Awkward, awkward, awkward

I’m standing in the doctor’s reception area, awkwardly waiting for her secretary to get off the phone and acknowledge my presence. A waiting room full of people leaf through outdated magazines. The television is tiny but I can make out what appears to be females playing golf. An elderly man is coughing aggressively and no one seems to notice.

“Yes?”
Eventually the secretary looks up from behind her bifocals.
“Oh, hi. I have an appointment.”
“Jane, is it?” She asks this almost disapprovingly. Well, maybe I don’t like your name, Julia…Who am I kidding? That’s a magical name. Dammit.
I nod.
“Okay, since this is your first time here, I need some information. How old are you?”
“I’m twenty seven.”
“Oh, you don’t look twenty seven. You look a lot younger.” Judging by her tone, I don’t think this was meant as a compliment. “Sure she doesn’t look twenty seven, does she, Roger?” She leans out through her little window and gestures at who I can only assume to be Roger, the coughing man. He waves a dismissive hand, and continues coughing into his handkerchief.
“And you’ve got a bit of an accent there, where are you from?”
“Um, Cork.”
“What brought you up here then?”
Suddenly, I’m aware of the entirety of the waiting room staring at me, their suspicious eyes fixed on my face. I’m not one of them.
“A job. At the school. I’m a teacher.” I smile weakly at the receptionist, who shrugs.
“It’s not often we get people moving to the area.”
“No we don’t.” A voice perks up from the waiting room, but when I turn around, it’s not obvious to me who said it.
“Just take a seat and the doctor will see you shortly.”
I walk across what seems like an eternal space, a dozen pairs of eyes stuck to me. When I sit down, they continue to stare.

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“Oh, sorry-” the receptionist calls from her office. “-I forgot to ask you what you’re in for?” Er, what?! I’m hardly going to announce it across a crowded waiting room, am I? Of course, she thinks that I am. She raises her eyebrows as if to say “well?” and I just mumble “just a general checkup” although that’s partially a lie, and I’m sorry ms. Receptionist, but I must begin our relationship on a foundation of lies to preserve my dignity. She faintly narrows her eyes at me, and retreats to her office.
I regret the fact that I didn’t say “I’m coming down from a massive LSD trip” almost instantly.

By now, interest in me has waned slightly, although I still spy people intermittently glancing up from their magazines and fixing me with a curious gaze. As I pretend to flip through Hello magazine, I feel what I can only describe as a malignant and oppressive presence in the room. I look from adult to adult, attempting to find the source of my fears, when I my gaze finally meets that of a…child. Yes, a child. He is sitting on the floor, staring at me. When our eyes meet, he narrows them and purses his lips. Picture this, but scarier:

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Feeling uncomfortable, I smile at him.
He narrows his eyes even further. I look away and focus intently on a picture of Kate Middleton. I look up. He’s still staring. I’m staring to get legitimately paranoid that I’m going to burst into flames. Suddenly, another child appears at my side. Thankfully, she is smiling at me and appears less homicidal.
“You look like her.” She points at the magazine and I smile.
“Thank you,” I reply, looking fondly at the sophisticated and elegant Kate Middleton. I see the people next to me edge toward the page to get a better look and no doubt make unfavourable comparisons.
“No, silly, not her. Her.
She points towards a picture of Katy Perry. I would like to point out that this is not the most classy or sophisticated picture of Katy Perry: there is quite an amount of cleavage on show and she has more makeup on her face than Mac do in an entire warehouse. Again, I see all the eyes around me glance at the picture. Is it me or are some trying to stifle laughter?
“Oh, um…thanks.”
I adjust my top. Is it low cut? Should I have worn a polo neck? Crap. I automatically rub my hand against my cheek. Perhaps in my attempt to appear perfectly healthy and not be told that I am in fact, terminally ill, I may have gone a little OTT on the makeup. Double crap.

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Too much?

I notice the first kid, who we’ll call…maybe, Damien (for no reason…ahem) still staring at me. Is it my imagination or is he sticking pins into a small doll that looks suspiciously similar to me and Katy Perry? Probably my imagination.

After some time, I look up to see the most awkward of all my waiting room companions: a student of mine. We glance at each other, exchange a tiny, awkward smile, and remain silent. Her mother is talking to the receptionist. Loudly.

“She only needs a very brief checkup, Julia. She just needs a prescription for her pill.”

Oh dear God.

Kate Middleton’s emerald coat has never looked so interesting. I’m pretty sure my student’s face is currently heating the entire room. Of course, this shouldn’t be embarrassing for either of us. But the extent of our conversation usually revolves around circumnavigation and jousting.

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Jousting FTW!

When I am eventually called in, I breathe a sigh of relief. Surely, from here on in, it can only get better right? You would think so, wouldn’t you?

I have to say, the doctor is amazing. She’s the type of lady that puts you at ease right away. We talk about my epilepsy for about half an hour. We chat about the education system and play backgammon. Okay, we don’t play backgammon (what’s backgammon?).
She gives me a pelvic examination and we talk about my symptoms (pelvic pain and back ache). She asks the routine questions re my sexual activity and menstrual cycle. For anyone feeling very uncomfortable, here’s a puppy:

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The questions would probably make some people blush.
Are you sexually active?
When was the last time you had sex?
Do you use protection?
Do you plan on conceiving?
What are your periods like?
What are your bowel movements like?
Did you, at any time, own a Taylor Swift album?*
Etc, etc.
(These questions were all relevant to my particular malady.)
I answer all of these questions in a mature and detailed manner. My mother is a nurse and I’m used to be being very frank about my body. Hey, we’re all adults here.

Although, aside: this is the last text my mother sent me before I went in:

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Stay classy, Mother.

And then I notice I left the door open. The door which leads to a waiting room full of people. A waiting room where one of my students is currently sitting, no doubt furiously writing everything down. I said the word vagina. I talked about S.E.X.

(Oh no.)

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I wonder why Julia didn’t close the door. Then I noticed Julia on the phone, which is probably what she has being doing for the entirety of my conversation with the doctor. The other patients are doing a stellar job of pretending that they heard nothing, including my student, whose face is the colour of pickled beets. She is transfixed on the same picture of Kate Middleton that I previously had been.
There’s an old man looking at me with a mixture of sympathy and amusement. If there was ever a time that I wanted a streaker to break into the room, it was now.

There and then, I made the decision to stop going to the doctor. I don’t care if I break my leg at home, I will just pull a Bear Grylls on it and drink my own urine to survive (that would probably be unnecessary in that particular situation, but still…) or a MacGyver, and fashion a leg splint out of chopsticks and kitchen utensils.
Because, dignity.

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Have you an embarrassing doctor story? Please share so we can cry and eat consolation pizza.

*I may have imagined this question

22 thoughts on “Awkward, awkward, awkward

  1. deepbluesandseafoamgreens says:

    DAMN! My appointments are never as entertaining!AHAHAAHHA I laughed so much🙂

    Loved this post!

    • janeybgood says:

      Mine aren’t usually this illustrious, but this one was great! I was actually thinking about writing the post while I was in there😀
      Thanks for reading!

  2. cheergerm says:

    I am sure there is a life lesson in there somewhere…..it may just be something to do with that one sentence every mother has screamed at her child at one point …’Shut the bloody door behind you, do you live in a tent?’

  3. TvKapherr, CatsattheBar & BackHomeinBromont says:

    Brilliant post! 5 owls for that one. I don’t have same angst with doctors but rather with Vets. When we moved I had to find a new vet. “So how many cats cats do you have?” Sheepishly “18”.
    Then I see the look from everyone. “Crazy cat person” with their purse dogs and cats with red ribbons around their necks. Luckily I had Dust Bunny with me. 22 pounds of psychopathic cat. He eat everyone while I filled out the paperwork. Happy ending.😉

  4. floridaborne says:

    CatsAtTheBar steered me your way. Now I see where he got the Dust Bunny post.

    Here’s an embarrassing story for you. It’s 1971, when living with a man was something you just didn’t talk about. My boyfriend (later my 1st husband) was rather…ahem…well endowed. I’m at the doctor’s for a pelvic exam. The nurse is frowning at me like she got the short straw and was stuck with brothel duty, you know–checking all the “girls” for STD’s. The doctor struts in. He sees on the chart that I’m an unmarried woman who is sexually active. If he was standing on his head, the frown would look like a smile. I’m on the table in the usual position and the nurse asks loudly enough for anyone in the next 2 rooms to hear,, “What size speculum..” The doctor says (equally loudly), “Large.”

  5. weight2lose2013 says:

    Very funny! Doctors appointments are always stressful for me. I don’t know if this qualifies as embarassing, but I had changed from a male doctor to a female doctor several years ago. I was to have the dreaded prostate exam and thought that women had much smaller hands. Well, to my disappointment, this female doctor had hands the size of The Incredible Hulk. Ouch.

    • janeybgood says:

      Haha, oh lord! That sounds terrifying! I remember a female doctor I used to have always had the coldest hands, even through her gloves. I used to squeak every time she touched me. But your situation is certainly much worse🙂

  6. Melinda de los Santos says:

    I’d love to see that incident played out in a video. But how soon can they get an actress who’s a cross between Kate Middleton and Katy Perry? (If kids say you look like them, that’s the highest compliment. It would be tantamount to me looking like Princess Diana or Sofia Vergara.)😀

    • janeybgood says:

      I don’t see the resemblance, but it was a sweet compliment🙂 Princess Di had such a grace and elegance to her, much like Kate does. And Sofia Vergara is just breathtaking, damn her haha🙂

  7. morgantheperson says:

    Oh man, that’s a doozy. I am sincerely very sorry that this happened to you, and while my story probably isn’t quite as embarrassing, it’s all I’ve got and I hope it will help with the healing process. I’m going to try and get all narrative because you deserve to read someone else’s doctor story in the same lovely narrative style you have provided for us today without the embarrassing memories of it actually being your story:

    Once upon a time, I had a UTI. (Move over Rapunzel, my fairy tale is better.) And it was a terrible one. My mom’s a nurse, too, so I had an idea of what was happening when it felt like I was peeing hellfire, and was very proud of not being ashamed to tell my mom what was going on and that I needed to go to the doctor about it. Fast forward a day, and I’m feeling a bit more nervous in the waiting room–would they judge me? What would they *do*? My mom assured me it would be fine, so I went into the office and answered questions like the mature 15 year old (you can laugh) I was and thought it was going very well. That is, until my doctor had a nurse come in and told me they would need to take a peek *down there*. My first thought was “Jesus, I’m 15 can we say vagina or something?” and then I turned beet red and tried to keep cool because I’d never had any sort of pelvic exam before, and this was the first time anything like this was going down in the doctors office for me. My soul escaped my body (I think to avoid mortification because it’s a wuss) as I stood up and dropped my pants.

    “Woah!” Said my doctor, “We’re gonna give you a gown!” Great, I thought. I was just trying to get it over with and now I look like an idiot with her pants literally around her ankles and have, in fact, prolonged this entire process.” So they left and I changed and went through a few more shades of red, and hopped up on the bed. I’ve neglected to mention thus far that since I was at a pediatricians office, the decor was geared more toward five year olds who cry when they get their shots unless a friendly zoo animal was smiling upon them from a poster. In my room, firefighting seemed to be the theme. It would have been cute, had I not been spread eagle on a plastic firetruck.

    That’s right, I was getting my first pelvic exam on a *firetruck*. I almost laughed as it was happening because I realized what a great story this was making, but it turned into an internal sob for the loss of my dignity.

    After they were done, they told me they weren’t entirely sure what was going on, at which point my brain just kind of went ?!?!?!?, and they sent me home with some general antibiotics.

    Those didn’t help and everything “down there” got way worse. In another three days, I was at the walk-in, waiting for a doctor to see me. My dad came this time, because my mom was at work, and while my dad’s a really cool guy who doesn’t even flinch about buying tampons, it was still, how do the youths say–mad awks.

    Soon, a (rather attractive, which made it somehow worse) male doctor took me into a room with my dad and sat me down as I described what was happening. He then asked me, VERY suspiciously if I had ever had sex, to which I honestly replied no. He did *not* believe me. He had my dad leave the room and interrogated me again, then had my dad come back in, and said “Well, she gave the same answers when you were out of the room…” At this point, I’m not only mortified that this guy thinks I’m lying, but also very angry that he’s belittling me about it. I understand, a lot of teens lie, but JESUS. I was in such agony, I would have told him anything to stop it. I mean, a jar of my pee is in your hands, I think we can all be honest here.

    Five minutes later, I’m informed I need a very invasive pelvic exam (gee, a real speculum and everything!). So my dad steps out, I get gowned up (I’ve learned not to just drop my pants) and this guy and a nurse step back in and get all up in my grill. He swabs for something, because we’ve already established I’m the town whore and I have a myriad of STDs and NOT a very real UTI, and prescribes me UTI antibiotics (to humor me) and one for CHLAMYDIA. IN FRONT OF MY FATHER, he then goes “Well, we gave her one for an STD that shows these signs, just to be safe.” AND THEN ADDS (I’m still very angry about this today) that the speculum *did* go in pretty easily. At which point, mortification has turned into pure anger that he still thinks I’m lying and has to point it out to my dad how loose I am from sleeping with everyone.

    “Well welcome to my 5’11 vaginal canal. It’s not going to be tiny.”

    Everyone goes silent in shock at what I’ve just blurted out, including myself. Although mostly I’m glad I put this guy in his place (really I probably convinced him I was actually lying because I was getting so defensive)

    Nobody’s saying anything so I continue, more sheepishly now, “I’m sorry, I know a lot of teens lie and you have to be safe, but I get that this affects my health, so I’m telling you the truth. There is no way this is an STD, and I really don’t like that you just made it sound like the fact that a speculum fit (ONCE AGAIN IM 5’11 YOU ASS) means I’m another no good teen who lies about it.”

    Applause started inside of my head, but everyone else was still shocked and my dad pretty much wanted to die. The doctor apologized, gave me my prescription, and we received a call from my primary doctor (at the firestation) saying that it WAS indeed a UTI and that she was very sorry I had to deal with that bad man at the hospital.

    And thus concludes my tale. I hope this at least distracted you for awhile because now I look like a total comment whore with my multiple paragraphs. If not, here’s a tumblr about owls: http://hungoverowls.tumblr.com/.

    Feel better!

    Morgan

    • janeybgood says:

      This comment wins the entire internet.

      So, yeah, that’s also embarrassing. I have been plagued with UTIs and I know how awful they are. I always felt when I went to the doctor with them that they were also implying something about my sexual health but not really coming out with it, like you.

      That male doctor sounds like such an ass. I do remember when I, erm, popped my cherry, I got a UTI and innocently went to Mam and told her and she knew straight away that I’d slept with my boyfriend. A lot of teenage girls get them when they have sex for the first time, so he was probably basing it on that BUT he should have just backed off when you gave him your answers. Some doctors can really try and steer you in the direction of an easier and clearer diagnosis just to suit themselves.

      I also once went to the doctor with my dad and ohmygod I can’t even talk about it to this day. It was just…nope, still can’t do it. Your dad sounds a lot more comfortable with this sort of thing.

      I laughed at the image of the fire truck hahaha! Although I was in hospital once and while I was asleep the nurses gave me a teddy. I was twenty three at the time haha.

      Thank you for this comment, and for the hungover owls. They really brightened my day!

      Also, after my doctor visit, I went back yesterday and was sent to hospital where I had the most humiliating tests done ever. I’m at home now wondering whether I should post about the young male doctor seriously invading my privacy and probing my intimate areas. Argh.

      • morgantheperson says:

        Hahaha, you must have woken up and been pretty confused with some random teddy in your arms…but I guess it was a nice gesture! I’m glad you liked the story and the owls, and if posting about the invasive doctor will help you overcome it, then by all means we are here for you. Damn doctors. Stay strong.

      • janeybgood says:

        Yep, I think it helps. When I actually talk about it out loud, my boyfriend just makes fun of me but when I write about it…people still make fun of me but at least I can’t *see* them haha

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