I Had my Annual Physical Today

Child's drawing of a doctorThe problem with having a physical exam at 1:20 is that anything you eat for lunch shows up instantly on the scale.  It’s short-term gain, mostly from all the liquid that I down on a continuing basis practically from the time I get up in the morning.  But I knew it was going to be bad enough going for the exam, so put off eating lunch until afterwards, which meant I munched on stray food like, oh, a sleeve of Thin Mints that were inexplicably in my office.

It didn’t start well.  For almost a year, I had my physical exam on the calendar for yesterday at 1:20pm.  Imagine my surprise to come home from work on Monday and discover that the exam was, in fact, on Wednesday, in direct conflict with a standing meeting.  Oops.   On the other hand, it’s spring break and the health center was almost empty.

On the other hand, the first part of any visit is getting on the scale.  It was not pleasant and it was up considerably from last year — I wasn’t surprised, but I hate hate hate hate having to do that first.  At least this time the scale was in a private room and not in the middle of the hallway.  It’s not surprising that my blood pressure was up a bit.

Next it was on to the tiny exam room and the Paper Gown.  I had a sinking feeling about this, too.  I was to put the Paper Gown on with the opening in the front, climb up on the little table, and wait for the doctor.  Except the gown was laughably small and I sat there, holding the Paper Drape up to my chin, tears running down my face.

It’s hard enough to go to the doctor in the first place, fearing that any problems or issues would be put down to obesity, whether that’s actually the underlying cause or not.  Waiting for the reprimand, the lecture, The Weight Discussion, is made more difficult by wearing the Inadequate Paper Gown.  One of these days I will actually follow through and buy myself one to bring so I can be more relaxed.

I know, I know.  The answer is to be thin and not have to worry about it in the first place. But I’m not there.

My doctor and I talked about the effect of stress on my general health, including the fact that when I’m stressed, I eat.  The goal now is to just stay on an even plane and not gain more, and take little steps like writing down my food and drinking more water.  I didn’t get a lecture on changing my diet, having bariatric surgery, or signing up for a personal trainer.  Thank God.

Getting regular physical exams, especially the routine ones, is so very important for all of us, especially those of Us who are now in the AARP age group.  I live alone and if I don’t take care of myself, no one else is going to do it for me.  I do routine maintenance on the car just because it’s time to do things like changing the oil or buying a new battery.  The same is true for having a mammogram or colonoscopy when it’s time.  I have both of those coming up later this year and despise them – but I will go.

4 thoughts on “I Had my Annual Physical Today

  1. They don’t even have cloth gowns? Horrible.

    Sorry that it was so awful, but I’m glad you didn’t get a big lecture this time. Maybe they could tell you had already suffered enough.

    I’m glad you’re keeping up with the appointments despite all the angst.

  2. Lori W.

    Ugh, paper gowns — I’m with Jen, why not cloth gowns (although I’m always confused which side is the front and vice versa).

    I hate getting weighed, esp. now but your doctor didn’t give you a lecture and s/he sounded like they were trying to find out what going on in your life like stress and how that’s affecting you. So s/he is a good doctor! And no lectures, etc.

    I think it’s the anticipatory part of all of this that worries us. The weighing, the BP, and the feeling that you’re going to get the inevitable lecture.

    (On the bright side, my last physical was on January 3. Why in the hell did I agree to that?)

  3. beula

    Those same Thin Mints turned up at my house. I think it is a plot perpetuated by a bunch of little girls in uniforms..

    I just made the same heart rending journey to the doctor’s office. As a former nurse I am already health care adverse, and then they always make me get on a scale the very first thing. The whole visit is torture.

    Only this time it wasn’t. The nurse asked me what I weighed, and then wrote it down. I almost fell off the table. She said the office was short on time and as all women know what they weigh down to the last ounce, weighing them was “just a waste of time.” They still weigh the men who never know their correct weight!

    The office has one size fits all gowns. Fits all, men and women. My gown went around me twice, and was cloth. The office decided it was more cost effective and environmentally friendly to wash gowns rather than discard paper ones. Ditto for the cloth sheet on the exam table. The exam room was warm. In each of the rooms a fee list was posted. Also a sliding scale for services. In all my years I have never seen this info posted in an exam room. There was also a clock in the room. When the physician arrived I got about the usual hurried care. But I didn’t mind so much. I was willing to be understanding about being shorted on time because I was warm and dignified. I may have even been faster in my responses because I was not so rattled about being fat, cold and semi-naked in front of a complete stranger.

    I had to wait two weeks to see this doctor and the office was packed when I arrived. The adjoining office of another G.P. was nearly empty. The receptionist said this was usual.

    Health care does not have to be awful. If it is awful we need to speak up and if needed go somewhere else. Our dollars as well as our voices count. This fair to middling doctor was making money had over fist simply because she and her colleagues treated the patients as people.

    Find someplace with large cloth gowns, or go else where.

  4. Or, maybe ask if the doctor’s office can supply larger paper gowns for their larger clients. Not everybody is skinny and they must know that. Even if paper gowns aren’t available in larger sizes, there must be something they can provide to help preserve some dignity.

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