A few weeks ago I went to the doctor’s office. Nothing the matter, just wanted a physical. It’s been seven years. You read that correctly 7 years. I’m not sure why I waited so long, but I kinda believe that if you’re not sick then there is no reason to see a doctor. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Or something like that.
I found the address listed on the back of my medical card. The sign said Family Practice, but the words splattered across the window facing the street made it look like a second class spa — Botox, Rejuviderm, spider vein treatment, laser hair removal, and about 50 other services the clinic offered. Yikes! I just want to know about my cholesterol numbers! Inside the clinic wasn’t any better. The waiting room was tiny. Directly across from the open door was a poster thumb tacked to the wall with three pictures of a woman’s eyes and forehead showing her before and after pictures. I read the one giant word across the top BOTOX. My stomach knotted up.
I had been dreading my appointment, for good reason it turns out. My blood pressure certainly reflected my feelings. 147 over something or other. I told the nurse it was White Coat Syndrome. It is. I do not like white coats!
Once in the small examination room the nurse fired questions at me in rapid succession. The same questions that I’d just spent 24 minutes answering in the waiting room. Why oh why do I have to fill out 5,000 pages of past medical history if no one bothers to read them? One round of questioning went something like this:
Any illegal or intravenous drug use? No. Any treatment for STD’s or hepatitis? No. Any treatment for depression, psychological, or mental health issues? No. Are you a Vegan? No, not really.
Wait. Illegal drug use, sexually transmitted diseases, mental health issues and Veganism are somehow lumped together? Am I the only one that thinks that is strange?
It didn’t get any better. After being told to strip down, put on the blue gown backwards, and cover my bare bum with what looked like a paper tablecloth I sat and waited. I could clearly hear the doctor’s conversation with the woman in the room next to me. So much for privacy and sound proofing!
The doctor walked in and asked me how long it had been since I’d had a mammogram. When I told her it had been seven years she began to yell at me. Yes, YELL, people. “Do you want to die? Are you in denial?” I tried to explain that I’d moved several times and I didn’t always have health insurance, but she brushed me off saying, “I don’t want to hear that! There are free mammogram clinics everywhere!? Really. Everywhere doc? Are there free clinics in Shell Knob, Missouri? I think not! This was not going well. Although I’m sure the man in Room 3 was highly entertained.
What happened next is kind of a blur. She proceeded to squish and squeeze and poke me with a sharp stick. Or what felt like a sharp stick. Let’s just say she was not gentle.
As I sat up and tried to gather my dignity along with the blue backward gown, the doctor told me that everything appeared to be normal, but I needed to lose 20 pounds. No duh. But menopause, you know. Swoosh! Off she went on a rant about menopause not being a factor in weight gain. Metabolism and genetics were two words she kept mispronouncing in her Czech accent. “You don’t change your diet. You don’t move as much. You gain weight. It is simple. Easy. It is all about in and out. Simple as that. Don’t talk to me about menopause!” Hold on here! Did she even ask me any questions about my diet? Did she ask me any questions about whether I exercise regularly or not? Come to think of it, did she ask me anything at all? On her way out the door she told me to take a multi-vitamin for seniors. Did you catch that? Seniors! And to take vitamin D. Then she was gone.
Let me pause right here to say; I don’t take orders well. I know, possible character flaw on my part. Still, I don’t. I don’t do well with condescending speech, especially if it is directed at me! So, if there was ever a method that would pretty much guarantee to set up my back and cause me to do THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what I’m ordered, this encounter with the doctor was a perfect example.
But, I am a big girl (I mean that chronologically NOT poundage!). I am a wise girl. I will follow the doctor’s instructions and get my labs (which turned out wonderfully normal! Thank you Jesus) and mammogram, and colonoscopy (NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT ONE!) because it is the wise thing to do. NOT because she yelled at me.
I will even work at losing the weight. NOT because she ordered me to, but because, again, it is the wise thing to do and something I’ve been half-heartedly trying to do for a while.
I will continue to use my Fitbit and accumulate more than 1,000,000 steps while my heart blissfully sings an Italian aria and my thighs change from being close personal friends to just waving at each other from a distance.
And, I WILL find another doctor. Yep, doc, this was our first and last date. Thanks for giving me the motivation to finally lose the weight – my 20 pounds and your 140 pounds. Man, do I suddenly feel skinny!