I Don’t Want to FaceTime My Gynecologist on My Lunch Break

According to the Associated Press, Walmart is now offering its employees coverage for telemedicine, a cheaper and seemingly more convenient form of urgent care. In short, telemedicine is basically a Skype call with your doctor. I personally had never heard of telemedicine prior to reading about Walmart’s recent initiative, and I believe that, even in the digital age, the idea of a virtual doctor’s visit is a bit questionable.

Imagine if your doctor told you that they attended medical school 100% online. Now ask yourself, how seriously would you be able to take a diagnosis given over online video chat. Although the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has been around since 1993 and they provide its members and the public with safety and best practice guidelines, you can still consider telemedicine something I’ll need a little bit more convincing on.

I was curious to hear what others thought about telemedicine and Walmart and other companies’ push for insured employees to embrace it, so I reached out to two colleagues who work in the field of public health to get a more sophisticated opinion on the matter.

Stephanie Green, a project coordinator for the National Partnership for Women and Families, says she is okay with virtual medicine visits in combination with an initial in-person visit. “You can go to your actual appointment and then do virtual follow up,” she said. Stephanie also offered that she feels that virtual visits may also cut down on workers calling out, which creates a favorable situation more for the employer, or more for the hourly employee or both.

And that is when I pictured myself in the ladies room at my job on FaceTime with my gyno, posing like a gargoyle in a stall so that they can get a good angle for my tele-pap smear.

via Tenor

That simply is no life that I desire for myself.

New York-based HIV prevention specialist, and dear friend, Yaw Amonfoh, brought up a few more points that I hadn’t considered.

“What if you have to have conversations in places you can’t be that vulnerable in?” Yaw asked. Yaw was was curious as to what Walmart planned to do with all the money they were looking to save by paying for more telemedicine and less traditional doctors’ visits.

“Not everyone has Internet, a phone, or a consistent phone line. Even if they have a job,” my friend went on to say. “And it’s not like [Walmart] pays their employees well.”

I took a brief, sacred moment to indulge in my freshly brewed Earl Grey.

After these conversations, my main concern now is whether or not a time will arise when people are forced or coaxed into embracing a form of care that they may not be familiar or comfortable with.

Luckily, telemedicine is still just optional for insured employees and doesn’t appear to something employers are forcing or manipulating employees into part take in. It should also be noted there are telehealth services covered by Medicaid.

The ATA’s mission and the thought process behind telemedicine are rooted in the desire for affordable and accessible care for everyone. After hearing different perspectives and doing a little more research, I’m more willing to spread to the word to folks about this alternative.

With all of that said, I must know, are gynecologists participating in this growing phenomenon?


downloadJiell Richardson is a web designer/developer, fat yogi padawan, and blogger based in Washington, DC, USA.

Office Bullying Made Me The Best Employee You’ll Ever Hire

~by Jiell Richardson, originally published at Fempotential~

If you’re a woman struggling with negative body image or weight issues, there’s a chance you have one or two stories about a mean clique of girls in middle school gym class or a stepmom who fed you asparagus and rice cakes for an entire summer. Maybe? Well, in my case, my first personal fat shaming was served like a cherry atop a nice, tall manila file sundae.

Whenever my lovely work superior, “Tammy”*, gave me a project, she made it a point to call me to her office, close the door, order me to sit, and spend a half hour explaining to me that she only calls me to assist her because she wants to teach me how to be competent, all before I was secretly given contradicting instructions from everyone else on the team. One day, ten minutes before COB, I was called to her office to receive congratulations for “actually doing something correctly”. She went on a tangent about her new diet and her weight loss, ending her ramblings by slowly looking me up and down and said with a smile, “Ugh, I could never just…be fat again. ”

I wasn’t bothered that I was being indirectly teased about my weight. I just found it highly disturbing that a grown woman would put so much energy into bringing another grown woman down and at work of all places. Throwing hints at the supervisor only made matters worse, since all she would do is bring my complaints back to Tammy. Work, something that I spent most of my time doing, made me feel like a hopeless joke. What I was I to do when I had so little control over my situation?

After taking a few mental health days, I came back with a fairly simple game plan. Firstly I vowed to always slay with kindness. I made sure I was kind to everyone in the office, especially my bully. She raised her voice at me and threw documents at me and created seemingly demeaning tasks for me. And I responded with a genuine smile and a promise to work expeditiously.

I graciously rolled with her punches even when I was being told I screwed something up. She was desperate for some sort of emotional reaction from me. During one of her daily half-hour spirit-breaking ceremonies– I mean “meetings”, she said to me, “I know this probably isn’t what you want to be doing with your life. What was your college major?” Tammy was visually disappointed to learn that I was satisfied with my job and did not feel like the failure she wanted me to be.

In addition to my attitude adjustment, I mastered the art of hyper-preparedness and letting my work speak for itself. I made a point to be kind, but I was not a kiss up. If Tammy was going to criticize my work, it was going to have to take an hour and some elbow grease to come up with an issue with any validity. I can recall a silly lecture she gave on a color-coded spreadsheet I created (that most people understood except her). That legitimately amused me.

I became an excellent note taker. Upon receiving a new project, I annoyed her with questions about specifics (that she may or may not have purposely left out) so that when I presented my finished product, there was zero room for knit-picking. Double-sided copies? Hole-punched? Can you tell me what time you plan to return from lunch so I can make sure I’ve emailed you a draft by then? Would you like this set done first or the other?

Other work superiors loved my commitment. I was being entrusted to work on projects with other senior employees and even folks above the supervisor’s pay grade.  I would have taken time to relish in my personal defeat, but my experience as a victim of workplace bullying had finally become less than insignificant in my life.

Some people are just natural achievers and hard workers (with the two not necessarily being related). Others, like myself, must learn from personal mistakes and challenges. I am fortunate enough to no longer work with Tammy anymore, but my poise, my zeal and my mother-like attention to detail will continue to make future clients and colleagues very happy.

*Names have been changed because at FEMpotential, we are professional, not petty.


downloadJiell Richardson is a web designer/developer, fat yogi padawan, and blogger based in Washington, DC, USA.