Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Fun at the Gynecologic Oncologist's

First of all, I don't have a gynecological cancer, at least not as far as I know.  I'm trying to avoid having one which is why I spent my morning hanging out in an examining room for my local five-star gynecological oncologist.  Really, she was great - she started by pointing out that she owned the same pair of Danskos that I was wearing.  I then noticed that the resident and medical student who were tagging along with Five-Star were also wearing Danskos. (This happens a lot in Vermont, wherever professional women are gathered, but I digress).

I had to wait for quite awhile in that examining room and, as always when left alone in an examining room, I see what there is to see.  This one featured the first SPECULUM WARMER that I have ever seen.  I write SPECULUM WARMER like that because the typeface was huge - like 50 point.  I wondered about this.  Perhaps it was meant to calm patients who want to know why the doctor is reaching into that little microwave.  No, it's not to get a muffin  Lean Cuisine, just a nice, warm speculum.  (If there had been post-it notes in there, I would have left one saying NO MORE COFFEE IN THE SPECULUM WARMER PEOPLE!  THIS MEANS YOU!  There weren't any though).

The other thing that caught my attention was the panel that had been placed over the fluorescent lights in the ceiling above the examination table.  It was a vibrant scene of a coral reef.  Instead of "close your eyes and think of England" you can keep your eyes open and find Nemo.  There were three clown fish.  I counted. I sort of knew I would have to make fun of this, but I was also a little touched that someone, architect, nurse, doctor, whoever, took the trouble to hang a marvel of nature over those who are subject to examination.  Honestly, coral reefs always make me reflective about our creator.

I also spent a few minutes contemplating the screen saver on the laptop the nurse had left behind.  It showed the facade of the new part of the hospital in Burlington.  Like all venerable east-coast hospitals, ours has Dickensian bits linked to slightly newer bits, linked to parts of the set of Logan's Run.  The new part of our hospital, Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, reminded me very much of the Hilton at Terminal Three at Heathrow.

New Entrance at Fletcher Allen Health Care minus door person

Honestly, I was happy to have this shiny new building in which to wait for my doctors. It made me think that America really still has a lot to recommend it.  Better not to have to be the patient, of course, but when it happens you want a warm speculum, clean windows, and a tropical fish panel.  At least I do.