This will just be one of those posts where I ponder aloud about something awkward that happened to me today. It’s like I go through life with a big ball and chain, and the ball is Awkward. It’s not just that it’s cumbersome & awkward to carry around (although it is); I mean the ball is awkward personified and rather than let it sit there unnoticed, I
usually find a way to push Awkward into areas that even IT doesn’t want to go.

I knew a year ago that I had a dermatology appointment today. I knew a month ago when I sat nervously in the office wanting the doctor to biopsy something new on my face that I’d be back in a mere month’s time. I knew yesterday when the receptionist called (twice) to remind me of my appointment at 3:15 today, and I even knew last night before I left work when I told my assistant to remind me of my appointment this afternoon. I just didn’t remember THIS MORNING which is when I shower, dress & primp for the day. I didn’t remember this afternoon either until Assistant said,

“Miss (um…) Erica?!? Aren’t you supposed to be somewhere?”
“Ohmygod… Yes!! Yes I am!!!”

And I checked my calendar and saw that I’d make it there in time and not even be late and full of
excuses!

I checked in and waited with all of the other responsible people who ALSO made it to their appointments on time and wondered what all the idiots out there who were currently missing their appointments were doing obliviously with their time. I was proud to not be included in their ranks for once.

The nurse called me back and I silently thought of nice words to tell Doc to thank him for my recent negative biopsy. (It’s always nice to thank others even of they didn’t actually force a desired outcome, right?) Then sweet little
nurse confirmed that I was there for my annual head-to-toe checkup that people with pale freckle scary skin get every year so that Doc can find things before they become a problem. “Here’s your gown and a cover, and we’ll be back in a few minutes.” <Smile> I smiled back but I slowly realized that I’D FOUND A PROBLEM and the following words escaped my mouth…

“Ohmygod!!! I can’t do this! I don’t know how else to say this but… (Very sheepishly) I. Forgot. To. Shave. My. Legs.” And the nurse looked relieved. And I grew more panicky.
“Honey, it’s ok. Everybody says that!”
“Oh, no, Honey!! I really mean it!! I mean it’s cold, ya know? And it’s just me.
And nobody else sees it but me & I just haven’t had time, ya know? I mean, it’s been like a really REALLY long time, and it’s not even prickly now… It’s… It’s… It’s SOFT!!!!!”
She politely laughed and said, “It’s fine! He’s not going to care!”
“But, but, I went to HIGH SCHOOL WITH HIM! I mean, I KNOW him! And I’ll see him
again before next year’s appointment. I mean… It’s. that. BAD!!”

Aaaaand she left. And I stared at the gown. And I got so self-absorbed and self
conscious that I forgot all the professionalism that this guy had acquired
through years of training and hard work, and I set my mission as one to strictly
save face. I didn’t care if I had a lopsided grotesque mole somewhere that I
couldn’t see because I could no longer see the forest for the trees that WAS the
hair on my legs. Plan concocted and set, I waited patiently for the doc (whose kid is in my kid’s
class… and Cub Scout group… and basketball league) to enter the room. Door
opened… Brief pause… And then a belly laugh from the sweet nurse when she
saw me sitting there (like the hairy cat who’d just eaten the canary) wearing
the paper robe… + socks + pants.

Doc looked at us wondering what he’d missed. I asked about the wife & asked
about the kids and then kinda winked at Nurse who obviously felt she’d just
breached some professional ethics code by laughing at a vulnerable patient. I then explained that despite what my chart indicated, I was only going to need him to check HALF of my body today because unfortunately the other half came close to resembling the nastiest hairiest man he’d ever encountered. Doc assured me I was being dramatic and so I probably should’ve left it alone, but instead I gave him the stink eye. Probably feeling irritated that I would even consider him breaching ethics & making fun of me to everyone in our common social circles, he proceeded to explain that he isn’t even allowed to tell anyone anything about a patient for privacy reasons.

“Oh, PLEASE,” I thought AND said. “I get it. I KNOW you won’t say anything but you’re
going to THINK it!”
“I’m not even allowed to THINK it,” he tried to reassure me.

Unconvinced and unpersuaded to remove the pants that would expose my Quasimoto lower half, I explained to him that his natural reaction would be to recoil and think of nothing else the next time he saw me. I’m completely self-absorbed when I get self-conscious, and there isn’t a person on the planet that can talk me down sometimes.

BING! An idea came to mind and it shot out of my mouth before I could stop it…

“Do you see many hippies, Doc? Because this is acceptable if someone were a hippie. It’s only embarrassing to me because I am NOT a hippie, but I can pretend to be one in order to get through this exam. TELL me that there’s a hippie commune within 30 miles and you are their primary physician, Doc.”
“Um, NO.”

WHY DIDN’T HE LIE?!? I think he regretted it the minute the words came out of his mouth, but obviously the guy can’t lie. He probably did well during his psychiatric rotation though because he seems comfortable in enclosed spaces with complete wack jobs. He offered alternatives: I could simply skip the bottom half if I was uncomfortable and he noted that he hadn’t previously found anything with which to be concerned on my legs (or feet.. or toes the last time I made him check them too) I shot him down with the notion that I’d simply worry for AN ENTIRE YEAR now that cancer was growing somewhere on the back of my leg where I couldn’t see it. “Well, it’s simple then,” he stated. I’ll check the top, then you can go home, shave your legs, come back, and THEN I’ll check your legs.” JEEZ! Don’t be RIDICULOUS! That’s crazy. I can’t do that! (Because I’ll probably forget the next appointment + pay for TWO office visits which I simply cannot do. I’m pretty sure I already owe you money anyway, Doc. Let’s not compound the problem here!)

Sooo… Sloooooooowly…. Ever so caaaaaarefully…… I pulled up the cuff of my pant leg and well, lookie there! For the 1st time in ages I chose to wear those cute little unprofessional knee socks with the bulldogs on them since they were hidden by my BOOTS that I hadn’t planned to remove. It took five whole seconds for Doc to comb through the brush in search of something unsightly (other than my hair) that needed to be removed. “All done,” Nurse Honey said. And I was relieved. I don’t have cancer anywhere obvious, but most importantly I didn’t have to take off my pants in front of someone who I’d see again probably within a week because by this time I’d just realized that I was wearing the kind of 10 yr old underwear that my momma taught me NEVER to wear in case I were to get in a wreck and end up in the hospital.

Such are the woes of living in a small city, but there are plus sides too. When I checked out at the front counter, I ran into a nice lady that used to work for us in the family business. We were catching up and giggling when the sweet nurse who had to endure my awkward exam came to apologize to me, Bless Her Heart!!! She apologized for laughing, and then I apologized for making her feel like she had to apologize and assured her that laughing is what makes me more comfortable so I guess that’s why I do it. I push my big awkward ball away and stumble over it until I find people who will giggle with me and then I drag it with me again to our next stop. I’m thankful for people like my doc who are nice and professional and would never even consider telling anyone about my hairy legs. I have my big awkward ball with me at all times though so I’ll just end up telling everyone myself. Like on the internet.

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