Thursday, April 1, 2010

DCMM: The Full Physical: Good Idea or Psychological Torture?

I don't think anyone really likes going to the doctor and I am no exception. I went to the doctor this week for a full physical, and it was the lamest hour and a half I have spent in recent memory. 

I mean really. You walk in for your appointment and the first thing they do is whip out the scale. Thanks a lot, doctor. Then, if you're me, even if you walked in feeling completely healthy, you walk out with a sheaf of papers of referrals and instructions. Thanks even more. 

To make it even worse, I am evidently at an age when new tests are performed at physicals. The nurse had me lay down on the table for an EEG as if I've been doing it my whole life. Or maybe an EKG? I don't know. All I know is that there were little stickers, wires, and an acronym. Also the nurse said, "I'm going to expose your left breast," at least three times. 

A student nurse practitioner took my history, which meant it was incredibly thorough, but who wants to sit on a paper sheet in a tiny gown with your pudgy, glowing winter white legs dangling off the edge of the table while you answer question after question about your bad habits? 

Yes, I'm overweight. No, I haven't been exercising lately. No, I don't treat my psoriasis. Yes, you can see it all over my scantily clad body and I look an awful lot like I have The Pox. Sure, I'll stand here while you circle around me inspecting my body. And so forth. 

Oh, but that wasn't the best part. The best part was when I somehow inadvertently volunteered myself as a human model for the doctor to demonstrate her lengthy and thorough breast exam for the student nurse practitioner. I sat on the edge of that exam table, bare to the waist, with arms raised as if someone were pointing a gun at me, for a good five minutes while the doctor explained, poked, and pointed. 

Fortunately, I passed. 

I do have to say that it was a little weird when everybody abruptly left the room and I had no idea if I should stay there on the table in my gown or get dressed. I decided on getting dressed. It was mostly the right decision. The nurse came in halfway through to give me my walking papers. 

Those walking papers consisted of a referral to a dermatologist, a referral for a mammogram, a referral for physical therapy for back pain, a referral for blood work, and instructions to make two follow-up appointments for two very specific things. And a prescription. 

Damn. When I went in, I thought I was healthy. 

Jean blogs as Stimey at Stimeyland, runs an autism-related events website for Montgomery County at AutMont, and writes Autism Unexpected, a column in the Washington Times Communities.

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