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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?
"If at first you don't succeed... so much for skydiving." - Henry Youngman
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