Unless you come from a family of doctors or medical people, a visit to the doctor tends to be a scary event. You are already sufficiently concerned about your health to have made the trip to the doctor, but you are also worried about the unknown. And being scared of the unknown is completely normal. Doctor’s rooms tend to smell weird, they ask tricky questions, they cost a lot and you sometimes have to take your clothes off. So much of uncomfortable! But, to help ease your mind, even if it just a little bit, here are some answer to some of the basic things that might be worrying you.
Is it clean?
It was the surgeon Joseph Lister who put two and two together and realised that cleanliness and sterility translated to fewer surgical death. That was a very long time ago and since his discovery, which seems alarmingly obvious now, hospitals and medical rooms have come a long way. All instruments will go through an autoclave once used. Gloves are worn when treating patients. Bedding, floors and all surfaces are bleached and cleaned regularly, and the room tend to be light and airy. All things that make germs leave. If you don’t think the rooms are clean enough, then raise it as a concern with the doctor or leave. Cleanliness and hygiene are non-negotiables in this space.
Will it hurt?
The answer to this question is almost always, “Not nearly as much as you think it will.” Doctors are trained to make people better; to improve lives. They are not about inflicting pain and suffering on people. And as much as people are scared or worried about needles, the reality is that it is the anticipation of pain rather than the pain itself that is cause for concern. Injections don’t hurt. Most procedures don’t. And if the procedure is going to hurt then anaesthetic is the answer. And your doctor will tell you if it is needed – because remember, they do not want to hurt you.
Will I have to take my clothes off?
Another legitimate question and a big worry for many. Your starting point here should be to recognise that the doctor is about as keen to see you naked as you are to take your clothes off. In other words, not at all. It is also important to remember that it is a clinical meeting and not a sexual encounter. So, while you might have to take off your clothes if the area that needs examination is hidden under the layers, they will not strip you down to nothing if you have come in to have your ears syringed. And generally, even if you have to drop your pants or show your privates, you will never be completely naked.
Is it common?
Another question to which the answer is almost always ‘yes’. Remember, just because it is the first time that you are experiencing a situation does not make it the first time this has happened. Doctors have seen most things many times, and as much as you like to think that you are unique, the bad news for you is that you are not!