A Thong To Remember

For the From Left to Write Book Club we read Anthony Youn's memoir In Stitches , a really human and funny look into the training of a medical doctor who discovers his passion is plastic surgery. This post is inspired by the book.

I have had a lot of rather embarrassing moments with doctors, most of which include med students or residents. We all have them, I know, but since I think that making fun of myself is generally the best way to handle all situations, I like to tell my stories. Most people tend to keep it to themselves.

When it comes to doctor's appointments, I'm pretty open. I'm fine with residents taking part in my care (hey, they have to learn, right?) and I always live by the mantra of "I cannot be the worst they have seen. There is no way I can possibly stand out." But, when I was reading Youn's memoir, my thoughts were shattered when he writes about the patient he saw on his ob-gyn rotation who had six toes. This woman made it into his book.

Back when I was running a ton (around 2005ish), I started to have issues with my knee, so I went to a Sports Medicine doctor to find out what was going on. When I was shown to my room, the nurse turned to ask if I had brought shorts. “Um, no. No one told me to bring shorts,” was my lame reply.

How did I not think of this?!?! I had even considered bringing a pair that morning, I should have known it was protocol. How did I expect them to get a good look at my KNEE in dress PANTS? I brought my running shoes, I brought my exercise diary, I was otherwise prepared. Except for shorts.

Instead, I was handed a backless gown and told to undress. The doctor (an adorable young female doctor) entered the room with a med student (also a good looking woman) in tow. She asked if I'm alright with the student sticking around, to which I agreed. The exam started in a basic enough way... I stood in front of them, on one leg, then the other. All the while, they stared at my knees and legs. Then she asked me to walk toward them. And then away. IN A BACKLESS GOWN. The walk away happened twice, my doctor wanted to be sure to point out my glutes (as in my butt) to the shadowing med student. Mortification is not even the word. Why? I was wearing a thong IN A BACKLESS GOWN. Not a cute thong, or some type of coverage thong, but a string Victoria’s Secret disaster of a thong. Old, cotton, discolored. And let's just say I was not bikini ready, if you know what I mean.

So, after the walking, I was asked to perform squats and lunges. Then back to the standing on one leg and then standing in place as they checked me out from every angle to gage my posture and core strength as they tried to push me over while asking me to stand as straight as possible and resist the pushing... in a thong and backless gown. Then came the fun stuff: "Lay on your back, let’s check your flexibility," she said.

“Wow, you’re flexible!” as my leg was being pushed literally behind my head with my knee bent up and then moved to either side. Then she straightened my leg, one hand on the back of my thigh, the other on my lower leg and pushed. Imagine, if you will, doing the splits while laying on your back... in a thong. The doctor pushing above, the med student looking on amazed at my flexibility. Gripping at my flimsy little gown to cover anything became hopeless.

"This is incredible," they both kept muttering.

“Yup. I've always been really flexible. You know, I really wish I had brought shorts. You don’t have any for the patients, do you? You might want to direct the front desk to work that in when people are making appointments, because I really wish they told me to,” was my pathetic reply as they continued to push my legs in every possible direction.

I am flexible. I'm crazy flexible. It also leads me to be injury prone. I roll my ankle over anything. My knees hyper-extend like a Barbie's. But, being stretched in a thong is never flattering. I just told myself that this doctor would never remember me and I would never see her again, that it was all rather routine. She was really sweet about it, nothing to be ashamed of. I mean, they've seen lady parts. They have them, right? And isn't that part of the whole med school thing?

Flash forward a couple years, I'm at the Gala that I manage. There are 2,000 guests and 400 volunteers and who do I see? Yup, the doctor. We make eye contact and I immediately turn and walk in the other direction. Something tells me a little voice inside of her said, "There is that strangely flexible woman with the terrible thong. Why the hell didn't she bring shorts?"

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of In Stitches. To see how other bloggers were inspired by this book, visit From Left To Write.


Thien-Kim aka Kim said...

You think by now someone would have invented something better than the backless gowns! Thanks for being so candid and sharing your story.

Nicki said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one with embarrassing moments and a gross lack of common sense. We have a lot in common...not the flexibility part... ;)

JennieB said...

I can't believe this hasn't happened enough times for them to keep extra shorts around! I might have snuck out of the room :)

Christine said...

I FORGOT YOU SAW HER AT THE GALA. that makes the story so much better.

Anthony Youn, MD said...

Great story!
Thank you for reading my book. It's funny, but there are always a handful of patients doctors remember for their entire career. I hope you are not one of those for the docs who saw you!


Haha! This is hilarious! When I was pregnant, I was in so many uncomfortable situations in regards to undergarments that I am TOTALLY free with my stuff at this point. I don't think anything can embarrass me anymore!

Melissa said...

Thank you, on behalf of all female, thong-wearing, injury-prone, running females. I will always remember to bring a pair of shorts to the orthopedic doc!