Thursday, April 27, 2006

... And All I Got Was This Stupid Bag of Granola Bars

On the final leg of our epic journey home, I was forced to answer the dreaded call for A Doctor On The Plane. And I do mean forced, because TrophyHusband, being a much more generous soul than I, volunteered me. (He's a physician too, but since the problem wasn't related to his rather specialized field, I was offered up.) I was the appropriate person, since the patient was a little old Puerto Rican lady having an anxiety attack, nearly indistinguishable from dozens of my own patients. She had some cardiac risk factors, which made the situation a little more worrisome, but she refused aspirin and nitroglycerine anyway. She did allow me to take her blood pressure, reassure her, and administer a chill pill. And my payment for my noble effort? A bag full of all the leftover granola bars the attendants could find. (Well, that and a bag full of the leftover beer.) No free tickets.

It was very odd to try to be the doctor while wearing dirty slides that displayed my chipped and peeling pedicure, grubby drooping jeans, and a T-shirt with toddler smearings on the shoulders. Although I'm a fairly sloppy dresser in private life, I tend to dress rather formally when I see patients—starched white coat, nice shirt, etc. I feel a twinge of disapproval when I see doctors wearing jeans on weekends or students or residents not wearing ties. I realize that this is rather old-fashioned of me, and perhaps ridiculous, but I think that at least some of my patients expect their doctor to look the part, and it seems disrespectful to do otherwise. On the other hand, my white coat does present a barrier of sorts between me and the patient.

What does your doctor wear? Do you think it matters?

Speaking of attire or lack thereof, and not in support of any worthy cause (the way Orange's rack display was, for instance), here is a gratuitous cheesecake shot of me with AngelBaby in the swimming pool:

It's the picture that I will look at in twenty years and think, you know, I wasn't too bad.


Laura said...

the swimsuit is fab!
call me a little old fashioned RN but I would agree....unless we have called you in the wee small hours and dragged your butt out of bed either come in scrubs or some nice slacks and a button down shirt. docs I work with do wear the scrubs mostly but they always put on the white coat when meeting family for the first time or for a patient conference with said family. I do know one doc who does come like he just came from the mall or the park with the kids and he complains about the lack of respect he receives from security, staff and patients' families. Maybe if he didn't come in looking like a college kid it would be different but that is just a nurse's opinion.
I will add some nurses need to class it up a little too....we are professionals too.
But that is just me.
Glad to see y'all are home safe and sound and maybe a little tan.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I saw the doctor today and I think I found another groovy awesome female doctor (my previous doctor left to study on some fellowship or something).

I am like you when I teach--I have a kind of dress code for myself. However, I honestly don't notice or care how a doctor dress. Or anyone else for that matter. I find sartorial requirements kind of ridiculous--just conventional tribal behavior. I keep up appearances because I imagine others notice. It's not easy for me to do it well because I care so little about such things I'm not a good judge of when I've messed it up. Absurdly, I bought a self-help book from a thrift store somewhere, a kind of 'dress for success' book that I sort of pay attention to. I think I've almost succeeded in appearing put together although I never stray from grey, black, brown suits and white, red or pink shirts.

Anonymous said...

I used to work in a large research and teaching hospital (I'm a DVM, not an MD, by the way) and it was always interesting to see the difference in the doctors on lab days vs. clinic days.

The guy I worked for was in peds infectious disease and on clinic days, he was Doctor Man. Slacks, tie, white coat, and nice shiny shoes. On lab days, he still wore nice clothes (full professor, so the staff were the lab grunts!), but no tie or white coat.

To my mind: working doctor (rounds, surgery, treatments, messy stuff), scrubs and white coat are fine. Clinic doctor, I want to see nice clothes and a white coat. If I were practicing, it's what I would wear. Peds folks have their own rules, though, and I'm fine with that. It's more about the kids and their comfort, in that case.

Peg said...

Nice photo of you and Angel baby...lovely pool also. I hope you had a wonndeful time on vacation.

As far as doctors attire. I can't say that I have ever been shocked by anything any of my doctors have worn, Quite honestly I don't think I even notice. Except for my handsome Orthopod who when he wears a suit and tie when I see him in the office looks quite sweet to me....

Anonymous said...

Fab swimsuit...and all that running has paid off because it looks great on you!

My doctor is in her early 50s and she wears the absolute grooviest clothes going. She has really short, sort of spiky blonde hair and funky glasses. (No lab coat.) I have my concerns about her but none of them have to do with her clothes. My friend (who is also an internist) dresses very nicely and wears a lab coat but then she works in a teaching hospital.

Anonymous said...

My doc is fairly old-fashioned and he always wears ties. My gyno, a woman, usually has a suit or at least slacks and a shirt on beneath her white jacket. I like it that way.

I'm in a profession where what you wear really impacts how people look at you, and how competent you seem, so I definitely take dressing seriously.

PS -- You are way hotter than I ever was, and I used to run marathons! So jealous. said...

Holy tropical paradise, woman, you are as fine as a jumbo-sized pulled pork sandwich AND a side of sweet potatoes!


Which may explain why I shall be wearing a one-piece this summer!

BTW... how about doing a "Running For Absolute, Out-of-Shape Beginners" post someday? I've been considering it, but have no idea how to begin without getting shin splints and/or falling over and dying.

B.E.C.K. said...

I appreciate it when doctors dress up somewhat, although I could take or leave the white coat. (Now that I think about it, though, my doctors all wear white coats.) Pediatricians are a different story, though, and I think it helps kids feel more comfortable when the doctor dresses casually.

On helping the woman on the plane: Would not have identified yourself as a doctor if your husband hadn't said anything? How does treating people in public settings (airplane, movie theater, etc.) work in terms of liability? Just wondering if that's one of your concerns. At any rate, I'd be willing to bet the woman felt better knowing a doctor was checking her out. Your attention probably had positive psychological effects on top of any physical care you provided. :-)

Anonymous said...

You look great in the picture!
so, does Angel Baby!

Mignon said...

What an absolutely stunning photo. The setting, you, baby in his straight jacket...

I appreciate your concern with respect the professionalism of doctors, although I admit I've never even thought about it. I'm with b.e.c.k. about the informality of pediatricians, though. When I see Birkenstocks I automatically relax.

Anonymous said...

My husband was getting dressed for work the other day. He didn't have to appear in court (he's a lawyer, not a defendant BTW), so he put on khakis and a light blue shirt. When he presented himself to me for inspection (a laughable prospect considering my utter lack of fashion sense), I told him to change immediately because he was dressed ... like a doctor. Maybe it's being in Chicago, but all the male physicians tend to look like Notre Dame freshmen. So, I guess I do notice what doctors wear, and it tends to be on the bland side. I personally don't care what they wear.

Anonymous said...

I laughed when I read this question. I have a BRCA-1 mutation and couple of years ago my husband and I met with a genetic counselor and bunch of doctors to talk about surgery. When the breast surgeon came in, he was creepy somehow. We had come to talk about options and scenarious, but he wanted to do a breast exam. I refused because I didn't want him to do it, and because I didn't see what benefit it would have. He got pissy and left, which made me sure I'd made the right decision. Anyway, on the way home we were talking about how much we didn't like him, and I said something like, "How am I supposed to take any doctor seriously who wears cufflinks with a cotton/polyester blend shirt?" My husband just looked at me for a moment, and then said, "You are such a dork." But I felt it epitomized his bedside manner, somehow.

In general, my oncologists tend to a little sloppy, like they are so busy they can't quite find time to iron. I don't mind this, better that they have their minds on other things! My other doctors dress neatly and unremarkably, which seems ideal, and I have one doctor who is very stylish in an understated way. I like this because I like to see what she's wearing.

But, as my husband says, I think I'm not the norm.

Anonymous said...

No bump up to first class? Jeez!

My doctor is my age (35) and she always looks perfectly put together, which makes me feel a little lame because I usually only go in when I feel sick and gross. I swear my male OB always wears the same shirt, tie and slacks. The first time I met him, he'd just come from a delivery and was wearing scrubs and a scarf tied around his neck - I loved it because he is European and it fit him well.

You look great. I feel even more like a pregnant whale right now. The water looks amazing too.

Anonymous said...

As long as it's clean, I don't care what my Dr. is wearing. And if it's 2a.m. or on a plane, then I'd just be happy they were there, pedi-lacking toes and all.
I should have been a Dr. or married one, or something, cause I want to vacation where you vacation.
You look fantastic.

Anonymous said...

When my doctor wears scrubs, I always feel as if I'm imposing on his time, somehow - like he's got more important things to do than talk to me. Or maybe that's just my doctor. I don't mind the white coat; my favourite doctor of all time, who saw me through childhood until I left for university, wore jeans and birkenstocks. But he always remembered the white coat.
I'm a clergy person - and I'm very aware of how I dress in different situations. I'm relatively young and female in a profession filled with men in their fifties and sixties. I also serve a rural community with more conservative values. My friends tease me, but I wear the collar every time I go out on 'business', with the exeption of youth and young adult ministry and clergy meetings. And I always, always, always wear it into the hospital. In my first year of ministry, I conducted pastoral visits at the local teaching hospital, and was told by a med student that I didn't look old enough to be a minister; I responded that he didn't look old enough to be a doctor, either.
I think some of this has to do with identity and perceptions; if we look the part, we might actually be capable enough to do the job. It may instill confidence or a certain level of respect. I know my work goes a little easier if I don't have to spend the first few minutes having to actually prove that I'm the pastor - perhaps the same is true for you, DoctorMama?
Regardless of what you wear to work, you look awesome in that picture!

carolinagirl79 said...


Orange said...

Jeezum crow! My stomach hasn't been that flat since I was 18. I now doubt that you did IVF with AngelBaby. I think he sprang fully formed from your forehead, because that is not the body of a woman who's borne a child! And at your age! Damn, woman.

My internist dresses nicely—skirt or pants with a sweater or nice top. I may have seen her in jeans—but only when running into her shopping with her kid at the Gap.

The guy who did my C-section wore designer neckties...but didn't trim his nose hair. Details, fellows! Details!

TheCleaningWoman said...

Well, I'd be shocked if my doctor turned up in a bikini (why can't we all look that good?) but then my doctor is a male and not in such good shape!
It's all psychological, I guess, but dressing well does present a professional image and that can only boost confidence. Although, the full suit and tie affair puts me off a little, a little more relaxed is good.

Linda said...

*slinks away, intimidated*

E. said...

I will add one more voice to the chorus of "hot bod, Dr. Mama!"

I like my docs to be neatly turned out. Ties and/or skirts not necessary, but nothing too scruffy. I think teachers should look neat and professional, too, and I usually do. But sometimes I take advantage of the casual culture at my school and wear jeans and a t-shirt (clean and relatively neat versions).

Anonymous said...

I wear a white coat over decent clothes when seeing patients by appointment, over scrubs when working in the Walk In clinic where things might get messy. When I'm on the other side of the stethoscope, I like my docs to be clean and wearing something without holes. More importantly, I like them to listen and be wise.

Ditto the photo compliments above.


Anonymous said...

Well, I had to come out of lurkdom to comment on your bikini are one hot doc!

As for clothes, the doctors at my practice have a dress code of smart casual & no white coats - sort of friendly but don't get too close. In hospital (have spent many hours astride the stirrups on a 7 IVF journey) I have a thing about male docs wearing ties. Wasn't there some research done on the exotic microbial flora on these dangly garments? And as for nurses wearing uniforms on the bus to work, and the canteen... (yup, I have OCD tendencies!).

Enjoying your blog!


DoctorMama said...

Aw, thanks.
Interesting to hear that most people are on the same page re: doctor wear. I agree with the pediatricians/no white coat thing, too.

ozma – dress for success from a thrift store? Too funny! I miss thrift stores. – I am absolutely going to do a "Running For Absolute, Out-of-Shape Beginners" post. I do have a method, and I’ve gotten several people to be dedicated runners.

B.E.C.K. – Would I not have identified myself as a doctor if my husband hadn't said anything? No, I’d have done it, but he was up in the aisle ASKING if they needed one – I might have waited for the announcement. And you’re relatively protected in terms of liability when treating people in this kind of circumstance, but even if I weren’t, I’d do it if need be. I just don’t want to jump in when a doctor isn’t really needed, you know?

Mignon – it does look like a straight jacket, doesn’t it? Now if they just made actual baby straight jackets …

Anonymous – sad, how you can spot a doctor by the khakis and blue shirt. It’s not just Chicago.

Midwestern Deadbeat – I saw your belly shot. You’re not getting any sympathy from me.

cherylc – I don’t think you’re a dork. Makes sense to me too.

Becky – we would not have vacationed there if it weren’t all being paid for by my in-laws – a good/bad thing if there ever was one. Our vacations are much more modest. I did get a bonus last month, but it went straight to Sallie Mae.

rev.melody – “I know my work goes a little easier if I don't have to spend the first few minutes having to actually prove that I'm the pastor - perhaps the same is true for you?” I think you’ve hit it.

Orange – the guy who did your c-section must not have had a significant other. That’s how those nose hairs go unnoticed. And note that I’m wearing a hat in the picture to disguise the spot on my forehead where they extracted AngelBaby.

Fiona – re: ties on doctors – yes, they can pick up bugs, but they’re pretty unlikely to spread things, since they’re absorbent and passive. The key is the hand washing. Doctors (and nurses and support staff) just won’t do it! Drives me nuts.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how I linked to you, but the line at the top of your blog cracked me up because of this story:
My parents call me Beanie. They have since I was a little girl and they can't really remember where it came from. Anyway, a couple years ago we all went to a dinner theater in my home town and when we got to our table we found that there was a place card with my name since I'd made the reservation. For some reason, the person filling it out listed me as Dr. Angie (last name here). We all thought this was hilarious since I was all of 21 years old and hadn't even chosen a major yet. Later in the evening my mother said, "Beanie, pass the salt" and I didn't hear her. She said it again but I was engrossed in the conversation going on at another table. Finally she raised her voice, "BEANIE, pass the salt, PLEASE!" and I must have looked at her in shock because my dad said, "Uh, that's Doctor Beanie, to you!"

It just occurred to me that they may not be at all funny to anyone else ... But I'm giggling. :)

Dreaming again said...

I followed you here from MammaDoc ... I read your profile and had to laugh. When my 14 year old was a toddler we spent hours debating if he was an Impish Angel or an Angelic Imp.

It was actually his PCP that started that debate.

At 14 ... anything angelic ... has been systematically removed ...unless he wants something, then it magically appears.


Anonymous said...

you are so hot, not just "not too bad."

(a lurker, delurking to wolf whistle)

Anonymous said...

Strangely, my children's pediatrician always wears a white coat. I suspect it's because she's about 20 years old and is trying to look more "doctorly" for all the parents. Neither of my children have ever been freaked out by this. However, my daughter screamed whenever my cool-no-white-coat doctor came within 10 feet of her.

When my father-in-law was in the hospital last fall, I arrived at the elevator as the same time as a man who used his tie to push the elevator button. I made some remark and he replied, "I work in infectious diseases. I don't touch anything." I'm now a little more leery of surfaces.

Anonymous said...

My OB is way out there. She walks in wearing a stained tee (one with red easter egg dye on it that LOOKS like blood--i asked!!), jeans, and birkenstocks. In fact, when i first met her, I was in the office for an ultrasound. I had NO idea she was the doc, i thought she was the technician.
By looking at her, you would never know she was a doctor whether in the office or on the street.
Damn good doctor!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ah Staph aureus, my old friend. Had a lovely wound infection after removal of tropical fruit sized cyst, ovary & tube back in '99. Thereafter I have insisted that I observe healthcare staff washing their hands before inserting them into my nether regions. This causes some hilarity (and a wee bit of pee in the pants?) amongst med students who have to watch The Great Man do my bidding!


Anonymous said...

I want my dr, pediatricain or not, to look CLEAN and professional. Do not care about ties as long as they are cool. No stupid cartoon ties for kids. Kids don't care/get it. My daughter's pediatrician is pretty hot, dresses well, no coat. But I cannot abide messy, sloppy, poor grooming. Looks dirty/germy. Too awake-for-72-hours-med-student-ish.

Return Of Saturn said...

OK, so I just stumbled across your blog via BigMamaDoc, and I've managed to read almost the whole thing in one sitting. First off, your blog makes for some good reading. Sadly, I only have May's posts to get through, and then I'll be all caught up.
The other thing is that since I was a wee tot, I've been facinated by medicine. I could spend hours in the med-school library reading texts and perusing articles. So, reading your post on how you arrived at doctordom was quite inspiring. It's only now, at 28-after getting a master's and spending years working with autistic kids, and more importantly realizing this is not the life I would have signed up for-that perhaps it's time to make that foray into post baccs. So, thanks!
Oh, and WOW you have an amazing body and a darling son.


jw said...

I know I am very late in reading this but I've wanted a chance to sound off about wearing scrubs. I see hospital (and clinic) employees wearing scubs everywhere besides on the job.

I started my medical career in the military. Scrubs were an internal garb never to be worn outside in the dirty world. In particular, I worked in surgery. Inside the surgical suite scrubs were the proper uniform. If you left the surgical suite (even to roll a patient to ICU) you covered up with a robe and shoe covers. Surgical staff caught outside of surgery with uncovered scrubs would immediatly be put on report (that was a military installation so "on report" meant something serious).

Clearly many medical facilities that allow their staffs to wear scrubs everywhere are suspicious ( and probably also have issues with proper hand washing).

Anonymous said...

I had dr. appts where the doctor is wearing a tie and where the dr is in jeans. It never bothers me as long as the doctor acts like a doctor who know what he/she is doing. But I did enjoy seeing my baby's doctor in yoga class one time - what a body - too bad I am married!!!