Friday, October 8, 2010

Do you hear what I hear?

Dear CNN,

I usually skim your web page a few times a day, and noticed your health headline yesterday on "Secrets you shouldn't keep from your OB/GYN". Since I personally don't need the services of an OB/GYN, however, I didn't read it.

This, as my reader Webhill later pointed out to me, was a serious mistake.

Most of the article was fairly helpful, inoffensive, medical info. But it was the last paragraph that got Webhill's (and my) attention.

Quoting Dr. Lissa Rankin (OB/GYN): "When a woman comes into my office, we sit on two red leather chairs across from each other. I give them a hug. I offer them a cup of tea. I ask them, 'if your vagina had a voice, what would it say?' "

WOW!

I've been a neurologist for quite a few years, but it's NEVER occurred to me to ask what a brain, spinal cord, or carpal tunnel would say. Maybe I'm just being remiss. I've never offered patients tea, either, and I don't have leather chairs.

Talking vaginas are nothing new. The movie "Chatterbox" (1977, starring Candy Rialson) was (I swear!) based on the premise of a woman with a talking vagina. The vagina was talented and went on to a singing career (REALLY!). It was sort of "Deep Throat" in reverse (uh, um, I mean, that's what I've heard).





But back to your topic. I took an informal poll of women I know, and posed the same question. I received several answers:

"It says it wished it hadn't pushed out four kids. C-sections are starting to look better and better as I sag."

"No more fucking pantyhose! I need some air!"

"Eat me!"

"It would say you are a whack job, please forward a copy of my records to my home address at your earliest convenience."

"Hello?!!! Why the hell are you talking to a vagina?"





Another point that a (unidentified) member of Dr. Pissy's staff made: "You know the tiny little cover-nothing-but-a-few-pubes paper things that we have to put on at the GYN? They don't cover your butt AT ALL. So if I'm sitting bare-assed on a leather chair, MY vagina is going to ask if the chair gets sanitized between patients."

I think this is also something a female doctor could get away with, that a guy couldn't (which is interesting, because you interviewed a female doc, but had a picture of a male one). Let's face it: Take away the medical atmosphere, and you've got 2 people in leather seats who've just hugged, one has bought the other a drink, and now wants to talk to the others genitals.

Obviously, I don't have a vagina. But, let's say I went to a doctor: He puts me in a comfy chair, offers me a Diet Coke, tries to hug me (I don't think that's going to happen) and then says, "So, Ibee, if your penis could talk, what would it say?" (Does that sound like a pick-up line from a gay bar?).

My mouth (not my winkie) would likely say "Get away from me!" grab my pants, and be grateful he hadn't gotten to the turn-your-head-and-cough part. Tell me this- if a male urologist asked guys that, would you feature it in an article about good medical practice?

I have nothing against Dr. Rankin. I'm sure she's an excellent physician, with far better taste in office furnishings and beverages than me (the red leather chairs, by the way can be seen on her blog. It's called "owningpink.com". Honest!). But I personally would be a little skittish of doctors wanting to have a conversation with my nether regions.

Yours truly,

Ibee Grumpy, M.D.

61 comments:

apotential said...

I can't help but imagine what would happen if I tried that line of questioning during my next standardized patient exam..

lacedinblack said...

If I was asked that question, my response would include the phrase "please refer me to someone less crazy, you will never be going anywhere near my mimsy because you're a nutjob".

There's a difference between making the patient feel at ease (i.e. not asking intimate questions while they're sat in the stupid gown on the exam couch) and just being a bit weird. You could achieve the same by letting them get dressed and then asking sensible questions.

The Mother said...

I hate casual Fridays at the bank. So I guess hugging my gyn is probably right out.

At least in his office. When he comes over for dinner, we hug all the time.

I guess that's the point. There's a professionalism required in the doc's office. Even if you know a patient personally, you don't cross that line in an office. That's just inviting a lawsuit.

Cyndi said...

I saw a female GYN once and not only was she creepy, she was condescending. I guess owning a vagina of her very own made her an expert on the woes of my vagina. Our vaginas had bitchy competitive co-worker syndrome all by themselves. (Not saying this is true of all female GYN's - just the one I saw.)

Now I only see male GYNs and my vagina is much less defensive. It doesn't have to prove itself - it's just a body part. Also, my ovaries and, at the time, my uterus didn't feel left out at the taco festival.

Mr Mobius said...

Her blog itself is the most uncomfortably cheesy Sex and the City-esque blog I've ever seen.
I've no problems with talking about vaginas (med student = having to be) but the way some people choose to talk about them as if they are more special than other body systems - including the brain/mind - is just blood weird.

Coincidentally, word verification is nutatami. Seems quite apt.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I can kinda see her purpose of talking to patients clothed and sitting in actual chairs, as opposed to the patient naked with a paper gown with feet in stirrups. The patient is in a less submissive position in the former scenario. But hugging patients and asking the ridiculous vagina question is demeaning and creepy.

Anonymous said...

That's almost as creepy as the male doctor, who, because I was a bit tense during the exam, suggested that the next time I come in for an exam I should first go to dinner with my husband and have a few glasses of wine so I would loosen up.

CrownedwithVictory said...

Dr. Pissy's unidentified staff comment made me laugh so hard because it is exactly what I think! Thanks for the laugh this morning.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could visit her on her book tour! Or buy her book, but that is just creepy. My doctor does a consultation in her office but no hugs and no tea and no talking body parts. I appreciate her for that! In my experience, most obgyn's don't have the time to chit chat because they are often running to deliver a baby.

damigiana said...

The key idea is at least 250 years old.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_bijoux_indiscrets
I read the book as an adolescent and found it hilarious.

Anonymous said...

"Gosh, Doc, If your brain could talk would it have asked that?"

Kyla said...

You know some women with VERY funny vaginas.

Kim Kasch said...

Well, I'll just say it's a whole lot easier for me to say what my spinal cord might say.

ER's Mom said...

So does she have Vagina Dialogues?

Just wondering?

Jane said...

Do you think she bills extra for the hugs and tea? How would you code that on an insurance form?

Also, anybody who anthropomorphizes my cooter ain't coming anywhere near it. That goes for boys as well as docs.

Jonquil said...

My neuro does say "If your brain had a voice, what would it say?"

Oh, wait, he says "How are you doing? How have things gone since your last visit?"

I like to think my vagina would say "The mouth is UP THERE."

Anonymous said...

I am laughing too hard to think. People here think I have lost it. Great way to end a week, by the way have you made plans for the weekend.

The Shrone said...

I was a teen with ulcerative colitis, and I was often a patient in teaching hospitals. I recall one morning a young physician-of-sorts coming in and asking me: How are your bowels today? To which I replied: I don't know, I haven't asked them. (In my defense, I may or may not have been receiving copious amount of Demerol.)

Li'l Azathoth said...

"I don't know. It doesn't speak English, and I don't speak Finnish."

Fishhooks said...

Oh. My. God. If a doctor ever said this to me, I would run, not walk, to the nearest exit.

Anonymous said...

"Usually, it just lets my left elbow do all the talking."

Anonymous said...

I would be too busy RUNNING for the door. Reminds me of that GYN clinic in the UK that posted pics of hot men on the ceiling for the women to stare at during their exams. I would run then too.

Anonymous said...

"Let's call up one of your girlfriends and become a singing quartet."

Mrs. Patty said...

Mine would say "Hey, doc, do you have a hamburger I can have?"

Anonymous said...

"My neighbor is an asshole!"

Anonymous said...

"I don't care if you're driving! I demand to be shaved NOW!!!!!"

Eileen said...

On a parallel though less funny track - I was once asked by a nurse "Has your tummy worked today?"

I used to teach medical English to German medical students. The other course, taught by a doctor, dealt with reading publications of all sorts in medical/scientific speak. I did a bit of market research and discovered what they really wanted was to know how not to embarrass themselves when on a placement in an English-speaking country - i.e. how to talk to patients. I hope they did better than that Australian nurse did with me. I did realise what she meant...

Helen said...

That is just weird. I think mine would tell me to run.

Anonymous said...

"Are you on Muffbook?"

vicki said...

ok ... you've got me laughing so hard i'm crying and the responses were so good today
at least i'm not depressed any more today
i not only would run to the nearest exit i would spread we have "an idiot doctor" in town and then call my insurance company and tell them she is a quack
and like dr. pissy's nurse that would be what i was wondering

rural_obgyn said...

Does she have a concierge practice? Who has time for the tea and sympathy? My patients get excellent ob/gyn care but we don't have time for vagina monologues.

Anonymous said...

"Talk to the hand."

Anonymous said...

Why don't you go talk to that man in the boat instead?

Moose said...

I gotta laugh at an M.D. who would refer to his penis as "my winkie".

I'm pretty sure you learn to use real terms in med school. Or, maybe, I hope you do...

Elizabeth said...

That is just wrong in so many ways!

Anonymous said...

She's in Mill Valley, CA (aka Marin County)
'nuff said

CardioNP

Anonymous said...

A muff is a muff, it's tough, it's tough,
To talk to a muff 'cause it can't say stuff,
But it's easy enough to talk to the muff,
Of the famous Mrs. Red.

Arzt4Empfaenger said...

Uh. No, thank you. I don't even want to hug my genital-checking doc!
On the other hand, if I were asked that question, I'd ask back if HER vagina needed to talk to someone, or why would she ask mine this question?!

MOJITOGIRL said...

GRUMPY HAS A WINKIE?

Anonymous said...

'Hey, cut those nails! Also, take
those diamonds off first!!

ERRN4U said...

Cardio NP and I share the same sentiment, Mill Valley, Marin County = Cuckoo!! Beautiful place but the people are certifiable.....

Filet-o-bitch RPh said...

What's the problem here?

I always ask my patients to sit in the waiting area, get a free massage (not by me!), offer them a cocktail and ask them "if you were a drug, what would you be? and why? how often would you take yourself? oh you like oxy's? too bad they got reformulated, huh? yeah sucks to be you"

but I am cheeky like that.

you can see me on rx hotties...

Anonymous said...

I don't think I would be able to come up with anything other than 'Can you give me an idea of what you're referring to, what is a vagina supposed to say?, but I think I would think, "Uh-oh, a crackpot, let me get out of this woman's clutches safely", and say, "Excuse me? I think I left my car running in the parking lot", or "I just remembered I have to call my husband", or anything else I could think of on the spot, and then make a run for it.

When I make appointments with a gynecologist, I'm usually in a hurry to get out of there. There is usually a nurse or someone else present for this precise reason; patients don't usually like to be left alone with weird doctors. It would make me question her competence and suspicious about what she was looking for in inviting me to sit in a red chair and drink tea that hadn't properly steeped.

Lonely Pharmer said...

Filet, can't you at least tell us what month?

DrB said...

OK, so I just looked at owningpink, going straight for "bio," thinking I could at least see a resume of sorts to figure this girl out. I skimmed until I saw that she "took a pleap" and stopped... a pleap...

now, I hug my patients (they have cancer, for god's sake!), but only when they are clothed (or crying), and I would offer them tea, if I could (nice touch)... but I cannot, CANNOT imagine asking them what their boobs are thinking/ saying today.

but, maybe that's just me.

DrB said...

ok, I looked more (don't ask why), and she calls herself an artist...

look at her "statements" section and scroll past the hemorrhage statement to "the woman inside." if that doesn't scare you, I don't know what will. Then again, there is a sinister side of me that believes this is a woman praying on the insecurities of other women... and probably making a buttload of money off of them.

pharmacy chick said...

After I closed my gaping mouth that my Dr would actually HUG me, I would probably say"This appointment is Over..thank you very much..."

Mooselet said...

Why does she think that just because I have a vagina I'd welcome a hug from a my OB/GYN? Especially if I was a new patient... just back the fuck off and look up my non-talking vagina as quickly as you can. I wouldn't mind the cup of tea, but I bet she serves that herbal non-caffeinated crap.

Sit me in the comfy chair and bring on the Spanish Inquisition, but don't ask my vagina to talk.

RehabNurse said...

Grumpy:

Thanks for making my day at 1253am. ROFLMAO (and crying)

I'm with Dr. Pissy's nurse....ain't no way I'd be on that leather. Yuck!

M said...

On a mostly unrelated note, in the Netherlands, those weedy pubescent gotees that barely cover the chin and upper lip are known as "talking vaginas."

Debra said...

My bajingo doesn't talk to strangers, and it sounds like they don't come much stranger than this. If you're going to be handling my undercarriage for medical reasons I really don't want that much conversation that isn't extremely clinical and somewhat abbreviated. I think somebody's taken a few too many blows to the head!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, the video I watched without sound on her site is really creepy. Dr. Rankin, you might want to invest in decent lighting and some makeup lessons before your next attempt. No one likes getting medical advice from the wicked witch of the west.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm in the minority here, I don't think that doctor is necessarily all that weird. Back when I still needed a gynecologist, the one I used hugged patients when they needed a little reassurance. Her patients were encouraged to call her by her first name, too. I've never spoken with anyone who knows who she is that doesn't just love her.

B! said...

Eve Ensler must be her inspiration. Seriously, that woman has been interviewing vaginas for fifteen years or something.

Funnily enough, in her play, "red leather couch" is another metaphor used for the vagina. Dr. Rankin knows what she's doing here.

The Quirked Eyebrow said...

Oh to be a ventriloquist at that moment... ;)

Don said...

This post was quite a surprise to me, and a bit of a shock. I kept coming back to reread it during the day at work, while I was trying to meet the client's deadlines, hoping that there was going to be a follow up post saying that it had been a prank. The links were prohibited by the client's net nanny(even the CNN), so I couldn't check for myself. I'd like to say unbelievable, but it was real. At times such as this, I wonder if taking LSD might be the answer...

Anonymous said...

gaydar....ping....predator alert....ping....

Outre said...

Someone watched Vagina Monologues one too many times.

I saw it at three times. My roommates were through out college were in the show. Because I went to a univ. with a huge deaf population, all the shows were done with hearing and deaf actors.

Learned whole bunch of signs my ASL teachers wouldn't have taught us.

Anonymous said...

"I'm stuck between a pisser and an asshole, and you ask me what I have to say?"

Anonymous said...

Mine: "Go wash the car! And pick up the drycleaning!"

Anonymous said...

Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1987 May;94(5):485.

Teeth in the vagina. Case report.
Sivanesaratnam V, Pathmanathan R.

 
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