The tall, young man in glasses reached for the thin, flimsy robe. "Here, put this on," he politely requested, "and I'll come back for you in a minute".
I blushed and asked why he was so intent on me wearing something so obviously unflattering. Now it was his turn to blush. "I don't want to get blood on your top", was all he said before he left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
I surveyed my surroundings. Here I was, in a foreign place for the second time in a week, again disrobing for a complete stranger. I picked up the robe he'd given me, realising that yet again, it was way too big and entirely not my style.
And then I realised I'd forgotten to ask the doctor whether to have the flap in the front or the back. Disaster. As if it wasn't enough that I didn't quite understand how a basic sore throat consultation ended with me semi-naked, I had no idea what part of my body he now wished to survey in detail so I didn't know how much access to give him! Mortifying. I dropped my pants and then cleverly reconsidered, perhaps suspecting that my complete nudity would spell the end of our professional friendship way too early.
So I fashioned an elaborate kimono-style robe that I wasn't entirely convinced I'd be able to undo and, in stockinged feet, I waited. The cavalry soon arrived in the form of two rather rotund nurses that proceeded to take a throat swab (gag) and then a rather perfunctory blood test - my second in as many days, so I was well accustomed to the process. The nurses disappeared, no doubt to peer at my bodily excretions under microscopes and I was, once again, alone.
The doctor then returned, instructed me to sit on the examination table as he peered into my nose, ears, mouth and then had me lay down to press on my stomach a couple of times. He was nothing if not thorough.
The results of the throat swab were returned faster than even I thought possible, revealing that I had fallen prey to a rather nasty (and contagious) throat infection. Yummy. Expecting the HAZMAT team to crash through the window and terminate me any second, the doctor hastened me to put my clothes back on and get myself home, post haste.
With supermodel speed and miraculous precision, I abandoned the kimono, got my clothes back on, paid my bill, and dashed home, where I have been - watching On Demand movies and waaaay too much Food Network - ever since.
It has been my experience that American doctors are terribly thorough and have a penchant for drawing blood rivalled only by Transylvanian royalty or vampiric bats. You leave their surgeries with no idea who they are but, by constrast, they have compiled a complete medical history of you and everyone you've ever met. I guess I should be grateful that American doctors do not also share the French medical community's predilection for suppositories, otherwise I suspect no one would EVER complain of feeling unwell again! I certainly wouldn't anyway.
But my new Doc has assured me that the BIG pink pills he's prescribed will have me feeling well within 10 days - feeling well, and terribly sober. Methinks this will be an interesting speedy recovery!