This week I went for a photo shoot of the lower portion of my digestive track. I’m not sure why I don’t like the word for the procedure so much but I don’t so I’m not going to name it. I’m also not going to share my pictures. Though they were “flying colors” lovely, I didn’t even show the photos to my husband. I DO wonder if they will be like all other photos I thought I’d never share but after 10 years, they seem to look AMAZING so I post them on Facebook.
Having a medical procedure done can be stressful. I’m sure that most people worry about the what the results of the procedure might reveal or if complications will happen during the procedure. I’m so vain that when I had the procedure done this week, I was most concerned about whether or not the gown would fit. When I lose 100 pounds, I may stride around operating rooms naked but until then, flashing my fanny to a room full of other patients terrifies me.
My husband had the procedure done a few years ago and he said people were lined up like cattle in a shoot. Having grown up in eastern Oregon, I’ve seen enough cattle shoots to know what the wide eyes of cattle peering through he cracks look like.
According to urban (teacher) legend, a teacher once had the procedure done and her story scared me even more. She was on a hospital bed (which I pictured with all the privacy of a cattle shoot) and I assume she was dressed for the occasion when someone greeted her as if they were greeting their teacher. If you are a teacher, you know how others say your name when you are out and about. Sadly, even when having medical procedures done, teachers are friendly no matter what. This teacher, on the hospital bed, in a hospital gown, surrounded by others make polite conversation.
I need to point out here that this allegedly happened to is a super skinny person so I am sure her standard issue gown closed completely. In fact, the One Size Fits All gown, could have wrapped around her thin frame several times but I’m sure she still felt vulnerable.
I’ve noticed that the gowns I’ve been given for doctor’s visits seem to be getting smaller and smaller while I, on the other hand, get larger and larger. If every time I visit the doctor I have to sign forms regarding HIPAA laws intended to protect privacy, one would think that I’d be covered (literally covered) during exams too. I hate certain doctor visits because I feel so exposed. While I love the feel of cotton that’s been washed multiple times, sitting on the examine table in a thin piece of cotton has always made me feel vulnerable.
I postponed scheduling this particular routine exam because I worried about being in a room full of strangers with my bare bottom exposed for all to see. Seventy days ago, when I visited a new primary care provider, she inspired me to make healthier choices so that I could live life more abundantly. She said if she were my age, she’d make sure that she had this proactive procedure done so I made an appointment and Monday, found myself in a room with many others, waiting for my photo shoot.
As I was taken back, the RN made jokes as he reviewed my medical history. I don’t need to take medications and I’ve never had surgery so he made me feel proud that some parts of my health history are good. In my pre-visit notes, I’d included my concern about being properly attired and I’d also shared this information with my doctor. When I saw the standard, one size fits all gown, ready on my bed, it looked as tiny as ever. The nurse noticed my reluctance and told me he had one that would be a better match. In a
“This color will bring out your eyes,” sort of way, he replaced the wisp of white floral fabric with a solid aquamarine gown that looked like it would do the job.
Weighted blankets reduce anxiety in many of the sensory seeking kids I know. The heavier, larger hospital gown had the same effect on me. Once I was covered, I was able to relax and enjoy the ride. The room, though full of people waiting for their turn with a doctor or waiting post-procedure to fully wake up, didn’t feel like a cattle shoot but more like an office of cubicles where each person went about their business. Once dressed in my beautiful blue-green gown, I could have made polite conversation with someone from my school and it would have felt like running into someone at the mall (like in line at Glamour Shots when you are holding a Victoria’s Secret bag labeled “thong to wear for photo shoot”).
Now that my procedure is complete, I don’t have to go back for ten years. Because 70 days ago, my new primary care provider inspired me to be healthier by the time I see her again in 2020, maybe my visit this week will inspire me to fit into the one-size fits all gown by the time I visit her again in 2030.
My husband had the best dream ever when he was out during his visit. He had just one the Indy 500 and was drinking chocolate milk. Dreams, like gowns, aren’t one size fits all. I loved the feeling of drifting off but my dreams seemed too such like real life. I dreamed that I was on a hospital bed and around me my doctor and her team talked about after work plans with kids. I’d just finished reading Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid so my dreams may have been inspired by a mom talking to her sitter about taking kids to pet parades or movies. I’d just started Americanos, Apple Pies, and Art Thieves by Harper Lin so on the way home, we stopped for pie.