This past fall there was an episode of Grey's Anatomy featuring the dermatology department at Seattle Grace (the hospital where all the doctors on the show work). The humor of the situation was that the dermatology department represented a sort of Shangri-la to the surgical residents on the show, who got sucked up in the New Age vibes they encountered there, from relaxing music, to massage, to grapes and filtered water. Of course, in the show, reality quickly crashed back in on the residents when they headed back to the surgical ward.
Typically, I do not like to use the word reality when referring to Grey's Anatomy, but after my experience at a dermatologist's office on Monday, I've been forced to reconsider.
Upon entering the dermatologist's office, I quickly became aware of Enya-type music being softly pumped through a speaker system in a waiting room made up of cushion-covered wicker chairs and tables. I was okay with all of this (although my husband's skin would have been crawling), but I felt sorry for the 10-12 year old boy sitting with his mother - he looked trapped. Seriously, a new-agey waiting room is really not the place for a boy that age...or maybe for almost anyone.
The waiting room experience was followed by my meeting with a physician's assistant, who, at various times told me in a very soothing voice, "We can open a window for you if you need some air" (it was in the 30s outside), and "You are so in tune with yourself to feel your blood vessels in your nose dilating when it's cold outside. That's wonderful."
Such was my experience at the dermatologist's office. It was somewhat surreal, and reminded me more of going to a spa or a massage therapist's office than a doctor's. Given that so many dermatologists are becoming pseudo-plastic surgeons these days, this is not super surprising. The soothing environment becomes an exchange for the money you are going to be asked to shell out for laser treatments or face peels.
Personally, I'd rather not sugar-coat the whole thing. What do you think?