If you get hit by a bus … does your underwear matter?

Did your mom ever get her panties in a bunch over your undies?  You had to have nice underwear so that if you were taken to a hospital, bloody and broken, they wouldn’t think less of you because of your washed out, stretched out, comfy underwear.  Everyone knows that if you are wearing La Perla, you get more attention; not only when you are playing strip poker, but also in the ER.  Not true.  Well, I imagine the poker part to be true (although I wouldn’t know because three of my kids can read and know how to access this website.)  The ER part is definitely not true (but kids, if you are reading this, you should still put on clean underwear every morning so your playdate’s parents don’t think less of me.)
Doctors care but not about the things you worry about.  We don’t care about …

1. Your underwear – as I was getting ready to go to the doctor last Friday for my physical, (I will continue to brag about the fact that I finally did it) I actually thought about my outfit.  I wanted to look respectable and smart but not like I was trying too hard.  I made sure there was no spit up on my shoulder and you guessed it, nice underwear.  As I was sitting on the exam table in only a gown, waiting for the doctor, reading my book (always bring your book or a magazine into the room) I actually laughed at my neatly folded clothes piled next to the sink.  I knew she wouldn’t care because I never did … I never took much notice of what my patients were wearing and I certainly never thought to                                                                                                          check out their skivvies.

2.  How recently you took a shower – in general, good hygiene is appreciated, even on a subway, but I promise you that your doctor isn’t judging you based on whether or not you carry the aroma of recently lathered soap.  He may though, care if you smell.  There are several diagnoses that can be confirmed based on scent … don’t ask.

3.  Your … ummm, personal groomingseriously … save the bikini wax for your Caribbean vacation.  If he cares, he only plays a doctor on TV.

4.  How fat you look in a paper gown – I know that when you are sitting on that wax-paper covered table, crinkling every time you adjust, you are in a very vulnerable position.  It is easy to get caught up, thinking that you are being judged by the same standards that you feel judged by in the outside world.  I swear, this is not the case.  Of course, your physician should care about what you weigh but not because of the way it makes you look.

5.  Your co-payment – once you are in the exam room with your doctor, he or she cares about you and your health even if they don’t show it (bedside manner is something they cannot teach in medical school.)  The billing department will worry about your insurance.

People hate going to the doctor; completely understandable … we aren’t offended because we are patients too.  You have to really put yourself out there and unless you are an exhibitionist, very few people are comfortable with this level of personal and physical exposure.  But, remember that the average doctor sees 4 – 6 patients an hour for 8 – 10 hours a day.  This doesn’t mean that you are just a number but it does mean that the focus is always on your health.

Tomorrow is Friday.  I am going to post five great quotes by my professional hero, Dr. Gregory House.  If you are easily offended, don’t bother checking in and have a great

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