ten days it took them to get me back in for the boob ultrasound.

While I waited the HOUR for my ultrasound, I found myself editing the ways the people who work at the breast center do business. As if my new job is medical etiquette consultant and I will be submitting my full report to them on Monday. This helped me pretend I was not there for a follow up on a “cloudy mammogram.” Instead of thinking about cancer, I was mentally revising what people say and do and pretending I was the boss, which felt way better than worrying over the potential life-altering results this test could present.

When you check in for the mammogram or ultrasound, they say “You’re going to move along to the next room.” It is true, you move to the next room, sit there, move to the changing room, get naked, wait in there more, move to the boob squish room, and wait there. It really is like they are moving you along an assembly line, but they could at least PRETEND we aren’t cogs on a treadmill, traveling like products to be disrobed and squished. They could say “Go ahead and have a seat and relax  in our waiting lounge.” They could add fresh baked cookies, maybe some coffee and red wine. That would ease my pain a bit. What would the Center for Testicular Health look like, I wonder. What would a dedicated to dudes room have in it?  The ladies get the Food Network, maybe the guys would get Ice Road Truckers marathon or that show where they just look for gold forever and never seem to find any. We get Cosmo and Vogue, they’d get Sports Illustrated and Guns and Ammo. I bet THEY would get cookies and coffee, plus pizza and beer. Not fair.

After checking in and hanging in the Food Network room for a while, I got the classic doctor fake out. You know that thing they do, when they are running behind schedule and they don’t want you to get too mad, so they bring you to the examination room where they have you wait even longer?  Well, they do it at the Breast Health Center too, only they have a second, smaller waiting room for this purpose. Out there in the first waiting room, I had a magazine, The Next Food Network Star, and a SHIRT. As the technician left, she said, “The ultrasound technician will be right with you.” I was jaded by then, so I didn’t believe her. Whenever they say the doctor will be right with you, they know it’s a lie. Inside they are all like boohaha, I’ve got you now and you are naked! It’s similar to when you are at Verizon and they say someone will be right with you. Lie. No one will ever “right with you” at Verizon. Ever. Well, maybe if you were naked. Haven’t tried it, but I bet service would speed right up.

Add this to the list of things medical professionals should not say: “Are you able to get out of that thing?” to the lady in the wheelchair. I bet the technician could think of a better way to ask that question, and perhaps not in the waiting room in front of everyone. Don’t say, “Ya, you’re really dense.” to people. Beg pardon? My breasts might be dense but I think I’m pretty fucking smart thank you. The worst question a medical professional asked me was this one, posed by a male dental hygienist. I clarify male because a woman would probably not ask this question: “Did you have that baby yet?” The last time he saw me and my teeth I was 7 months pregnant, so considering the fact that “that baby” had been living on his own outside of my body for 6 months, I was less than appreciative of the question. Yes, I had that baby and I’m never wearing this sweatshirt again. I totally blamed the sweatshirt, not all the Pop Tarts and coffee I was inhaling on the daily to try to combat sleep deprivation.

Also, why do the members of the medical profession want me to have a purse so badly? They rival only my mother in their perseverance. The allergist wanted me to keep the EpiPen in my purse, and I thought, “I have to buy this special pen AND a purse to carry it in? What the hell?”  Last week the mammo lady wanted to know if I was carrying my purse, rather than leaving it in the little changing closet they ask you to use. I’m kind of attached to my clothes too, and she was acting like this space was not safe, like someone was gonna steal all my goods while my boob was in the Plexiglas squisher.  It’s not like I could chase someone down, so I hoped to come back to my shirt, bra, and sweater. Last week my doctor told me to place my purse on the chair with my clothes, and  the dentist looked at the counter where I put my all stuff like maybe that counter space wasn’t for me. It had magazines on it, but maybe they were her magazine. I’m really confused on this point, and I think I’m doing it wrong, because all of my medical people act all surprised to see my phone, wallet, and keys OUT, like escaped inmates running down the highway that leads to the prison.

After being brought to the 3rd location, the actual ultrasound room, I began to feel like I might leave this building and see my house and family again.. This room offered a squishy bed and a picture on the ceiling. I have always thought doctors should put art or motivational quotes or Sudoku puzzles or something on the ceiling, so I will be putting a positive note about this in my report for sure.  The picture choice though, I completely disagree with that. Why would you choose a sky full of white clouds, when they whole reason I am here experiencing all of this inconvenience and ugly smock fashion is because of clouds on the film of my mammogram? All I’m saying is, perhaps a tree, or that one of the dock leading to the pond, or the Adirondack chair looking over a beach with a perfectly blue, cloudless, breast. I mean, sky, yes, cloudless sky.

In the end, the doctor made up for all of my inconvenience by telling me everything looked fine. Then he said “You’re a slender woman.” during his explanation of the cysts in my boob, and later added, “There are health benefits to coffee so don’t be afraid to drink it.” This dude is my new best friend. I even got all flirty with him, which is not like sober me at all.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/20/2014 12:50 am

    Bahahaha. I finally gave in to the purse thing. But i call it a BAG. It’s a goddamn BAG. and I HAVE to carry it so I can put all of my shit in it…because I live in California where it is ILLEGAL to be given a bag at the grocery store. and because I have too much other shit to remember to think about bringing my own damn bag. So I carry my gnarly “granola” bag everywhere…in hopes that it reminds me to eat like a granola, too!…48 pounds later…I’m gonna keep going with it.
    BTW…PLEASE keep writing! I did one. I didn’t put it public because my life (so far) is just pissy and depressing. I’ll bust out some funny shit soon. Can’t wait to see you!! ❤

    • 01/20/2014 3:38 am

      I can’t wait to read your pissy and depressing yet probably hilarious stuff! I do sometimes carry a BAG, because traveling with healthy snacks and a water bottle even would be a good call. Can’t wait to see you too. I always make it to Atascadero at least once per summer.

  2. TIm permalink
    02/04/2014 5:02 pm

    Ha ha funny stuff. The dude room would have to have a voice repeating the mantra, “your doctor has small hands and fingers.” “Just relax and enjoy Ice Road Truckers.”

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