We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
While enduring an implant at the dentist ("implantologist") the other day I was distracting myself by contemplating similar situations of shame, vulnerability, or potential humiliation in which we sometimes must put ourselves. Usually, at the dentist, I distract myself with thoughts about sex or politics, so this was a different approach.
I'll lreveal some of my moments of unpleasant self-revelation or exposure:
- the Dentist. You sit or lie there helpless while some guy struggles with the most disgusting things he can find in your oral cavity
- annual physical. Take your clothes off while some guy or gal tries as hard as they can to find defects. Not to mention a Gyn exam...
- Pooping in a public bathroom. Sooner or later in life you just have to stop caring about your noises.
- Disrobing with a new lover. I can vaguely remember that.
- Psychological nakedness, as with a Psychiatrist. "Now, why not tell me the things about yourself that you don't want to tell me? It might save a lot of time." That is like "Take all your clothes off and the doctor will be with you shortly."
- Oral examinations. Not dental, real oral exams as in college or grad school. Being quizzed by a panel of profs is far more daunting than a paper exam because it's personal and feels - is - more exposing. In med school orals, they just pushed you on every topic until you said "I don't know." Their goal was to discover your limits.
Enlistment physical exam was conducted in a room with half dozen doctors and 40-50 other naked guys and you stood in line and walked forward to each doctor as they finished the guy in front of you.
I now get my skin cancer exam every three months since the last melanoma was removed. They give you one of those hospital gowns but it is difficult to hide anything and almost makes you feel more exposed.
My last hernia exam. The doctor couldn't detect it so called in another doctor who used more force to try to find it. I can tell where it is if I pick up something heavy or have trouble going #2.
And the one that still confounds logic to me even today is when I was about 6-8 years old (1950) my brother and I would go to the Boys Club to swim. For some reason every boy swam naked. We took a shower and stood in a cold line waiting as they opened the door to the pool. I have no clue why we had to swim naked. It didn't really bother me. But there is a funny story: On Thursdays the pool was used by the girls from the Girls Club. They didn't have a pool. Our pool was through a couple of locked doors so you couldn't sneak in. But there was a very small balcony which was usually looked. One Thursday the balcony door was unlocked. I snuck through to the balcony and peeked over the top and... Dammit all the girls were in bathing suits. What the hell! That was the day I began wondering why we had to swim naked.
Laughing til I cry here on my couch reading this aloud to my husband! I went to grade school and junior high school in the 70s. Girls and boys had separate swimming and gym class - as well they should today in my opinion - and , yep, the boys swam naked! My husband is five years older and came to my school in junior high, 7th grade (didn't know him then). He has entertained many dinner party guests with this naked swimming fact. We, too, never got a satisfying reason for that regulation. Oh the laughs we girls had at the boys expense!
You obviously have never had problems with your Gastro-intestinal tract. Lying on your side with a hose in your rear, in walks a beautiful early 30's nurse, to assist the Dr. That was just one test, I could go on, for quite a while.
Oh yeah I had that one too and forgot about it. But they did put me under for that.
I also had a TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate). I was under for that one too but the surprise is that they leave a catheter in for a week and the doctor later referred to it as "the fire hose of catheters". That was not a fund week. But the embarrassment came when I had the catheter removed. The three women in the staff seemed jovial or jocular that day. I went in and dropped trou and lay back and this young "girl" (well I was 72 maybe she was 22) came in and manipulated me and the fire hose to remove the catheter. I swear they were all still smiling when I left. I'm guessing that the young lady was new and she was just as embarrassed as I was and that is what was causing their mirth.
I must lack a sense of privacy, because none of these scenarios is daunting to me. But just ask me to say something charming and amusing to a crowd of people, as in giving a toast at a wedding reception--no way! Though I'd cheerfully stand up in front of a crowd of any size to give any prepared remarks, especially on a technical subject not likely to arouse emotions.
Several years ago (10) I had a urine test which showed I had some small amount of blood in my urine. My Doctor suggested a Cystoscopy. Ok. The male Doctor had two female assistants. So much for dignity. I shouldn't need to explain that they place you in an extremely vulnerable position. After he had satisfied himself along with the two assistants that I had no signs of cancer or infection he asked if I'd like to see what a healthy bladder looked like. "Why not. Everyone else has", I replied. That and a colonoscopy later, I feel like I can handle anything they throw at me. I do still prefer a male Internist.
Ditto the oral exams in grad school. A punishing few hours for my PhD defense until finally the head of the department said Ok, that's enough...why don't you step out of the room while we talk this over. So I did, and a few of my fellow grad students were in the hall with a Stanley thermos full of scotch. I had a couple of very long gulps and when they called me back in for the decision I was actually more coherent than when I left. Needless to say, I passed and when I walked back out the Stanley was re-filled and the night began!!