I went to a dermatologist this morning to have a mole removed and a small skin lump checked out. My referring doctor said this dermatology practice is the best in Pittsburgh. However, I really am getting more and more disillusioned with medical practice as we know it.
As soon as I walked in, I was bombarded by ads for skin medicine. As usual in a doctor's office, the clipboard on which I filled out my patient info was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. As I checked out, I saw one ad that said "22% of teenage girls say they suffer from depression because of acne." So then? Give them this drug. Whatever happened to combatting self-centeredness by serving God and others?

Now this post is going to jump all over the place, but that is how my mind is going. We saw my neighbor - she works in the office! That was pretty fun. She has a five year old son named Jonathan and we see him playing in the street with the other kids all the time.

We had to wait a pretty long time, so by the time I got called in, Jonathan needed to nurse, but of course he was interrupted several times because of people coming in and out. By the time the doctor came to examine me, he had already explored the room, and pushed all rolling items to the other side of the room. And then he was just ready to be held.

By the way, paper examining "gowns" are really annoying. It rubbed on my sensitive nursing nipples. And the fabric doesn't give when I try to hold my baby. Jonathan wanted to eat it, and he tore the shoulder apart. I fixed that with some bandage tape, since it was impossible to wear in that condition. It didn't do much to cover me while he was nursing, or being held, or really any time. So I really was mostly naked during the whole visit.

Anyway, Jonathan was fussy by the time the doctor came to see me, only wanting to be held. This made it hard to examine me, but really it should not have been too bad. She told me to watch a few of my moles, and to wear sunscreen if I'm going to be out more than 15 minutes. And also "of course the little guy should have it all the time." I was really in no mood to argue, but I think people are too afraid of sunshine. (see my mom's post about that one)

She said she wanted to take a biopsy of the bump, and that the procedure and anesthetic for removing that mole would not have adverse affects on Jonathan (boy, I really hope I can trust her on that.) She said to set up an appointment for that.

I assumed that that was just the way they do things, but when Jan, my neighbor, came in the room and offered to play with Jonathan while the doctor did the procedures, I realized that she just thought that Jonathan was in the way and I should come back another time without him! By then, he had had some milk, so he was ready to go play with the nurses, so I agreed - it's easier to have one appointment than two!

When the other nurse came in to set up the instruments, she mentioned that the doctor was pumping - I had heard from another patient that she had just had a baby four months before (scheduled c-section, by the way.) When she came in, she was very matter-of-fact and business-like. I don't think she really liked me (or Jonathan.) Was it because she was feeling guilty for leaving her baby and going back to work? Did she just think that I should have left Jonathan with someone else, "like everyone else does"?

They had another (male) doctor come in to observe, and I decided not to object, though my reason for picking the female in the practice was because this mole is under my breast. (But of course most of me was quite visible anyway because of that "gown")

I hate getting anesthetic, though I guess it's better than having part of me cut off while I can feel it... She wasn't 100% sure she got the bump in the biopsy - "if you notice it's still there after it's healed, let me know and we'll do it again" But I think the mole removal went well. The biopsy has one stitch so I have to go in next week to get that removed.

Jonathan had a fun time with Jan, she read him Clifford and gave him a pretzel (with my permission.)

So, back to male doctors and leaving babies to go to work. A friend mentioned to me (while I was trying to decide about male vs. female practitioners for Jonathan's birth) that one reason to have male doctors is so the women can be home with their kids. My favorite family doctor is back working now, after her maternity leave. I feel bad making an appointment with her (and I haven't yet.) Though I do think that she only works one or two days a week. Should I boycott female doctors who have to be away from their kids to see me? If everyone who felt strongly about mothers being home with their kids did this, would it make a difference? Of course, some people in that category boycott doctors all together. (:

So, in addition to the feeling I have that the doctor doesn't really like me, I'm not so sure I like her. I mean, being seen by her. I'll go back to get the stitch out, but I'll look at my other options if I ever need another mole removed. I wonder if there are more natural type dermatologists anywhere.
Posted by Heather Daley on October 21, 2004, 1:27 pm | Read 8654 times
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Don't let the world discourage you from taking your children with you as much as possible! Nothing is better for their "socialization" than interacting with the world in your presence, and observing how you interact with others. It will get easier when you have older children who have learned the discipline of sitting quietly, and who can entertain a baby, so you don't have to depend on kindly nurses. As for boycotting female doctors who you think should be home with their children...I wouldn't. You know I'm a great believer in liberty. If I don't want childrearing choices forced on me, I'd better not be trying to impose my choices on someone else. It's somewhat like freedom of religion: gentle persuasion is good, coercion is bad, and liberty of conscience is essential.
Posted by SursumCorda on October 22, 2004, 11:00 am

I just had a great idea! Those gowns used to be made of cloth. They still were a pain, but not as bad as the paper ones. You're a clever and inventive seamstress; why don't you design and make a comfortable, cloth gown that would both facilitate the examination and preserve modesty? Then you could bring it with you whenever you go to the doctor. You could even design it to facilitate nursing. I see a potential home business here....
Posted by SursumCorda on October 22, 2004, 2:49 pm

They still have cloth ones in hospitals, so I hear, even nursing not-so-unfriendly ones. But paper for examining rooms. Good idea about making and bringing my own!
Posted by Joyful on October 22, 2004, 4:23 pm
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