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Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'll have the doc with the full sleeve, please....

Today I had a doctor’s appointment, such a joy….  I will continue on my current medication regime, only increasing the folic acid, in hopes that my hair will stop falling out.  I surrendered 3 vials of blood and was off on my way…..
The hair falling out thing is pretty distressing, but it is par for the course with the medication that I take.  It needs to stop asap…. I will not be able to maintain my incorrigible cuteness as a bald chica….. so we shall see.

As I sat there waiting (which was not long, as I was the first patient of the day, the best appointment to have if you actually have a life to get back to when you leave the office) I thought back to my first visit with this particular doctor, a rheumatologist, I’ll call Dr.B.

At the first visit, my diagnosis was still unconfirmed, but we were between lupus, dermatomyositis and the unknown.  He did the obligatory physical, reviewed notes from my dermatologist and previous lab results.  After the studying and his quizzing of me, he began to outline the game plan.

Medications were discussed and further testing.
“Since you have several tattoos, even though they look well done, we should really test you for hepatitis.”  Dr.B said without looking up from my chart.
I just nodded my head.  But in my mind, I’m thinking “I don’t have any hepatitis symptoms.”  But I guess that’s prudent in his way of thinking…. Rule everything out.

I, of course, don’t have hepatitis.  I only go to reputable shops that maintain sterile equipment and clean tattooing.

Which leads me to think about tattoos and healthcare.

I remember being in nursing school, I was rounding in OB and had a nurse that I was working under tell me this, when taking care of a patient with a few small tattoos “That girl has tattoos, make sure you double glove.”   Funny how those little statements stick with you, even all these years later.

My former mother-in-law, a nurse, (I will refrain from calling her a psycho fucking bitch) made the statement more than once “If they have more than one tattoo, they are not worth saving”  how I wish that nut job could see me now….. I don’t want you to save me you piece of shit….. what happened to people just being people? And we are all worth saving?  Would you really want a nurse caring for you that had that attitude, even if you had NO tattoos?? I wouldn’t.  Skill in your medical professional is extremely important (which really should go without saying) but skill without compassion, without seeing every patient as first a human being, is less than ideal.

We know that the prejudice exists against tattooed patients, how about tattooed medical professionals?

So, utilizing my extensive research methodology…. I Googled “Tattooed doctors”.

This image always comes up in such searches
Dr.Dave, I’d love to work for you, dude.  This guy is fucking awesome.

Full sleeves on my doc? Yes, if you please.  I dig it.

Now…… when perusing the list of items that came up in the search I came across many other results that weren’t so pleasant to me.

For example, this was on a thread on the College Confidential board entitled “Doctors with Tattoos”.  The person that started the thread was asking a thoughtful question about whether or not they should get a wrist tattoo, with a poem, when they were on track to become a surgeon/researcher.  A valid question for someone in school who has yet to be tattooed, it’s not a decision someone should jump into without giving it some thought.
Some of the replies were well thought out, considerate…… but others….. well I’ll let you judge for yourself….

I would never go to a doctor with a tattoo.”

“I wouldn't go to a doctor who has a tattoo. If I had a doctor and then found that s/he had a tattoo, I'd change doctors. To me, tattoos are evidence of a simple absence of judgment. They have no real benefit and serve to alienate a large portion of the population. If a prospective doctor has no better judgment than that, they're not qualified to have me for a patient.”

“I am a doc, and I would hold a visible tattoo against someone in interviewing for med school admissions and for employment in my practice. Harsh but true. I think it shows a lack of judgment, and one can discriminate against those with tattoos - it is not a protected minority. Do Henna for the wrist, and think long and hard about permanent ink.”  Notice how this person points out, indignantly, that one can discriminate against those with tattoos, it is not a protected minority. Classy.

In the end, the medical student that posted the query decided NOT to get the tattoo.  While I fully support a person’s right to be, or not to be tattooed, I feel that he/she made the decision based on obtuse opinions, like those shown above.

But what are you gonna do?

Would patients really be offended by my tattooed wrists?  My simple black Celtic knots?  To me they are beautiful, empowering (i do hate that word) even.  If I came into your hospital room, to give you care, give you comfort, in a skilled and compassionate manner, would you decline, simply because of the black ink on my wrist?

Look at these tattoo statistics:

Statistic Verification
Source: Pew Research Center, Tattoo Finder, Vanishing Tattoo
Date Verified: 3.23.2012

Statistic Verification
Source: Pew Research Center, Tattoo Finder, Vanishing Tattoo
Date Verified: 3.23.2012

Tattoo Statistics
Annual amount of U.S. spending on tattoos$1.65 Billion
Total percent of Americans (all ages) who have at least one tattoo14 %
Percentage of U.S. adults 18 – 25 who have at least one tattoo 36 %
Percentage of U.S. adults 26 – 40 who have at least one tattoo 40 %
Total number of Americans that have at least one tattoo 45 million
Number of tattoo parlors in the U.S.21,000
Average cost of a small tattoo$ 45
Average cost of a large tattoo$150 / hour
Percentage of U.S. population who have covered up a tattoo with another tattoo5 %
Percentage of people with tattoos who claim they are addicted to ink 32 %
Percentage of people who have some regret after getting their tattoo 17 %
Percentage of people with a tattoo who are getting or have had one removed 11 %
Factors Considered When Getting A Tattoo
Percentage of people with tattoos who think the reputation of tattoo artist or tattoo studio is the most important factor 49 %
Percentage of people with tattoos who think price is the most important factor8 %
Percentage of people with tattoos who think a tattoo with a personal meaning is the most important factor43 %
How People Feel About Their Tattoo
Total percentage of people with tattoos who say their tattoo makes them feel rebellious 29 %
Percentage of people with a tattoo that say it makes them feel more sexy 31 %
Percentage of people with tattoos who say their tattoo makes them feel more intelligent 5 %
Statistic Verification
Source: Pew Research Center, Tattoo Finder, Vanishing Tattoo
Date Verified: 3.23.2012

With 45 million Americans having at least one tattoo, chances are, that at some point in your life, you will have a healthcare provider that is tattooed.  And if you have a problem with that, first let me say that you are kind of a dick, suck it up.  It's a reality.

Tattooed people are no different than non-tattooed people except that they don't care if you're tattooed or not (I totally stole that from Anonymous).

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