Saturday, January 17, 2009

No doctor... This is NOT the time!

Disclaimer! The following post is about a trip to the gynecologist. It will be in no way graphic, but if you are one of those people (*cough* guys) who gets squeamish at the mere mention of stirrups and or speculums then I suggest you stop reading now. :-)

For the rest of you....

So one of the goals on my list was to make sure that I get routine medical care, which basically meant I needed to go to the dentist and gynecologist 1x per year for each year of the challengs. I REALLY wanted to get the gyno portion of this goal done in 2008, and the doctor that I usually visit was booked solid until January 2009 (and I'm not that wedded to my current gyno) so I asked my girlfriends if they had any recommendations for a good gynecologist. Most of my girlfriends were in the same boat as I was; they had a gyno, but weren't super crazy about her/him, but I knew that one of my girlfriends LOVED her gyno. She was always talking about him ("oooh giiiirl! He is soooo fine! Oooooh girl!") Now... I probably should have been a little suspicious that most of our conversations around him centered around his appearance and the fact that "he could get it" and not his acumen with a pap smear, but I guess I was just distracted by the sheer excitement that she expressed when speaking of the Good Doctor and I went ahead and called to make an appointment and was able to get in in December of 2008.

I was actually pretty excited about my visit, first off just because I wanted to see what this dude looked like, secondly because his office was in Brooklyn, so if I liked him he would be very convenient to visit in the future, thirdly the medical assistant who gave my my appointment said I'd be getting a sonogram, which are standard at all his visit, and I'd never had a sonogram at the gyno before. So one afternoon in late December I left work a little early and skidattled off to downtown BK for my appointment. The office was a pretty standard looking office. I got my little sign in clip board and sat down next to a large African-American woman and her clearly ADD, possibly FAS, son and newborn. Glancing around I realized that ever last woman in that office was a quite young and black or Hispanic/Latino.... I guess it would make sense that they were young given that he's a OB, but it seemed strange that EVERYONE there was a woman of color... My girl's voice started to echo in my head (Oooooh girl he is SOO FIONE!)... I looked to the young Latina at my left who was carefully applying M.A.C. lipglass in "Flirt" and across to the middle aged black woman who nervously adjusting her Wonder Bra and I started to wonder if the Good Doctor was giving more than pap smears and breast exams.

I started to feel a little odd, and I had been waiting for at 35-40 min so I decided it may be time to take my exit. I informed the receptionist about this and she quickly told me I was next in line for the sonogram tech. I took one last look at the waiting room filled with unnecessarily eager looking women and decided that this would probably be an interesting experience, and honestly... how hard it it to do a basic gyno exam? So I followed the 50ish year old Russian tech into the sonogram room and got prepared for my sonogram. I had never had a sonogram before, and all of the sonograms I'd seen on TV were for pregnant women, so I was a bit surprised when she started to put the lube gel stuff on a long tube instead of putting it on my abdomen like I'd seen in the movies. Apparently this was a different kind of ultrasound. I'll spare you the gory details. While I was laying on the table, the tech was looking at the TV screen for the images from the ultrasound wand thingy. She was totally silent and had a concerned look on her face as she moved the wand thing around to look at different angles and draw on the screen with a little electronic pen. The whole thing looked like static to me, so I asked her, "Is everything ok? What are you seeing." she said, "The doctor will discus your results with you." When she was done with her explorations she sent me back to the waiting room. At this point I was a little freaked out and was glad that the nurse called me back only a few minutes later to see the doctor.

The doctor came in shortly.... My first reaction to the doc was to chuckle slightly because I had been watching this short, simian-looking man in scrubs hanging around the reception desk for the past 45 minutes and had been thinking to myself that this BETTER not be the doctor because 1.) he seemed to have way too much free time, and 2.) His ass was not cute. Well in defense of my girl and all the other women who are under his spell... he's not a BAD looking guy... He has the kind of curly hair, creole, pretty-boy look to him that many women find attractive, and he definitely had some swagger (as the youngins like to say). He glided into the office, introduced himself in a voice that was FAR more Billy D than the situation called for, and told me that he was going to do the basic exam and another "high resolution" ultra-sound and then we would talk. I'm like WTF? I told him that his ultrasound tech's bedside manner left a bit to be desired and I looked forward to talking with him about the ultrasound results. He didn't really respond to that... just told me to get undressed and he'd be back in a minute.

So the doc came back in 5 min and I assumed the position that all women know and love while he made quick work of the pap smear/cervical cancer screening portion of the exam... and I mean QUICK work. I swear he was in there for less than 10 seconds and then he was pulling out his fancy smancy "high resolution" ultra sound, lubing up the wand, and going to town with the ultrasound... So I'm laying on the table looking at the images on the monitor trying to make out something.... anything that may have prompted the Russian lady's worried looks when I feel a hand on my knee. I look up at the doctor and he smiles at me, moves his hand slightly up to my thigh, lightly SCRATCHES my thigh and says, "So... where ya from?" WTF?! This is NOT the time doctor! I mean I know you're supposed to talk to your patients etc to put them at ease, but honestly it came off far more like the creepy guy that sits next to you at the bar, touches your leg, and asks, "Do you come here often". WTF! Anyway that awkward moment was over soon as he started to talk to me about what he was seeing on the screen. He told me to look at a large dark area of the screen and asked me if I knew what it was. I said "Uh... no I don't fucking know what it is. If I did I wouldn't be paying your ass to stick this wand up my vagine. Stop being fucking coy and just tell me what you see.!" Ok I didn't say that. I just said, "Nope. What is it." He told me I had a fibroid. I was like (in my head) whew! Is that is? He went on to say that I needed to come into his other office in the next 2 weeks for a "DNC". He needed to do the second procedure to check to make sure the fibroid wasn't cancerous. Huh? Since when were fibroids cancerous? I mean... don't like 3 out of 5 women have fibroids? I never though of them as something super serious.... just annoying and painful, but I was just relieved to find out that it was just a fibroid and didn't really question him. So after the Good Doctor finished telling me that I needed to schedule a D&C in the next 2 weeks, he then proceded to hand me his business card (my legs were STILL in the stirrups mind you) and told me to check out the website of his new book. I won't tell you what the title was, but it was essentially a guide to financial sucess. I chuckled, again, and told him I would look at it.

So I go back to the front desk, still kind of shaking my head from the leg scratching,inappropriate questioning, shameless self-promotion episode that I just experienced and went to speak to the girl at the desk. I told her what the Doctor said and she told me that he only operates on 2 days a week. Operates?!? WTF? Who said anything about an operation? So I started to get a bit freaked out again, but I figured she just mis-spoke and told her I would come in in 3 weeks (after the holiday vacay). She gave me an appointment in the late afternoon and told me that I could not eat after midnight on the night before and because I would be under general anestesia I would need someone to pick me up afterwards. HUH? General anestesia? Picking me up? Not eating? What the hell is this D&C thing? I told the woman that the doctor didn't tell me anything about this. She shot a glance at her co-worker, looked up at me kind of sheepishly and then didn't really respond. Why does no one respond to questions here? Anyway I was done with this adventure and needed to get home, so I just made an appointment, left, and promptly called my doctor friends to get their interpretation of the situation.

The consensus: they were all outraged, not at the fact that he inappropriately scratched my leg, but that he was doing transvaginal ultrasounds on all of his patients, which is apparently a completely unnecessary and extremely expensive procedure. And secondly they were even more outraged that he was routinely performing D & C's ( a common but fairly serious surgial procedure) on women who had fibroids but weren't complaining of any discomfort, irregular bleeding, etc. The both told me, in no uncertain terms, that I was NOT to go back to that doctor for a D&C or anything else.

So that was my Gyno visit 2008. See why I don't go! There's always drama. But I guess I don't need to check out the Good Doctor's book now. I already know his secrets to financial sucess: Building up a clientele of Black and Hispanic women (African American women are almost 3 times more likely than white women to have fibroids), screening them all for fibroids regardless of whether they have any complaints of discomfort or bleeding, and then performing, (and charging their insurance companies) a completely unnecessary surgical procedure.

Ugh... my people. I didn't want to mention his name because I don't want to get sued or something, but if you're in Brooklyn and want to know, just ask.

N :-p

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