November 20, 2012

"Hey Baby, Wanna Fill Out a Form?"

Are you sexually active? How many partners have you had? Does your current partner fulfill you?

In my mind, these sound more like come-on lines than questions you’d see on a patient intake form at a doctor’s office. But I’ve been out of the dating scene for 17 years, so what do I know?

The questionnaire started innocently enough, as questionnaires often do. “When was the date of your last menstrual cycle?” “Do you have troubles with insomnia?” “Do you suffer from cramps?”

I hate forms. I have a pathological aversion for them. But I grit my teeth and answered honestly and carefully each of the many questions on the first seven pages.

Then the questionnaire took a turn for the weird. “Do you regularly wear sunscreen?” “Do you use a seatbelt every time you travel, even when you’re a passenger?” “Do you moisturize?”

Do I moisturize? Really? On the nights when I finish my writing by a decent hour and remain upright long enough to take off my makeup, yes, I might moisturize. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that question on a gynecologist’s form before. What exactly were they asking if I moisturized?

Then we approached Twilight Zone territory. “When did you first become sexually active?”

I stared at my choices. There was no “none of your fucking business” option for an answer. If I chose any number (pick a number, any number), the next prompt asked how many lovers I’d had. Do you mean this week? In my head? Over my lifetime? And by lovers were we talking about penetration only? How about heavy petting in the back seat of a ’65 Mustang? How about blowjobs?

In order to not answer questions I thought were invasive, inappropriate, and just plain rude, I had to say that I’d never had sex.

Voila! Who knew erasing your sexual history was that easy?

So now, on the form at least, I was a virgin. A seatbelt-wearing, well-moisturized virgin.

My marriage was up for interrogation next. Was I secure in the relationship? Was I fulfilled sexually? Emotionally? And more importantly (I think to the doctor’s office) was I financially stable?

I felt myself starting to really dislike this form. More than I dislike most forms. And that’s saying something.

What exactly does financially stable mean? I’m guessing I make a lot less than my gynocologist. To him, I am probably financially unstable. But that’s judgmental on my part.

Finally, in this twenty-five page tome, we moved on to habits. I have many good habits. I eat healthy. I floss. I’m kind to my friends. But there was no place for those. This questionnaire was only interested in knowing if I smoke, if I breathe in second-hand smoke, how much caffeine I allow into my body, how many alcoholic drinks I have each day, and ultimately, what street drugs I favor.

All right, I understand that those questions do pertain to my health and wellbeing. But I also know that this is an online form. This doctor’s office wants me to share this info over the Internet.

So I ended up going back through the form and deleting pretty much everything except my name before sending the document. Now I’ll have to explain myself in person at my appointment. I’m planning on looking the doctor straight in the eye and saying, “Gosh, I guess if I had not blown all my money on those street drugs, I might be able to remember how many people I’ve slept with. But hey, do you want to try my moisturizer?”



t'Sade said...

In most cases, you don't have to answer them. I hate how some places ask so many questions, which just *happens* to mean the insurance company has access to said questions which goes on your permanent record.

Only one time have I ever had a doctor ask why I didn't fill out a question. My answer was "Why do you need to know? How will it help you?" They gave a reasonable answer, but I said that I'll tell them if I think it helps, but I want to keep the boundaries relatively clean. They didn't like it but they accepted it.

The problem is, we live in a world where information gathering is of supreme importance. Not that it will be needed, but just in case it *could* be needed. And once it is on paper, it is very hard to get rid of them.

I'll admit, I have one of those "can never get rid of" things on my record, which is why I'm not allowed to give blood again in my life. It was probably one of the most painful and heart-wrenching things that ever happened to me. It didn't matter if I had every battery of test my doctor could come up with, poked, or prodded after the fact. Because of one answer that was none of their business, I can never give blood again.

Brigit Delaney said...


Miz Angell said...

I don't ever fill in that info. I tell my doctor in person. Of course it's sometimes to see the look on his face. :P

You should have seen his face when I told him I like girls too. Hehehehe.

Jeremy Wright said...

Maybe that Gyno is too cheap to use E -Harmony and is looking for the perfect mate.