Remember the XXXXL exam room?? Last week found me in the same exact exam room. Those of you who know me in real life can testify that I am a very small person. I weigh much closer to 100 lbs than the average person. I baffled the clerks at David’s Bridal because I needed two sizes smaller than the smallest size they carry for a bridesmaid dress. Not to mention that between the excessive nausea and the tendency of those with Ehler’s-Danlos, I tend to be considered small (or extra small).
Assigning me to the XXXXL exam room is just a bit amusing. This visit with Dr. Mark required me to put on an exam gown. (Side note here: Am I the only one who prefers cloth gowns to paper gowns? Paper gowns always leave me feeling really cold and like I can’t move at all without tearing the paper.) Anyhow, it turns out that the XXXXL exam room comes with XXXXL cloth gowns. The gown was so large that when I tried to shake it open, I had to use my foot to help open up the cloth. Plus, with one gown shoulder near my actual shoulder, the other was floating somewhere around my elbow!! I’m pretty sure that that gown would have fit an elephant. Now I understand that elephants get sick as well and have an equal need (and right) to wear gowns during physical exams. However, when you give a penguin an elephant gown, the result is simply ridiculous. It’s like the difference between these two clothing options:
In fact, the gown was so large that when Dr. Mark did the actual exam, he had to help me hold it while I shifted positions. Ever tried to move in a dress that was a foot too long? You probably need a personal assistant to make sure you don’t wind up on the floor (or missing half of the garment.) That was the feeling.
As ludicrous as the whole gown scenario was, it added some life to an otherwise serious doctor’s visit. Usually Dr. Mark is enthusiastic and cheerful; but given the topic at hand, he was appropriately grave and professional. His demeanor comforted me and reassured me that he deeply cared and respected me as a person, something I desperately needed in this particular scenario. Once I had resumed appropriate penguin attire and we were discussing a treatment plan, things became very businesslike. Take this medication. Fill it at this pharmacy. Look for these changes. Call me if this happens.
I’m not sure if we ever smiled during the entire encounter. There definitely was no moments of laughing about random stuff, which has lightened the mood so many a time. That’s why it helped to be handed the XXXXL gown. The absurdity of the scenario gave me something else to think about, something to tell my friends when they asked me how the visit went. I’m convinced that that’s one of the functions of the elephant-sized room. For elephants, it serves their needs perfectly; for those of us penguins, it keeps us from getting bogged down in the intense gravity that can consume a doctor’s visit.
Still amused by it all,