Most men avoid doctor appointments like the plague. I’m no different. Unfortunately, like an old car with a lot of miles on the odometer, it seems that we all begin to require some engine work after we pass the 100,000-mile point. Sometimes we need a mechanic to check under the hood. A recent knee replacement generated a few random thoughts.
Hospitals are confusing. With people walking through hospital halls in green surgical gowns and matching dust covers on shoes and head, you don’t know who’s who anymore. I’ve addressed male nurses as “doctor” and female doctors as “nurse”, most likely insulting some and raising the bar for others.
And everyone wears a stethoscope around his or her neck. The stethoscope used to be a clue as to who the real doctor was. Kind of like a badge on a cop. But now everyone has one of these things. Even the parking attendant wears a stethoscope.
Actors dressed as doctors for TV commercials have stethoscopes hanging around their necks. That’s about as authentic as a “rent-a-cop” bringing a radar gun to church.
When some people see someone with a stethoscope approaching, they automatically roll up their sleeve, offer their arm, and look for a place to sit down.
A stethoscope is a powerful symbol in our culture. I would be willing to bet that if a doctor wears a stethoscope when dining out, the waiter will bring extra bread to the table.
Aside from a single night in the hospital costing as much as the first house you bought, the personal indignities are worse. I don’t know who came up with those little robes that tie in the back, but they never go all the way around. At least they don’t go all around me.
The popular fad of “mooning” was born in a hospital when a “robed” patient dropped his health card and bend over to pick it up. Those gowns can make modest people walk sideways like a crab with their back to the wall, while the less modest take the opportunity to make a bold statement. I have a friend with delusions of grandeur who wears the gown backwards.
Another thing…someone should contact the Department of Weights and Measures to check the scales in doctor’s offices. Every one of them weighs you ten pounds or more over your scale at home. I tell them that my clothes weigh forty pounds, but they never seem to believe me.
After the scale trauma you are ushered into a small room where you wait patiently while sitting on a paper-covered table. The charts on the wall tell you more than you want to know about the intricacies of your body.
If the doctor shines that little light in your ear and it shines out of the opposite ear, you probably believe that those miraculous intricacies of the human body just happened by chance.
Now that I think about it, I have a stethoscope for checking blood pressure around here somewhere. I think I’ll wear it the next time we go out to dinner. It could help me get a better table at the restaurant, but I sure don’t need any extra bread.
And as for fashionable hospital patient attire, no one should be forced to do the crab-crawl with their back to the wall while wearing nothing but that backless hospital gown. A guy could make a fortune selling underpants in a place like that.