How to dress for a new doctor

There was a time when I never thought for a second about what to wear to doctor appointments. I just wore whatever I was going to wear that day anyway.

Then for a while I thought about it in small ways. Are the sleeves easy to push up for a blood draw? Is this shirt loose enough to get a stethoscope underneath easily? Is the outfit fast and easy to get off and back on? 2015-07-30 10.41.51

At some point, things shifted. I still think about those small things, but now I have to consider what my appearance says to the doctor. If I dress too slovenly, they’ll think I don’t care about myself. Or they’ll just have an unconscious dislike for me. If I dress too well, they’ll think I’m faking it when I talk about my symptoms. I don’t want to look bad, but I don’t want to look too good, either.

I’ve heard from friends with chronic illness that they have this same problem. They want to look decent, but maybe they don’t put up their hair or they skip the makeup or they wear a t-shirt instead of a button-down. And like me, they feel ridiculous for worrying about what they wear when what really matters is their health, but they also know much one will be impacted by the other. So they plan carefully.

I’m seeing a new doctor today. I’m excited to see him. I scheduled this appointment 2 months ago, I wrote up my notes, I have my list of questions, I read the book he wrote and I’m bringing it with me, and I’ve got all of my medications and supplements in a bag that I can bring with me so that he can see exactly what I’m taking. I’m ready. Except for my clothes. I’m still in my pajamas because I just don’t know what to wear. How absurd!

Do you worry about what to wear to appointments? Do you feel it affects how your doctor perceives you and treats you? What has your experience been? Please let me know in the comments!

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