There were really only two options.
Weird, because I have a lot of underwear, practical stuff, not fancy, I’m all about comfort. So there was the black cotton underwear, which kind of choked off circulation to my legs the last time I tried them, and then there was the giant leopard print ‘briefs’ as they are so oddly called, bought when I was a lot heavier chick. I was going to the dermatologist for a whole body skin check so she was going to be peering into my underwear. I should make it easy for her, I figured, so I put on the leopard granny pants, jeans and a hoodie and set off.
The nurse handed me a robe, reminding me to take everything off except my panties. Not sure if my leopard print number qualified as panties, shouldn’t panties be silky or lacy or scanty? These panties could be used to wax the car.
She turned to leave. “And oh, I should tell you. Doctor has a scribe training with her today.”
“A scribe?” Who has a scribe? Ben Franklin? Did Ben Franklin have a scribe? Or was he a scribe? What did he do before he started working his way up?
She cocked her head and raised her eyebrows. “And, he’s a man.” Oh great, a man scribe is going to be joining us. Saying no seemed older than my pants. So I did as she said and sat on the examining table to wait. The doctor knocked and came in first. She was young, blond, wearing a lab coat and sneakers. Her scribe followed, clad in a plaid shirt and dark khakis. He could have been a clerk in a sporting goods store.
For someone poking around people’s bodies with a magnifying glass, the doctor was surprisingly jolly. She started with my scalp and worked her way down, dabbing a searing concoction on all the little pre-cancers she found, two on my eyebrow, one on my arm, a tiny one on my chest, and then she dropped the front of the gown and lifted each breast up. The sun never shone there I wanted to tell her but she lingered not. The scribe, sitting behind me at the little doctor desk, could be heard tapping a keyboard, making note, I guess, of the location of every errant spot.
The doctor was a great chatter. She joked about needing to use her bare hands to feel where cancers might be starting even though her husband urged her to wear gloves. Seems she once examined a guy with syphilis and accidentally touched his sore or rash or whatever it is, something she said had never before happened in the clinic, and then her husband got all weirded out and wanted her to wear gloves. I don’t know if that was all the time or just in the clinic.
Anyway, she continued onward or downward actually, checking both legs next and then when she was finished thigh to toes, she said, “Okay, get up and stand facing that wall.”
As I did, the robe, left untied in the back as instructed, unfurled. I stood still while the doctor took her magnifying glass first down one leg and then the other. And it slowly dawned on me. The scribe is looking at my giant leopard print underwear.
I kept my dignity though. Not everyone would, but I did. Because, you know, I’m a person of substance, never mind my underwear. But I won’t forget that a scribe saw my panties, as they say, and I bet he won’t either.
— Janice Wilberg
Jan Wilberg writes about everything from national politics to outwitting rats in the basement with the help of her two sons. She is a mother, grandmother and a formerly hearing impaired person rejoicing in the miracle of her new cochlear implant. Her blog Red’s Wrap has a tagline that says it all: Happiness. It’s relative. Photo by David Clode on Unsplash.