Friday, August 8, 2008

Doctor's Office Etiquette

As a follow-up to my post earlier this week, I thought I'd stay on topic and write some more about going to the doctor. We all have to do it, so maybe we can all relate to each other in one way or another.

I try really hard to be a good patient. I'm a rule follower by nature. Even though doctor's offices don't give you a list of appropriate behavior (although people like me would actually love it if they would) I just choose to follow the rules I've made up in my head. I absolutely hate walking into any place and not knowing what to do. Those are the kinds of situations that give me nightmares! My poor husband is an introvert but I make him go in ahead of me whenever possible so I won't embarrass myself. Fortunately he's a good sport.

So here are some of my rules. Perhaps you follow them too. The most important thing for me when going to the doctor is that I am clean. I never, ever want to be in those conversations that I know doctors have when they are off-duty with their friends! If they have to get right up in my face or see me unclothed, you can bet my body will be nearly scrubbed raw.

Also, when I go to the eye doctor I don't wear eye makeup. Likewise, when I go to the dentist I refrain from putting on lipstick. Of course, I'll admit that's not just out of courtesy to the dentist or hygienist, but mainly because I don't want to leave there looking like The Joker from Batman. And I know I'm going in there for a cleaning but I always brush before they have to look directly into my mouth. I guess that's a little bit like cleaning your house before the maid comes, now that I think about it.

I also think about my feet when I go to the doctor. Let's face it, if I'm at the Gynecologist my feet are going in the stirrups and I don't want the doc to see my dry, flaky heels. I try to work on them before I go, or put on a pair of socks. I'm pretty sure all women have thought of having their legs nice and smooth but I'll mention it just in case. For the Gynie and for my Dermatologist I always shave my legs (and I mean every inch of them - I don't understand leaving the thighs all hairy and just shaving the bottom part. That's cheating!). Maybe doctors don't notice hairy legs but I try to be prepared anyway. There's nothing worse than going to the doctor totally unprepared for an exam. That has happened to me before. I thought it was just a meet-and-greet. I didn't know one of us would be getting undressed today!

About the Dermatologist: if I thought too long about my experiences there I might crack up laughing. You see, my husband and I are fair skinned and both of us have our share of freckles and moles. We go have our moles checked every year and we share our appointment. That means that once a year we are sitting in a little exam room together in paper clothes. It's the silliest feeling, but I realized it was all worth it last October when the doctor biopsied a mole on his back and found that it was an early stage melanoma. He has a pretty big scar on his back now that reminds us that as funny as it seems, it could save our lives.

This is all just silly stuff that I think about at the doctor's office. Maybe you have your own set of rules. Probably if you told them to me I'd want to follow yours too.


mistymorningmountain said...

Ah yes. All excellent rules to follow. I would say that most are simply common courtesy and common sense, but in a world where it is necessary to put a warning label on a blow dryer that says "do not use while bathing", nothing can be assumed. What about the exam room phenomenon where women neatly fold their clothes, tucking their bra and panties in their other clothing so they're hidden. Contrast this to most men, who toss their clothing on the floor--threadbare and dingey underwear atop the pile.

Stacey said...

Funny stuff! I hide my underclothes as well (inside the folded jeans is a great spot). I had forgotten that one.
Thanks for the laugh!


Jenn said...

Hey Stace, I enjoyed reading your blog so much, that I checked today to see if you had anything new posted and you did! And also with reading the other comment, it is comforting to know that other people, like myself, fold our undies nice and neat and hide them in our folded pants. If we think about it, how silly...we go to the gynecologist and show our most private parts but we ABSOLUTELY DO NOT want him or her to see our undergarments. Go figure!!

Andrea said...

What's really ironic is that I always make a point to wear my absolute BEST bra and panties and yet, like the rest of you, I fold them neatly and hide them!

bonjovijennie said...

I am an underwear folder too!! even if i am going to an appointment for a sprained ankle, a bikini wax is required. maybe they have to see if the swelling goes all the way up my thigh? i have no way of knowing for sure.
here is my request to any gynies reading this....proper office etiquette would be to place the finished pap test away from the box of kleenexes so the patient doesnt knock it over and spill it all over the counter,have to put their clothes on to hunt down the doctor and tell them you think you just spilled something important. one pap in five minutes is enough, but two....i got some cheese cake after that.

bonjovijennie said...

one other thing....even if i shower right before my appointment, i still get all sweaty, nervous and paranoid then my butt sticks to the paper when you have to "scoot all the way to the end of the table".

Stacey said...

I love that gals pretty much all have the same experience! You guys are cracking me up.

Thanks for telling that story. I think of you when I have a pap and pray to all that is good and holy that I'll only have to have one per visit! LOL!!