Monday, July 13, 2009

Wait For It...

Several week ago I made an appointment to have my lady parts checked out since it's been almost two years since my last visit. Having already seen several doctors here in France and hearing stories from friends I thought I would be fully prepared for the experience or so I thought.

On the day of my appointment I arrived at the office and am greeted by the receptionist who asks me if I was referred to them by the American University to which I replied non (not so bad so far). After providing some administrative information I was escorted into the where several other women were already waiting (ok I got this). Then after a 10 minute wait the doctor came to get me and escorted me into her office. All along I'm thinking to myself "I've got this in the bag" or so I thought.

In the doctor's office I was asked to give a detailed medical history and then was asked to disrobe for the examination. No, I wasn't given a modest gown but I was mentally prepared for that and I even made a joke about the experience being different than in the US. I sit down on the examination chair/table all ready for my exam the doctor proceeds to take my blood pressure. As we are waiting for the results the doctor takes a seat on her examination stool. As my final blood pressure is displayed to the doctor she peers up from between my legs and asks "is your blood pressure usually this high?" What I really wanted to respond with was "it's only this high because you waited until I was completely disrobed and in the most awkward position possible to actually take my blood pressure. Generally speaking, my blood pressure actually quite normal" but all I managed to murmur at that instant was "no, it's not".


Jennie said...

LOL I'm glad mine doesn't take my blood pressure. My appointments are over in like 5 minutes, and I love it.

Stacy said...

LOL, hilarious! Going to the GYN in Paris may have been the single most traumatizing experience of my life!! No one warned me what it would be like so when the doctor stood there staring at me as I stripped naked in the middle of her office I thought I would die! lol, I guess that's what we get for being American with our hyper sense of modesty :o)

David said...

OK, I have a candid French man's question, but you're not the first American I read/hear about how traumatic the experience can be in France.

What does the gyn do in the US? Just chats and drinks coffee with you?
Or does they look at you in the dark?

Stacy said...

LOL it may as well be in the dark! Here's my US experience:
A nurse/assistant brings you into a private examination room and hands you a hospital gown and a little paper blanket. Then she LEAVES the room, giving you plenty of time (about 5-10 mins) to change, fold and hide your "personal items" (God forbid the Dr sees your underwear laying out), wrap the gown around you, get comfortable on the exam table and cover your legs with the blanket. And at my GYN, they actually have a curtain to divide the room in half so JUST IN CASE the Dr walks in before you're ready she won't see you naked. But they always knock on the door to ask if you're "decent" (ready for her to come in) first. During the exam she pretty much averts her eyes and just chats with you about your job or the weather so you can be a bit more relaxed. Plus you have that blanket covering your lower half (while the gown is securely hiding everything else) so you can't see what she's doing down there and she can't really see you.
LOL its actually pretty funny when you think about it-- such a production. Going to the doctor in France was so shocking for me but really, its probably more efficient :o)

David said...

Americans are hilarious sometimes... (mostly when it comes to nudity)

Isabelle said...

Jasmin, if it can be of any comfort, my blood pressure is always terribly high when my gynécologue takes it.
Although I'm French and perfectly used to this kind of situation, I can't help it.
So here is what I tell my gyn at every visit: "Well, my blood pressure is this high because you scare me to death!!"

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

David, Stacy summed it up pretty well in her comment. The key differences are:
1. there's always a nurse in the room
2. you're given a modesty gown to cover up and given some privacy to undress
3. the nurse takes my blood pressure before I disrobe and asked to assume the position.

It's not so traumatizing it's just a different experience and if you're unaware of that it can be somewhat traumatizing the first time around.

Isabelle, you make me feel much better :)

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

David, I forgot to mention one other big difference. Here in France I'm fully responsible for mailing any test samples to the lab for analysis. In the US that's completely taken care of.

Ducky said...

American clinics have more staff than French doctor offices. Most physicians in France are self-employed and don't want to pay for unnecessary staff.

This is probably part of the reason why a physician visit in France costs considerably less than in the US.

wcs said...

My blood pressure used to be high at the dr's office because I was nervous the first few times.

The dr says to disrobe, which I have to do right in front of his desk while he does stuff on the computer. I don't have to get totally nekkid for my checkups, tho. But still, standing there in socks and boxers (I always wear boxers for the dr visit. TMI?) is a bit weird.

Then to the scale, with the requisite pronouncement of how my weight compares to last time, then on to the table and the blood pressure cuff.

Now that I'm used to the routine, my bp is always quite normal when the dr measures it.

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