Friday, March 25, 2011

Does the Doctor Have to Look There?

Poor Austynn. He had his annual physical yesterday at Children's Hospital in Denver.

He has to go in once a year because he's in an Autism Spectrum study and it's a requirement through the hospital.  I don't know that I would call it a true physical; however, he was so worked up that someone was going to "look" at his privates that he was melting down all over the room prior to the actual "event".  All this young doctor did was peek to make sure he had a cue stick and a couple of balls.

In my day, it seemed like a full invasion of privacy. I started squirming the week before and was hanging over the toilet bowl the morning of. I dreaded it more than Potato Hamburger Helper and at least with this hanus meal, there was no forewarning. No thinking about it in advance. Just walk in the kitchen door after a nice afternoon of playing tag or riding bikes and BOOM - the awful, nauseating aroma of dehydrated potatoes trying to get re-hydrated in a bubbling pot of ground beef.

My physicals were crime scenes (that doesn't quite sound right but I refuse to edit that statement) and because I inherited the genes of women who started maturing at the gentle ages of ten, eleven, and twelve, they were excruciatingly embarrassing for me.

My sisters and I were raised to be extremely modest. We didn't undress in front of one another or our mother. We didn't discuss anything sexual. To be honest, I didn't exactly understand how babies were made until I watched a Discovery program in my mid teens. So, imagine my mortification, every other year (mom was a stickler for our health), when I had to visit our family pediatrician and go through a full physical exam.  It wasn't just a peek - it was poke, insert, and an "oh my gosh is this really happening".  All of this while my mom was discussing the whys and what fors of personal hygiene.  Of course, to add to the agony, it was a male doctor. 

As I sit here typing this, I'm still traumatized and I can barely pick up my coffee and drink it without dribbling it down my chin.  My apologies.  I need to stop typing and find my Valium.


Jenn W. said...

My parents were very open about the body and its functions so I never had that level of embarrassment. I hate those exams because they are extremely uncomfortable (I think the speculum should be labeled an instrument of torture) so I can empathize, but that's what the doctor is trained for and I'd rather the doctor be thorough than miss anything because of a mostly useless emotion on my part. I also happen to be a classically trained artist/illustrator. Naked bodies in my face 8 hours a day every other day for four years of college. Yeah, yawn. Where's my sketch pad? ;)

Pat said...

It really is hard to get past some of the things we were brought up with. You can tell that this country was founded by puritans. The rest of the world really must snicker at how scandalous we find nudity and sex. This is why I have to deal with snickering when I lead scouts through the museum of art and they see a "gasp" penis or "*swoon* breasts. Lord knows what they would do if they saw two dogs making puppies.

Bri Potts said...

I totally agree with you both. That's why to this day, I will answer any question that the boys ask and bring up every topic as they arise (pardon the pun).

I can't believe how little I knew growing up. My naivity placed me into some horrible situations as a young girl. I swore my boys would know what was going on with their bodies and how to defend themselves from predators.

The body is a beautiful thing and nothing to be ashamed of. Those early doctor visits were so awful because I was so modest and didn't know anything. If most parents knew then what they know now...

Pat said...

IMO the body is by and large an unimpressive thing. It's natural state of hairiness, stinkiness, sweatiness and blemishes have to constantly be combated by a shaving, plucking, brushing, bathing and primping by host of products in order to meet the standards of society. I wanted to tell the snickering scout. "It's a penis. So what? Half the planet has one." (But, I couldn't do that. Oh no. Can't say penis to a cub scout. *Swoon/faint*)

The fascination with looking at someone's privates comes from the fact that we're not supposed to. Take away the social taboo and you realize that people in this country spend SO much time and money trying to look at the place where people pee or poo from. Umm, gross.

Bri Potts said...


Pat said...

Ack, poor grammar. Too much editing without proofreading. Sorry all.