I had a physical last week. It had been a few years since I had gone in to see a doctor since my primary care physician packed up and moved across the country in 2015. As my new doctor and I were discussing concerns and updating my health history he said “you have put on a little weight since you were here last.” I responded with “actually I have lost weight since my last visit.” Apparently the medical assistant had transposed numbers when she entered my weight into the computer. I was taken aback for a minute but then I remembered the woman who was in the hospital bed next to me awhile ago. She was trying to convert her weight from metric to avoirdupois pounds and she couldn’t get the math right. She was really excited that she weighed 144 pounds when she actually weighed 212. I was baffled that she could be so far off and not even realize it. She was also calling the nurse for more morphine every hour so that could explain how she was so unaware. Her reality may have been just a little bit softened around the edges.
Now I am thinking maybe a lot of people have no ability to judge weight, but I would think this was something a doctor was asked to do frequently in any given day. I’m not going to jump all over this new doctor since he just met me for the first time, but the numbers transposed on the weight entry were a one and a six, so when he looked at me sitting on the exam table in a pair of leggings and tank top he misjudged my weight by almost fifty pounds! After a few more questions he had me change into the paper gown as he left the room. He kind of redeemed himself when he came back in and laughed that he hadn’t seen anyone able to tie the belt on the gown in a long time and that should have been a good indication that my weight had been transposed in my chart. At least he felt like an ass.
I’m also guessing that the next time I visit that office the medical assistant who made the mistake may have moved on to a new profession. It took her three pokes to draw blood from me and then she asked me to hold the four vials of blood as they filled instead of putting them on a tray or table. I was doing my best to keep my left arm straight so blood would keep pumping into the little vials as she attempted to remove and replace them with one hand while she wiped her runny nose with the sleeve of her other arm. By the time vampira drained me of half the blood in my body I had vials wedged in between all of the fingers on my right hand. As she was finishing up with the last vial she looked at me and said “are you okay?” I don’t know if I looked woozy or my confusion about the situation was clear on my face. I never did have a very good poker face.
When she finally walked me down to the mammogram changing room holding a urine sample cup my look must have been about the same because she explained slowly to me that I would need to remove my top and bra but could keep my bottoms on. When I opened the door after changing she was gone so I sat in the waiting room on the other side of the door. I was quickly called in by the x-ray technician who must have picked up on my confusion at the cup in my hand. She told me “that will be after the mammogram on the way out.” Thank God, mammograms are uncomfortable enough. I was having flashbacks of the time I had to pee in a bucket in front of an x-ray machine as a child with dye running through my veins as they tried to determine if a hole in my bladder or stomach was causing all of my medical problems. I remember my aim not being great then so I can’t imagine it would have been any better forty years later and several feet taller. Attempting to pee into a container the size of a large shot glass while having my boobs flattened into pancakes did not seem like something I would be remotely capable of doing. I set the cup next to my purse and walked over to the machine, ready to be manhandled.
I never thought that I would say this, but the experience of the actual mammogram was not unpleasant at all. The technician had me gabbing about my daughter as she told me about her kids all while twisting and turning me into cirque du soleil positions and snapping x-rays. I was dressed and ready to leave within minutes and I felt like I had just had coffee with a friend. She directed me to the bathroom and showed me where the instructions for leaving a urine sample were on the door. I wanted to direct her back down the hall to give vampira a little coaching on job performance but I bit my tongue just in case the poor little snot nosed poker was already on thin ice. Sometimes it takes people awhile to realize they are not in the right profession. I am a good example of this.
As I handed my chart to the woman at the checkout window I looked at my watch and was amazed to see that only about an hour and ten minutes had passed since I walked in the front door. This place was truly a well oiled machine, getting people in and out in the time it takes to eat a steak at the local chop house. After verifying a handful of pieces of information I was ordered to “get out of here and have a great afternoon” by the perky billing clerk. So I did.
The weirdest part about this entire experience is that the doctor himself called me yesterday to tell me all of my test results looked good other than slightly high cholesterol. I was expecting a call from a nurse or some other staff to let me know I was A-okay, but the doctor picked up the phone himself, dialed my number and talked to me. Well done doctor. He has fully redeemed himself in my book.