I recently made the dream I’ve had since I was a 12-year-old girl come true, I moved to beautiful Hollywood, California to pursue my dream of becoming a professional comedian/writer/actress/ankle model. And with every big move comes great new adventures- like finding a new primary care doctor. Let the fun begin!
After searching online to see which doctors were covered under my insurance, I found a doctor who was only a few blocks from my apartment. I couldn’t believe my luck. You mean I didn’t have to fight the “stop and never go” LA traffic. Instead I could walk to my doctor’s office in the wonderful Southern California weather. This was all the confirmation I needed. So instead of dreading going to a new doctor, I happily made my appointment.
The day of my appointment, I left my apartment a mere eight minutes before I had to be there and I was still two minutes early. After briefly meeting with a nurse for a quick blood pressure and temperature check, my new doctor walked into the examination room, introduced herself and then sat down and started asking questions.
She started asking me about the general medical history of my family. She wanted to know who had cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. After I was done listing the medical histories of my family, she just stared at me. I then asked, “Do you need to know anything else?” She glanced down at the paper she had been taking notes on and then looked back up at me and said, “No. That is too much. Too much.” She shook her head with a disgusted look on her face. Her response surprised me. I’ve never had a doctor pass such blatant judgment on me after just honestly answering his/her questions. “Oh, I’m sorry. Did we Lunzer’s offend you with our history of diabetes? And going forward I’ll ask my family members to be less cancer-y,” I thought to myself.
Next she asked what medications I was on. I hesitated, but then proceeded to again answer honestly. “You are on too many drugs.” She stared at me intensely as if she was waiting for me to say, “You’re right. I think I’ll just stop taking these horrible medications that have been helping me for years. How awful of me to take one medication that regulates my lady-business and promotes sexual responsibility and another medication that stops me from running into traffic.” Was this lady serious? She acted as though I had just told her that I start my day with a bathtub full of homemade meth and then end my day in a propofol-induced slumber. It was too unbelievable. I was certain that this was an episode of ABC’s “What Would You Do?” and that John Quinones was going to pop out from behind the door at any minute and ask me how I’ve remained so calm in such a ridiculous situation? Sadly, he didn’t.
After her family/pill-shaming she said, “Take off your shirt.” I wasn’t even sitting on the examination table yet. I waited for a second to see if she was going to give me the standard paper robe you normally receive at a doctor’s office, but she just looked at me and said, “bra too.” Apparently they forgot to notify me in advance of my appointment that it was BYOR.
As I got up from my chair to close the door before taking off my shirt she said, “Don’t be shy, honey.” Shy? I didn’t realize that shy was me not wanting the “gentleman” who has been practically yelling into his cell phone right outside of the examination room from seeing me without my shirt on.
So there I sat, completely naked from the waist up as she asked me the reason for my visit today. Well it definitely wasn’t to sit in front of a judgmental doctor with my lady lumps out.
“I’m here for a checkup. My previous doctor said that she detected a heart murmur so I wanted to get a second opinion.” She walked over to me and shined a light in my mouth, “Say ahhh.”
After checking my throat, she checked my joints, ears, eyes, breathing and put pressure on my stomach.
“Does that hurt?”
It didn’t. Actually, I couldn’t feel a thing because all I could do is wonder, “Why does my shirt need to be off to check my ears?”
I’ve never been asked to take off my shirt during a general doctor’s appointment. Only gynecologists have ever asked me to remove my shirt. However, when they do so, they don’t stay in the room and watch “the ‘big’ show.” Instead, they’d leave the room for a few minutes while I removed my clothing and put on the complimentary robe they provided. Then when it was time for the breast exam, they’d gently pull the robe to the side and immediately cover you back up when the exam was over. One gynecologist even apologized for her hands being too cold. In other words, they allowed you to keep your dignity.
By now some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? They’re just boobs.” Well, it’s a big deal to me. I fully admit that I’m a modest gal. If I had to choose between eating a rusty nail sandwich or going on a free all-inclusive beach vacation anywhere in the world and all I had to do was participate in the topless-ness of their topless beach, I’d choose the sandwich.
After the breast examination, I got dressed without instruction. My appointment was over whether she said so or not. I couldn’t wait to get home. I planned on eating my feelings in the form of a giant cheese Danish.
However, just when I thought it was safe and put my clothes back on, in came the nurse who instructed me to undress again for an EKG test. In my head I wanted to run out of the room screaming, “You can’t make me!” However, the thought of even more embarrassment forced me into obedience and off came my shirt…again. By this time, I felt like I was a part of some secret taping of “Girls Gone Wild – The Doctor’s Office Party.”
The nurse placed stickers all over my exposed chest and stomach, which then were connected to wires that were attached to a large machine that sat next to me. While we waited for the machine to spit out the results of the test, she initiated a “friendly” conversation with me:
Nurse: “You going to have kids?”
Me: “Not right now.”
Nurse: “It’s time. No time to wait or it’s too late.”
(Then she pulled out her iPhone and showed me pics of her granddaughter).
Nurse: “You don’t like dis?” (Points to the pic of her baby granddaughter)
Me: “No, she’s fine. I’m sure I’d like her. I’m just too selfish to be a mother right now.”
Nurse: “What you do with your time then?”
Me: “Stand-up comedy.”
Nurse: “Oooooh, so you want to be moooooovie star. (Smiles as she looks me up and down) Well that only happen to very very very very few people. Most (she pretends to spit on the floor) become nothing.
Me: “Can I put my shirt back on now?”
Nurse: “Don’t be so shy, baby.”
The doctor returned and they started speaking Russian to one another. They laughed, looked at me and then laughed some more.
Moral of the story: That’s what I get for choosing proximity over quality. What did I expect from a doctor’s office located above a 7-Eleven in Hollywood. As I took what I can only describe as the “longest walk of shame” back to my apartment, I tried to find a bright side. And then it came to me. At least both the doctor and nurse were showcasing ample cleavage (practically exposing their areolas) so basically, we were all naked and judging each other.