I met a new doctor the other day and for the first time in months I wasn't asked to disrobe before meeting him. What a small and wonderful blessing! There's something about meeting someone for the first time while dressed in nothing more than a paper bag that's very intimidating and makes me feel quite helpless - almost childlike again. Suddenly I go from being a take-charge type person to one who sits silently listening to whatever the doctor has to say, nodding my head and wishing I could just get dressed again.
I'm truly on a campaign now for better hospital gowns that could also be practically used in doctor's offices. How difficult would it be to at least give people the dignity of meeting a new physician dressed in something that: a. covers your body and b. looks decent. Is that too much to ask?
I'm beginning to think that in order to put things on an equal footing the doctors should have to dress the same way we do when they meet us. Want me in a paper robe? Fine - you wear one too! Prefer the hospital gowns with open backs? OK - I'll get into mine if you'll get into yours! One good alternative would be to meet the patient first in an office, across a desk and fully clothed. Only after all the questions have been asked and answered do we move to the exam room where I would gladly undress so I could be checked out. What can't this be done?
Is there any other profession in the world where we ask people to become totally vulnerable and embarrassed before we even say hello? It's a strange thing, this medical world. I've been involved with it for a very long time, more closely than many people because of all my time spent in the ER with ambulance crews. But I still don't understand it and find it quite perplexing.
So - let's see how far I get with my new campaign. My guess is it won't be far, but it's something I think worth the effort. Now I have to start strategizing...