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Old 24.03.2011, 15:20
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Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

I just had my annual exam yesterday and would like to confirm if this is the standard protocol of how these visits are 'done' here.

Coming from the States, I'm familiar with ob/gyn visits where the nurse gives me a gown or blanket and politely steps out of the room while I undress in a mad dash, practically racing to get onto the table and under the cover of the blanket before the nurse or doctor return- lest they see me in some contorted position where my bum's hanging out while I balance on one leg trying to pull my jeans, now bunched unyieldingly around my ankles, over my stockinged feet (for fear of them having to touch the bare floor). I would rather do this ridiculous wobbly-legged dance over a pile of my own clothing in an otherwise empty room than to have my bits sitting on that cold plastic chair they place so ominously next to the exam table. Having successfully managed to de-robe without breaking my neck and making the mad dash onto the table and under my gown/blanket- I am now ready for the doctor to arrive (which invariably takes another five to ten minutes ). I remain covered for the duration of the visit until asked to do the bum slide down the table while balancing my body weight onto my ankles which are strapped into the 'stirrups' . Perhaps you're familiar with the bum-slide? The doc says, "Mrs. Agent could you scoot a little closer to the end of the table? And a little more now? There, that'll do." Boy, it's awfully breezy down there handing off the edge of the table. Fortunately, I don't have to actually see any of this as the table is graciously designed in a manner that invites reclining, and thus the avoidance of actually seeing what is about to take place. Before I can attempt small talk with the doc and the omnipresent nurse whose only actual job it seems is to make me feel more comfortable about not being alone with the person who's about to go probing about in my bits, a huge spotlight is switched on and aimed directly between my legs. I feel like asking if this light captures my good side. Instead I'm paralyzed with fear after seeing what I've long ago termed the "duck-billed medieval torture device". That thing goes where!?!? And then you crank it open???!!! Thanks, modern science, thanks. The worst of it is when the doc actually has the gall to ask that I please relax- not bloody likely...
When the torture, erm exam is finished, the blanket is again pulled past my knees, and I'm allowed to stay on the table under the feigned modesty of the fabric while the doc departs. Finally, the wobbly-legged dance is repeated in reverse order and with the last modicum of dignity, I march to the receptionist, saying goodbyes: yes, let's do it again, same time next year, wasn't it a blast, thanks so much.

Alternatively, As I wrote seemingly ages ago, I went to a Swiss doc yesterday. The experience started off fine, got all the preliminary business out of the way with the nurse. I was escorted to the room, where I was told to sit at the desk. The doc arrived, and we had a nice chat about my medical history, the US economy, currency exchanges, whether I wanted more children or not, etc. Then he suggested we get on with the exam, and I could stand on the other side of a milk glass partition wall in order to maintain privacy between myself and the door. He indicated that I should undress from the waist down and sit on the exam table. He remained in the room and went about preparing his tools, etc while I undressed sans gown or blanket and awkwardly walked over to the table- which was more like an oversized armchair with stirrups than any semblance of an exam table. This contraption forces a patient to sit up with knees splayed and witness everything in full HD glory. No sign of a nurse. Just me and the doc and my lady bits having a nice chat about travel preferences and which airline I preferred for long haul flights. Still the speculum, aka Duck-billed weapon of mass torture, is the desired instrument of choice. Chapeau medical science. We can do heart surgery with a camera the size of a pin's head, but this is the best we've got for our lady parts ? At the end of the exam, while still discussing the next appointment, I am instructed to exit the ride, erm leave the chair, and re-dress. At this point, I'm doing my best to try and casually continue conversation while ripping on my pants at break-neck speeds. Alas, while I'm still dressing, the doc comes to shake my hand goodbye . With all the class I could muster, one hand clutching my jeans just barely over my knees, still half-crouched over trying to stay balanced, under-crackers thankfully in place, I reach my free hand out and shake the man's hand.

And the medical profession wonders why we often avoid annual exams...

Now, I must ask: is this really how it's done here? Did I have an unusual experience or is this like other facets of Swiss life that just take some getting used to?
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:22
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

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I just had my annual exam yesterday and would like to confirm if this is the standard protocol of how these visits are 'done' here.

Coming from the States, I'm familiar with ob/gyn visits where the nurse gives me a gown or blanket and politely steps out of the room while I undress in a mad dash, practically racing to get onto the table and under the cover of the blanket before the nurse or doctor return- lest they see me in some contorted position where my bum's hanging out while I balance on one leg trying to pull my jeans, now bunched unyieldingly around my ankles, over my stockinged feet (for fear of them having to touch the bare floor). I would rather do this ridiculous wobbly-legged dance over a pile of my own clothing in an otherwise empty room than to have my bits sitting on that cold plastic chair they place so ominously next to the exam table. Having successfully managed to de-robe without breaking my neck and making the mad dash onto the table and under my gown/blanket- I am now ready for the doctor to arrive (which invariably takes another five to ten minutes ). I remain covered for the duration of the visit until asked to do the bum slide down the table while balancing my body weight onto my ankles which are strapped into the 'stirrups' . Perhaps you're familiar with the bum-slide? The doc says, "Mrs. Agent could you scoot a little closer to the end of the table? And a little more now? There, that'll do." Boy, it's awfully breezy down there handing off the edge of the table. Fortunately, I don't have to actually see any of this as the table is graciously designed in a manner that invites reclining, and thus the avoidance of actually seeing what is about to take place. Before I can attempt small talk with the doc and the omnipresent nurse whose only actual job it seems is to make me feel more comfortable about not being alone with the person who's about to go probing about in my bits, a huge spotlight is switched on and aimed directly between my legs. I feel like asking if this light captures my good side. Instead I'm paralyzed with fear after seeing what I've long ago termed the "duck-billed medieval torture device". That thing goes where!?!? And then you crank it open???!!! Thanks, modern science, thanks. The worst of it is when the doc actually has the gall to ask that I please relax- not bloody likely...
When the torture, erm exam is finished, the blanket is again pulled past my knees, and I'm allowed to stay on the table under the feigned modesty of the fabric while the doc departs. Finally, the wobbly-legged dance is repeated in reverse order and with the last modicum of dignity, I march to the receptionist, saying goodbyes: yes, let's do it again, same time next year, wasn't it a blast, thanks so much.

Alternatively, As I wrote seemingly ages ago, I went to a Swiss doc yesterday. The experience started off fine, got all the preliminary business out of the way with the nurse. I was escorted to the room, where I was told to sit at the desk. The doc arrived, and we had a nice chat about my medical history, the US economy, currency exchanges, whether I wanted more children or not, etc. Then he suggested we get on with the exam, and I could stand on the other side of a milk glass partition wall in order to maintain privacy between myself and the door. He indicated that I should undress from the waist down and sit on the exam table. He remained in the room and went about preparing his tools, etc while I undressed sans gown or blanket and awkwardly walked over to the table- which was more like an oversized armchair with stirrups than any semblance of an exam table. This contraption forces a patient to sit up with knees splayed and witness everything in full HD glory. No sign of a nurse. Just me and the doc and my lady bits having a nice chat about travel preferences and which airline I preferred for long haul flights. Still the speculum, aka Duck-billed weapon of mass torture, is the desired instrument of choice. Chapeau medical science. We can do heart surgery with a camera the size of a pin's head, but this is the best we've got for our lady parts ? At the end of the exam, while still discussing the next appointment, I am instructed to exit the ride, erm leave the chair, and re-dress. At this point, I'm doing my best to try and casually continue conversation while ripping on my pants at break-neck speeds. Alas, while I'm still dressing, the doc comes to shake my hand goodbye . With all the class I could muster, one hand clutching my jeans just barely over my knees, still half-crouched over trying to stay balanced, under-crackers thankfully in place, I reach my free hand out and shake the man's hand.

And the medical profession wonders why we often avoid annual exams...

Now, I must ask: is this really how it's done here? Did I have an unusual experience or is this like other facets of Swiss life that just take some getting used to?
i always wondered what they were for...................
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:24
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

Don't worry, I'm sure he's seen it all before.
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:33
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They don't make use of gowns here and there are no nurses to accompany the doctor. I'm cool with it though, my gynae rocks. I adore her.
Oh and the examining chair my gynae has reclines. She sets it a bit lower than a 45 degree angle.
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:34
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

Had to smile at your post, ZenAgent. Yep, the first visit to a gyne here is one of the classic 'Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore' moments.

What you describe is all perfectly normal, down to the formal handshake.

You'll get used to it.
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:34
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

I find the US to be a lot more conservative and dare I say prudish than Europeans. That is absolutely fine, I think one's modesty and privacy should be respected.
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:35
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

Having seen an unfortunate number of doctors and nurses interested in my "lady parts" since my arrival, I think that while that's not so far off from what I have experienced here, it's not precisely the same either.

I've been to the Basel Unispital as well as two separate GYN. So far, the only time I've had the dubious pleasure of the special new chair was for emergency ultrasound and such in the polyclinic at the Unispital. As it was my first doc visit at all here, poor hubby had to be there to help ensure there were no translation difficulties - I think he's scarred for life, for both the more and the less basic events that took place on that visit.

The chair thing is supposed to be the "latest" though, helps put things a bit more like how they'd be when you're standing and sitting normally, and helps them find things more easily it seems too. Not very dignified, particularly when I could clearly see one of the "student" doctors, who happened to be a very hot guy, peer with extreme interest at what was going on () BUT a lot better for them to get clear picture of things I was told.


So far as the dressing bit. Poor you, I'm sorry for you, can only imagine (although, I'm also sorry to have to admit, it did make me chuckle a little)!

After having been to some "public" pools here, I am not surprised by this though. It seems folks around here are FAR less reserved about nakedness than they are back home in the US. I've learned to do (mostly) as the locals and just go ahead and shower in that communal shower and learned NOT to stare at the ladies using the lawn near the showers to do their topless sunbathing. So, with all that "comfortable" nudity around, I'm not surprised that your doc didn't even think about the possibility that you may be uncomfy. (My two female GYNs though were a bit more discrete than that - but still were more open than my doctors in the US.)
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:39
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

I won't bore you with my visit to the proctologist then
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:46
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

No such luxurious joy for men during a 'well man' check up. You wouldn't believe how inverted Johnson appears when perching on the edge of a papered bench. At least you get a comfy chair. And then there's the cold spoon and the foxy female Doc with the arched eyebrow - medieval tools are the simplest tools - they strike terror in your soul. You girls have it easy.

Then again, no other way about it, really. They're your parts, so you may as well be happy with them. (Although I did once flick a pair of boxer shorts off my foot across the room to land on the chair, earning a "you're not at home now, mate" scowl from foxy Dr N )
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:46
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

I can confirm that I have had the same experience here, although I had no problem with it: I highly doubt my "equipment" is anything special or exciting for the doctor. I guess he's seen it all before.
I always smile when I get the typed note later giving the screening results, with a little handwritten note referring to whatever we discussed about general life, I wonder if a mini CV and life history features on my medical notes!
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:47
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

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No such luxurious joy for men during a 'well man' check up. You wouldn't believe how inverted Johnson appears when perching on the edge of a papered bench. At least you get a comfy chair. And then there's the cold spoon and the foxy female Doc with the arched eyebrow - medieval tools are the simplest tools - they strike terror in your soul. You girls have it easy.

Then again, no other way about it, really. They're your parts, so you may as well be happy with them. (Although I did once flick a pair of boxer shorts off my foot across the room to land on the chair, earning a "you're not at home now, mate" scowl from foxy Dr N )
the lying bastard told me " relax you won`t feel a thing"
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:52
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

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I find the US to be a lot more conservative and dare I say prudish than Europeans. That is absolutely fine, I think one's modesty and privacy should be respected.
Well, my family did descend from the New England Puritans, though I always looked at myself as a bit less inhibited.

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So far as the dressing bit. Poor you, I'm sorry for you, can only imagine (although, I'm also sorry to have to admit, it did make me chuckle a little)!

After having been to some "public" pools here, I am not surprised by this though. It seems folks around here are FAR less reserved about nakedness than they are back home in the US. I've learned to do (mostly) as the locals and just go ahead and shower in that communal shower and learned NOT to stare at the ladies using the lawn near the showers to do their topless sunbathing. So, with all that "comfortable" nudity around, I'm not surprised that your doc didn't even think about the possibility that you may be uncomfy. (My two female GYNs though were a bit more discrete than that - but still were more open than my doctors in the US.)
Don't worry, I howled with laughter as I called my Mom to recount the tale.

I have no problem going native in the swimming pool and gym locker rooms and don't think twice about it. I'm also guilty of topless sunbathing on my terrasse, though we're on the top floor. I'm sure it was just the initial surprise and next time, I'll wear a skirt in order to expedite the dressing/undressing process.
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:54
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

@ZenAgent: thanks for making me laugh - at least you seem to have taken it with the necessary pinch of salt and loads of humour (in retrospect).

I know - you'd really have thunk that medicine could have come up with something slightly more dignified and - errr, discreet! - than the process which we have to go through at least once a year. But, until they find a way of examining our private parts and interior bits by means of inserting a tube down our nose or some other less invasive orifice, I guess there's not a lot we can do about it.

My gyno at least has a little cubicle with a curtain in which his patients can get undressed and he also has a very nice, supposedly calming picture on the ceiling (blue sky and clouds.... that sort of thing) which his guests can contemplate whilst they're being probed. He's also very discreet and friendly, giving me time to get dressed again and then take my place in the visitor's chair at his desk whilst we "discuss" his findings and finish up with a bit of small talk.

Edit or "P.S" - he actually once complimented me on my fallopian tubes!!!
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:55
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

My visit to the gyn was about exactly as you put it.

My doc was really nice though and nothing about the experience really bothered me.

I didn't mind the lack of gowns/blankets once I got used to the fact that it's done like that here and if he's not bothered why should I be.

When he brought out the "device" he said "so now the part that's uncomfortable no matter where you are". Haha! - you're damn right about that
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Old 24.03.2011, 15:57
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

yes.. sounds about right.

It gets really good when you meet him at the parent-teacher meetings at school as well, as "just another parent"..
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Old 24.03.2011, 16:02
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

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It gets really good when you meet him at the parent-teacher meetings at school as well, as "just another parent"..
Now THAT would really throw me off balance
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Old 24.03.2011, 16:03
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

@ ZenAgent: I had the same experience, but never thought it was funny until I read your post . Last summer my husband invited "the boys" for a bbq. It turns out that my gynecologist belonged to the same handball club. Needless to say, it was a bit akward. I'm looking for a female doctor now
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Old 24.03.2011, 16:03
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

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My gyno at least has a little cubicle with a curtain in which his patients can get undressed
Snap! and then you are supposed to walk from the discreet curtain/cubicle area to the chair (5m or so) with nothing on your bottom half (I too made mistake of not wearing a skirt ..) which made me rather wonder why they bothered with the discreet curtain/cubicle area in the first place ....

Alas I made the error of going to a gyne who was recommended by my midwife without first asking where he lived. It turns out he lives in our village and our kids are all in the same school. We seem to particularly bump into one another at the bread van. It took him a couple of times bumping into me before he recognised me .. but I'm guessing that he probably knows me better - ahem - from other parts of my body .....
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Old 24.03.2011, 16:58
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

same experience with the added pleasure of looking casually to my left to see a monitor displaying everything! bad enough to know that lovely instrument was heading towards me, but to have to watch it all with full zoom once the duck bill was opened...and yes, I know I could have looked away but was really so aghast at the whole thing, I simply couldn't!

still no idea where the camera was and I sure wasn't going to ask...but I did look around to make sure no cables were going from the monitor to some hidden recording device. If only the doc would have left the room while I got dressed then I really could have checked!

never thought I would long for a return to my doctor in Canada!
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Old 24.03.2011, 17:05
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Re: Awkward Ob/Gyn Visit- difference between US and Swiss methods?

But of course you wear a skirt. Otherwise you also have the sock- question - on or off? On the one hand, they're not really in the way, so to speak. On the other hand, it does look a bit funny when you're half-naked with just socks on. So what do you do?

Therefore, just wear a skirt and important, pantyhose - stockings pose the same dilemma.
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