There are times when it is a struggle just to take care of myself. Days when all I want to do is huddle in my bedroom, hiding from the world.
But, while I have needed some of that to recover myself over the last year and a half, I also need to step out. To do all of the things that are required for self-care. And yes, that includes doing things like going to the doctor. I love the fact that I now have a doctor that sees me as a human being, with human frailties. Who recognizes that I am no different from herself, and treats me as she would want to be treated.
But, that also means I need to do other things, like go to the lab and have assorted tests done like mammograms.
I may not be stripping down to my skivvies in the midst of a public market, but I do try to be body positive, no matter where I am, or what I am doing.
For my mammogram today, I asked the tech if she minded if I didn’t put on the gown. Hospital gowns seem to be completely and totally arranged so that NO ONE (not even an “average body” person) can feel comfortable in them (and I’m not just talking about having your bare ass floating in the breeze). Her response was, “If it doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t bother me.”
That may not seem much for someone else. But, for me, that actually supports and acknowledges that no one should ever be ashamed of their body – no matter what shape it is.
I’ve said before, I have very little body modesty. I would happily walk around bare-assed 24/7. But, because other people are ashamed of their bodies, and ashamed of a natural reaction to the naked form, I don’t. Sometimes, though, especially among the medical community, I find more people who insist on covering me from head to toe than in non-medical situations.
The thing is, without all of those “modesty coverings” it is actually EASIER to do what needs to be done. And if a patient is perfectly fine with being naked in front of you, why would you bitch about something that makes your life easier?
I do understand religious views, although I have some issues about if you feel seeing the naked body is a sinful act, why are you doing a job that requires you to look at the naked form, or at least part of the naked form? It’s no different than the issues about Ms. Davis and giving marriage licenses to LGBTQ people. If a part of your job requires that you go against your conscience, then you need to find a different job.
A doctor/patient relationship is a very fragile one. No matter what reason brings a patient in to see the doctor, that patient is in a very vulnerable position. So, any body shame projected on that patient by the medical staff (not just the doctor, but the nurses and orderlies as well), digs in deeper than just some average idiot on the street. Particularly when a woman is getting a gynecological exam, or a man getting a proctological exam, the patient is extremely emotionally vulnerable.
I’ve been to a range of doctors over the years, particularly regarding gynecology. I’ve had many, many different “womanly issues” over the years (well, it was all the same issue, but differing treatment options). I’ve had women doctors treat me like a particularly poor grade of meat, regarding any complaints about pain or discomfort as being “just part of the process.” I’ve had doctors who didn’t care whether or not they hurt me during exams. I’ve had doctors make rude and hurtful comments to their residents, who when I spoke up and spoke out about the issue, was told “I was speaking to my resident, not you.”
To have a technician have such an accepting attitude (albeit, it’s probably part of her job description, because mammograms are one of the most difficult tests to experience for many women) just makes me thankful for compassionate medical professionals.
It boggles my mind that there are so many doctors who just don’t care how their choices impact the patient. Who are willing to be rude, abusive or just downright mean to someone who is coming to them for help and advice.
We need to applaud the good ones, and not just by encouraging our friends and neighbors to go see the better doctors. We need to stand up and tell the world how much a little bit of compassion makes everyone’s life just a little bit better.
I don’t know her name (I saw her tag, but I don’t remember it anymore), but the mammogram tech at Cumberland Hospital should be commended for her tact, her compassion, and her care! And my new doctor, Dr. Kimberly Haycraft (also part of the Cumberland Health System) should also be commended for her attention and compassion.