Notice to Our Readers: In the near future, we will be halting publication of new contentin the Significato Journal. It's been a lovely experience, but we have found that with limited time, we need to focus our efforts in new directions (which include book publishing). We'll be leaving some content on the site in an archived status. We'll move other content to our personal websites (https://peterfalkenbergbrown.com and https://kimmysophiabrown.com (Kim's website is not ready yet)). When that process is completed, we'll send out a final email to our SJ subscribers and invite you all to subscribe to our individual subscription lists. More to come... [Peter and Kim - February 13, 2020]
The Berenstain Bears Visit the Gynecologist
Oct 12, 1998
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
A blow torch
A live lobster with clicking pincers
Cue Cards that say:
"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
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.
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