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The Berenstain Bears Visit the Gynecologist

Oct 12, 1998
Kimmy Sophia Brown
I was reading my little boy a bedtime story the other night, entitled, "The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist." This book is recommended reading for children before going to the dentist. It paints a picture of a sweet guy with a fun chair and interesting tools, and the whole visit turns out happily ever after.

One of the reasons people don't find out about maladies developing in their bodies is that visits to the doctor are so unpleasant. More people would go if it was easier. I propose that Stan and Jan Berenstain write a series for adults that could psychologically, "take the worry out of being close", that occurs in many types of procedures.

For example, my experiences visiting the Ob/Gyn usually include a long wait in a room filled with anxious faced women glancing at their wristwatches. When my name is finally called, I'm taken to a chilly room with a stainless steel table in it. Metal stirrups attached at one end, gleam in the fluorescent light like descendants of the tools of the Inquisition. A paper "gown" sits on the table and I'm advised to "slip this on" and wait for the doctor. I fold my clothes in a neat pile on a chair, don the drafty, enormous paper towel and try to act nonchalant. It's hard to be nonchalant dressed in a paper towel with big gaps. I practice various styles of greeting while I'm waiting for the doctor, like, "What's up Doc?"

The periods of waiting are almost worse than the procedure. I scan the table of medical instruments:

A car jack

Ice cubes

A harpoon

A blow torch

A live lobster with clicking pincers

Cue Cards that say:

"Relax"

"Can you scoot down more?"

"This might feel cold."

"This might pinch."

"Are you feeling an adequate dose of total humiliation and misery, as I probe you while I am fully dressed and you lay there like an animal preparing for slaughter?"

After scanning the equipment, there are usually diagrams of reproductive organs, spleens or fat cells to stare at, or brochures to read such as, "The Pap Smear is My Friend".

I don't know what can be done to humanize the whole experience more. I would paper the ceiling with frescoes from the Sistine Chapel so that patients have something beautiful and calming to look at. If it were up to me I'd provide cotton gowns that fit people larger than Olive Oyl. Maybe turn up the heat too. I might make the doctor wear an outfit with his hiney sticking out as a gesture of solidarity.

Whatever method we use, there has to be a way to help people feel more confident about doctor visits. As Bill Cosby said, "As long as you don't go [for a medical exam] you don't know if you have 'it'. As long as they don't tell you you have 'it', you don't have 'it'. You only have 'it' when they tell you." Mystifying logic!

I propose Stan and Jan write:

The Berenstain Bears Visit the Proctologist
The Berenstain Bears Have a Colonoscopy
The Berenstain Bears Have a Prostate Exam
The Berenstain Bears Try on a Prosthetic Limb
The Berenstain Bears Have a Mammogram

It may not totally solve the problem, but it couldn't hurt!

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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