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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Situation #457 in which I did not handle awkwardness well

As promised, here is my Awkward Doctor's Office Story. Now that I read over it, it doesn't sound quite as dramatic as I though it would, but let me assure you that it was pretty awful at the time.

Last week for my OBGYN appointment, I had to go to the practice's second location--a much smaller office attached to the hospital-- for the first time.  After I checked in, the receptionist directed me down a hallway to do the usual urine sample.  I couldn't really tell which door was the bathroom, so when I came to the nurses' station, I asked the woman there--who had her back to me--where the bathroom was.  So she turned around.  And she was NOT what I would call a woman; more like a girl.  A girl who was ONE OF MY FORMER STUDENTS, to be exact.  By the time my brain had processed this, though, I was down the hall and in the bathroom.  Well that's kind of weird, I thought, maybe her mom is a nurse and she's just here helping out or something.  I couldn't remember exactly which year she had been in my class, but I knew that she was in the graduating class of 2010 at the oldest.  I wondered if she had recognized me, and felt a little bad that I hadn't said anything to her.  Awkward.

I went back to the waiting room until it was my turn to be called back by the nurse.  Only, as I'm sure you can guess, it wasn't a nurse.  It was my former student.  Who was suddenly asking me to step up on the scale!  Why yes, I have gained some weight since it was recorded at my last appointment, thank you for noticing.  So then I was flustered and had no idea when or how to say something along the lines of "yeah, hi, remember me?  Your freshman English teacher?  Read any good books lately?"  

And then of course we went into the exam room and the awkwardness continued to escalate, with her asking me all the usual personal questions and typing my answers into the computer.

Her: "Are you having any [gross symptom], [weird symptom], [bad symptom], [uncomfortable symptom]?

Me: Not really, no, no, sometimes.   
My brain:  REALLY??  We're doing this??  How old are you now??  WHAT are you doing here??  There hasn't been TIME for you to go to nursing school!  Do you actually know how to use that stethoscope around your neck??

She took my blood pressure, which was a little high.  Well, obviously!!  I used to grade your papers and tell you to quit talking during our discussions over The Odyssey!  So she made me lay on my side for a minute until it went down. Great, no problem.  My former students see me curled up on exam tables all the time.

And THEN, she told me pull down the top of my maternity pants.  Yes.  And then she squirted a huge pile of goo on my bare stomach and used the Doppler to find the baby's heartbeat.  Now, I do have to give her some credit; she found the heartbeat WAY faster than the nurse at the other place ever had.  But still. Partial nudity in front of student!!

It was all over pretty quickly; she soon left the room and my doctor came in for our monthly chit chat/stomach groping.  I started feeling like a jerk for not saying something to the student, who had always been very sweet in class.  I mean, I'm pretty sure she knew who I was, and maybe even knew that I knew who she was.  But I think we were both trying to avoid the awkwardness by pretending to be total strangers.  

 I know that people who have been teaching for 20+ years see their grown-up students fairly frequently.  But I only taught for 5 years, and I taught 9TH GRADERS.  You know, the ones who have just been release from middle school. I see former students around town, sure, but it's always when they are giggling in the mall or at the grocery store with their moms.  NOT handling charts in an OBGYN office. 

As I left the office, I wondered how many other former students were going to hear about the encounter.  I assume that she was probably bound by some form of doctor/patient confidentiality, but who knows.  The story of knocked-up Mrs. Smith with her jeans pulled down on an exam table might have been pretty tempting to spread all over Facebook.   

I ALSO realized that I had only seen three people working in the office: the receptionist, my doctor, and the student.  So WHO do you think dealt with the urine sample??!!  %$^#$#.

So what did I learn from this experience?
  1. Apparently the people who weigh you and take your blood pressure and all that do not have to be full-fledged nurses. They can be just a few years past 9th grade "their, they're, there" grammar lessons.
  2.  Awkwardness makes me have high blood pressure and need to lay down.  I'm sure we are all shocked by this.
  3. Always make an appointment to see the doctor at the other office.  ALWAYS.

P.S. Did someone forward my last post to Doctor in utero?  Because I am getting kicked like CRAZY!  Jeromy even got to feel it for the first time last night...yay!

Upon seeing me come home from Target with a baby outfit: 
Jeromy: [eye roll] It's like you decided since you can't  really shop for clothes for yourself right now, you've decided to shop for someone who doesn't exist.

Me: I can't BELIEVE you said that!  Doctor totally exists!!!

Jeromy:  Well, ok, yeah, but you have to admit, you can't exactly dress and undress him at this point.


  1. AHHHH, I think that is TOTAL Awkwardness! I have NO Idea how you kept your mouth shut about it. I would have said something. I have NO Shame in front of medical people, but medical people that I know or know through someone- NO way. I can’t believe she even got to use the Doppler on you too!!
    Not buying is SOO hard. I have only bought ONE piece of clothing for our baby-I bought a dress the day I found out she was a she, but it is so hard to refrain!

  2. I guess at least it wasn't a "take off all your clothes and put on this gown with the opening at the front" appointment. I probably would have had to say something then; having former students and bare lady parts in the room seems like it crosses the line.

    I might have been able to resist buying the little outfit if sneaky Target hadn't put in on clearance. They get me with the 30% off sings EVERY TIME!!

  3. Hey- I try to reply to your comments when they come in my email, but I cant because you have "no-reply" set up on blogger. If you want me (and others to be able to reply) you can do this:
    Go to your Dashboard on
    2. Hit your edit profile, right next to your picture on the top left.
    3. Scroll down to the line that says : Show my email address and CHECK THE BOX.
    4. Hit save.

    I had to be told to do that when I first started :)

  4. And, I was so afraid other preggos would have that pink dress from Old Navy but none have! I did get it back in November and saved it for the shower! It was a bit shorter than it was when I bought it of course!
    My 2 friends that use reusable diapers tried a couple different brands and liked FuzziBunz the best, so that is why I went with them.