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Further advice needed

Dear Internet,

Thank you for you pit stank recommendations on last week's post. I passed them along to my friend, and she told me that she has been considering consulting a doctor about this, as several of you suggested. However, my friend has a problem with doing that, and I told her I would throw it back to you guys for more advice, since you are all so smart.

So, you know how when you want to go to the doctor you call them and tell the receptionist you want an appointment and she asks why? My friend hates that. I mean, if you need an appointment because you think you have strep throat, that is one thing, but what if your concern is of a more personal nature and discussing it with the doctor is going to be bad enough and you don't really want to get into it with the rude woman answering the phones? And then, once you get the appointment and you go in, you have to fill out some stupid form and then you have to tell the nurse in some detail why you are there and, while she is willing to have me discuss her stanky pits with the entire internet, my friend is not so excited about having quite so many live and in person conversations about it. And my friend wishes that she were the type of woman who, when asked this question, could just say "Oh Honey, I have the stankiest pits that have ever stanked a stank, and I need Dr. Whosiwhatsis to hook me up with some of the good stuff," she just isn't the kind of woman who can be so brash and unembarrassed about it, and that is, frankly, preventing her from making an appointment. She has considered the option of just bringing it up the next time she is in, but my friend is blessed with overall good health and rarely feels the need to consult a doctor for herself.

So, how does one do this, do you think? You know, so I can tell my friend.

In other news, this is how my driveway looked at 8 AM Saturday morning:

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And this is how it looked at 4 PM Saturday afternoon:

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I spent the whole day thinking of Anne Lamott, except that instead of "Bird by Bird" it was "Wheelbarrow by Wheelbarrow." Someday when the children are screaming that they hate me, I will remind them of the time we hauled 25 yards of mulch (that's 12 and a half pickup trucks worth) from the driveway to the backyard to protect their precious heads and bones and teeth when they decided to fling themselves from the top of what turned out to be the distressingly expensive playset. I'm sure they will keep right on screaming that they hate me, but at least I will feel better about it.

(Please excuse my poor Photoshopping skillz, but I am just paranoid enough to not put a picture of my car on the internet.)

Comments (22)

I was just chatting with friends this weekend when one was complaining about how long it was taking to get an initial appointment with a dermatologist. The other suggested that she should tell the receptionist that she had a mole that had changed and they'd get her in immediately. Bottom line: I don't think the receptionist ever notes the actual reason for your visit on your chart or anything, I think they just use it to triage how soon you need the appointment.

Give the receptionist the medical term for excessive sweating. Hyper-something-or-other that I can't remember off the top of my head.

I would tell the woman that it rather personal/complicated and I would prefer speaking to the doctor.

I got an error message the first time...hopefully this doesn't double post.
To the receptionist: "Allergies"
On questionnaire: Remain equally vague
To the nurse: You kind of need to tell the nurse and ultimately, that's who gave me a useful solution. I just said I was tired of sweating all the time and asked about prescription deoderant.
To the doctor: At this point, hopefully you just say what you need to say & get some good recommendations :)

Just say you have a skin issue, and if pressed, it is on or under your arm (close enough, right?). One time, I had the grossest looking infection in my armpit on one side, and I was soooo embarrassed to show the doctor (kept telling him "it's gross!" and he was like "I can take it!").

You have no obligation to speak to anyone but the Dr. Tell them it's a personal matter you'd like to keep confidential. It's not an emergency but is quite bothersome. Then keep your lip zipped until he gets there. The rest of that stuff is intended to make their (receptionists, etc) life easier. It's not required and can be ignored if your friend feels the need.

I think I would say I had a rash on my arm I wanted the doctor to look at. I've noticed the doctor never seems to have ANY IDEA why I'm there, even if I've told the receptionist AND the nurse.

there's a product available in Canada called DrySol that is very good for this.

The term is 'hyperhidrosis' and just fyi, sometimes they use Botox to treat it.

i love you times seven. (that's a lot)

hyperhidrosis. i have it, it sucks non-exciting things a lot, and i think of it daily. just say that one word, or tell your friend to, of the underarm variety, and you/she will be all set. it's as common as...puking.

I find, when they ask what I'm making an appt for, they only want to know if it's something new or a "follow up". I'd suggest she try telling the receptionist/appointmentist that it's a "consultation" or "new issue" and then resist anything further until the Dr/nurse asks. That's all the receptionist needs to know, anyways. It's not like the Dr needs to know in advance if he/she'll need to bring the *big* stethoscope. :P

Or you friend could wait for her yearly and speak to her Gyn about it during that visit.

Why not just tell the receptionist / nurse that she just wants a physical...if she hasn't been there for a while, they will be thrilled to set it up...sometimes it is also called a "well visit". Once she is in there with the doctor, during her "well visit" she can bring up her concern privately.

Answer 1: if your ~friend~ needs to see a doctor, tell her to suck it up and realize that the nurses and receptionists don't give a rat's ass what you say. Almost nothing could shock them. That's what I think. You, er, your friend, can use euphemisms or technical terms so as to not be forced to say "stanky pits," but I think that not telling why you want to see the doctor or planning to talk about during a visit for some other reason is a little bit of a bad idea. I mean, it's not the end of the world, and people do it all the time, but that's why it takes forever and a day to see a doctor and why the schedule is never running on time. Joe Schmoe always schedules an appt for a "persistent itch" and he actually has flaming hemmorhoids or something. I agree on some level that the receptionist and nurse are mostly there to triage, but that's really what they're there for! If you are honest, for all you know, Dr. Hotty Internist is going to say, "I don't know shit about excessive perspiration or irritated underarms and you should go directly to a dermatologist." And the nurse/receptionist KNOWS this, and so she tells you to save your time and go straight to the other fellow. So anyhow, you know, tell your ~friend~ to say when calling for appointment, "Hi, I need an appointment because of a perspiration problem." I strongly feel that they won't ask for any more details, unless they actually have to determine whether or not they are the correct doctor to see you. And then once the nurse comes in and takes a history, you can tell as much or as little as you like.

Answer 2: Is the problem more wetness, or more the stank? For wetness, don't see a doctor unless this fails you. I am not sure about the effect on stank, but it is worth a try. Certain Dri plan: Begin by using daily, at night only. Do not plan for any romantic encounters while wearing Certain Dri, because you haven't met stank like Certain Dri on top of regular daily stank. Shower in the AM, and use regular nice-smelling deodorant/antiperspirant during the day. Repeat for a week or so. Probably don't shave at all for that time. So I *think* Certain Dri actually works by shrinking your pores, so you sweat less and less with time. Then start using Certain Dri, still at night only, every other day, then 2-3 times per week, then once per week as time goes on. And Viola! You stop using it. Then you wonder what ever happened to your nasty pits and soaked out shirts (HOW embarassing is THAT?!) and you can't even remember why you were so upset about it!

Ok-listen-tell your friend that it is important she give some info related to the problem to get to the right specialist-even in a specialty office. I'd go w/ the excessive perspiration if stankiness is too mortifying. If she's talking about an appt w/ her general practitioner, she can give any excuse. But if it's dermatology, she may get the melanoma specialist when she needs the stanky pit specialist, you see? Though she'd probably get the stanky pit specialist if she reports the problem as exc. sweating. I work in an ENT practice, and within it, we have pedi specialists, ear specialists, cancer specialists, sinus specialists, etc.

She could always have a friend call for her! One who's not so embarrassed to tell the receptionist the problem.

I didn't even notice the photoshopping until you mentioned it.

Also distressing when calling a doctor's office for an appointment: when you call them because you are depressed and need therapy. Wow, are those ever some invasive questions to answer on the phone with a complete stranger.

Someone else mentioned it, but DrySol works wonders. I used it for about a year ten years ago for excessive sweating (I had over active sweat glands). It shrunk the glands so that I only sweat like a 'normal' person. I don't know what it would do about the stink, but it is worth checking into. I remember that I only used it at night and used regular deoderant during the day. It stung a little, but at night I just slept through it.

Sweat issues can be really rough. It is totally worth the anxiety to get it fixed. If it makes your 'friend' feel any better I had to ask my doctor about bleeding hemriods once. It was awesome.

A late addition: I read in the paper today about Listerine being an effective deodorant: http://tiny.cc/listerine

No advice about the Dr. office call dilemma- but maybe your friend eats a lot of ethnic type foods? Because I know when I met my husband, he smelled very garlicky- all diet related....Does your friend eat Indain/Thai/mexican food? Just asking.

I would actually recommend more water. I played college volleyball and drank a ton of water (not just for hydration) and it made a huge difference. I didn't really realize this until years later when I wasn't drinking enough water and started up again and it helped with everything - even energy level and staying well while other people around me got the flu. At first you pee like you have a 10lb. baby pressed against your bladder but after a month or so - this actually goes away. You should actually be drinking half your body weight in ounces a day (100lbs/2=50 ounces - as if you all don't know how to do the math :)) Wow - seems like something that is not achievable but it really is and could really help. I do this and it does help and it helps to the point that I don't need antiperspirant but only a good natural deodorant. For some reason I sweat less therefore smell less.

Also - as far as the Dr. call goes - I feel the exact same way and one day I decided that I wasn't going to tell the receptionist crap and told her so in a nice way. She pushed back and then I asked to be put through to the nurse or her manager. She made an appointment for me right away...seriously did this in the nicest way possible because after all I may end up coming face to face with her anyway. Or just come up with something totally obscure that she wouldn't hear on a day to day basis...I'm sure we could come up with something.

Yeah. I make my husband make those calls for me. I'm not much of a phone person to begin with, so it's not much of a stretch to get him to do it. He loves me so.

So, I feel for your friend and think she's gotten good advice here. One thing I have to add is that it's best she gets this under control now. I'm assuming she's 30something? Well, I was never a sweater (not the kind you wear..) perspirer? I rarely had an issue with sweat, how's that. I could bask in 100 degree sun and rarely break a swet. Then the perimenopause set in. I now FEAR the sun/heat. Hot flashes are a normal occurrance, and of course, come at me like a raging bull at the most inopportune of times. I have stopped noticing people staring at me for breaking out in a sweat for no apparent reason. Oh, I forgot to mention, I am also blessed with this wonderous habit of my face turning beet red whenever I get hot, that's new too! MY blood pressure is fine, it's been checked and re-checked.
Anyway, I have rambled on. Moral of the story - tell your friend to get this under control before the big "M" takes hold. Everyone is different and hopefully she won't be plagued by hot flashes.

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