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MLA Full: "Going to the Doctor's Office with Dr. Aaron Carroll." YouTube, uploaded by SciShow Kids, 19 October 2017,
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APA Full: SciShow Kids. (2017, October 19). Going to the Doctor's Office with Dr. Aaron Carroll [Video]. YouTube.
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Squeaks has a doctor's appointment coming up and he's a little nervous, so Jessi asked her friend Dr. Arron Carroll to come over and talk about what happens when you visit the doctor!

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J: Hi guys!  Today is a really special day.  Squeaks and I just looked at our calendar and we saw that he has a visit to his doctor coming up, and Squeaks is a little nervous.  So I asked my friend Dr. Aaron Carroll to come and talk to us about what to expect when we go to the doctor.  Hi, Dr. Carroll.

A: Hi.

J: Well, I guess you've heard that Squeaks is a little bit nervous and when I get nervous, it usually helps to ask questions, so I was wondering if you might be able to answer some questions we have about going to the doctor.

A: Of course.

J: So, what's the first thing that happens when you go to the doctor?

A: Well, most often, you're gonna have to wait in the waiting room, 'cause it's really unlikely the doctor's gonna be ready to see you immediately.  So, there's gonna be a lot of kids there.  Some of them are going to be sick, 'cause they're waiting to see the doctor cause they're sick, there'll be a lot of other parents there, and you know, it can be a little bit of a scary place.

J: So you're not stuck in the waiting room forever.  

A: No!  No!

J: What happens then?

A: In fact, and sometimes there's games and stuff to play, so it can be fun.

J: Those are always really fun.

A: Eventually, a nurse or a medical assistant is going to come and take you back, and they're gonna get what we call vital signs.  They're gonna want to check how fast your heart is beating, they're gonna want to check how quickly you're breathing, they're going to want to check your blood pressure, maybe see if you have a fever, just to see in general how you're doing.

J: So when we see the medical assistant or nurse, they will have a lot of equipment, right, and there's a lot of stuff going on, so you brought some examples.  What do we have here?

A: So this is something we use to actually check your blood pressure.  It's called a sphygmomanometer, but nobody needs to say that.  So it's almost like a cuff.  What they do is they put it on your arm and then they pump it up and it basically gives your arm a squeeze.  It's like giving your arm a big hug.  It can feel a little bit tight, but it doesn't--it isn't gonna hurt.  Then they're gonna put on a stethoscope and they're gonna listen to your blood flow through your arm while they pump it up, and using that and looking at this dial, they can figure out what your blood pressure is.

J: Wow, and so why is it important to know what your blood pressure is?

A: So your blood pressure tells how tight your blood is in the tubes inside your body as it's flowing around and you want it to be tight but not too tight, and almost everyone is gonna be fine, but it just allows them to see how much pressure the blood is using as it flows through your veins.  

J: Okay, 'cause I've definitely seen this before.  Now, are we allowed to like--can I pump on that?

A: Sure.  As you pump it, this is gonna get tighter and tighter on Squeaks' arms and eventually it might get a little tight, but it won't hurt, and then you can look at it and see that it's getting tight and then what they will do again is that they will listen like this as they turn this dial and let a lot of the pressure out.  You'll hear the air go out, ssss.

J: See that, Squeaks?  Yeah.  So besides the blood pressure, what else is going to happen?

A: So they'll also put you on a scale and weigh you to see how much you weigh.  They'll probably put you up against a wall and measure you to see how tall you are, and then they will also check your temperature and these days, most often they wind up checking your temperature by putting just a little tube in your ear.  It doesn't really go in far at all, but by actually just looking at the temperature in your ear, they can get a sense of how it is and that way you don't have to put anything in your mouth or anything like that.  As I said before, they'll also check and listen, usually with a stethoscope, to see how quickly you're breathing, to see how fast your heart is going, and that's mostly it before you go in the doctor's office.

J: Nice.  Sometimes you get a little thing on your finger, what's that?

A: So that is--they're actually shooting a laser or a light into your finger to see how much oxygen is in your blood.

J: Does it hurt?

A: Not at all.  Can't even feel it.  In fact, all it does is sort of light up your finger and make it red which is cool, but it absolutely doesn't hurt, it just takes a few seconds and it just helps them see, you know, how well you're getting oxygenated.

J: We like lasers, don't we?  Oh yeah.

A: Oh, you'll love this.

J: So after we've checked all of those measurements, we're gonna head to the office, and what happens in there?

A: So more often than not, they're gonna ask you to get undressed and put on a gown.  That's just so the doctor can examine you a little more easily, and they'll probably have you sit on a big table that has a long piece of paper on it.

J: Okay, what is the paper for?

A: The paper is so, because you don't know if the last person in the office was dirty or clean, or you know, maybe somebody is sick and you don't want their germs all over the place, so you lay on the paper and then when you leave the office, we take the paper down, we rip it, and the next person gets a totally new piece of paper.

J: I always like sitting on the paper 'cause it gets all crinkly and it makes some fun noises.

A: Yes, and you can draw on it, I don't think anybody would ever get upset if you did that, so it's great.

J: So do you sit there, do you stand, what--

A: Usually you sit, and so the doctor's gonna talk to your parents, the doctor's gonna talk to you, ask you a lot of questions about how things are going, how you're eating, how you're sleeping, how school is going, do you get along with your brothers and sisters if you have them, do you get along with pets if you have them, you know, are you being good, or are you not listening so well at home, you know, sort of just get a sense of how your general health is.  Next, they're gonna want to do what we call the physical exam, which is when they actually take a look at you and examine you to make sure that everything is working right.  So, more often than not, you just sort of start top, down.  First they're gonna look at your eyes and your ears, so there's a fancy flashlight that they use to look in your eyes to watch the black part of your eye to make sure it gets bigger and smaller correctly, to make sure your eyes go all over the place correctly.  They can use it to look right in the back of your eye and see how the vessels--the blood vessels and your retina's doing.  Then they will put a tube in your ear just to look ta your eardrum to make sure that it looks clear, to make sure that it's not infected, to make sure that everything's fine.  

J: Does that hurt, something going in your ear?

A: It doesn't--kids get a little bit scared of it sometimes, but it really doesn't hurt and they don't go in that far.  Now, it might be a little odd sometimes, because you know stuff's not supposed to go into your ears, but it does not hurt.  Neither the checking the eyes or the ears hurts really at all.  Then they're gonna want to look in your nose, they're gonna want to look in your throat, they're gonna get you to stick out your tongue and say 'aah'.  Again, nothing is gonna hurt there.  It can be a little frightening and sometimes kids get a little nervous about it, bu nothing bad. 

Then they're gonna want to feel usually your neck, just to make sure that everything feels fine.  That's lightly with their hands, and then they move into listening to your heart and lungs, and again, that's when they're gonna use the stethoscope.  So they'll put it in their ears and they will probably, you know, ask you to take some deep breaths as they listen to your back.  That's just mostly to hear air going in and out of your lungs to make sure that everything sounds clear, to make sure that everything sounds good, that it's all going fine, and if that's good, then they're gonna listen to your heart, which is not on your back really, but more on your front.  So they'll probably put the stethoscope in a few different places around where your heart is, which is right in the middle of your chest.  Again, none of this hurts.  This is just so they can hear your heart beating to make sure it's not making any funny noises, to make sure that everything sounds good as its going and it's over in just a couple of minutes. 

The next thing they're gonna have you do is probably lay down, and that's really because they want to check out your belly, and it's very hard to check out your bell when you're sitting 'cause it's all tense and they want you to be nice and relaxed, so they'll lay down, they'll likely push on this side, to feel your liver, maybe on this side sometimes to try to feel your spleen, mostly to get a sense that everything feels soft and that nothing hurts and that you're totally fine, and they'll probably put the stethoscope back on and listen to your belly because we can hear sort of the food going through there, just to make sure it's making the right noises and everything is moving well. 

So in general, after that, they're gonna do a coup--you know, they might do things just to check sure that your pulses are okay and other areas of your body.  They might just check to make sure that everything's working okay in all the different parts of your body.  They might have you stand up and bend over so they can take a look at your spine, make sure it looks nice and straight, and they're gonna check out the things that, you know, doctors do, which are sometimes private but they have to do it and always with your parents there.

J: None of that sounds scary at all, but there is one part to doctors' appointments that do make me a little nervous and I think Squeaks is nervous about that part too, and it's shots.  

A: Yeah, I mean, it's hard, you don't want to lie, shots can hurt a little bit.  They sting.  I don't like getting shots.  I have to get shots every year, I have to get my flu shot every year and sometimes other shots with boosters because I'm, you know, I work in a hospital with other patients, and everybody really gets a flu shot now these days, so it's something that everybody has to do.  It's so important though, 'cause it keeps you safe, it keeps you from getting sick, and it might hurt for just a few minutes, but it goes away really quickly and you forget about it really quickly.  

J: So getting shots, I know it's really important and it does hurt but it goes away quickly, but why does it have to go into me, like, why can't I just take a pill?

A: The reason is because our bodies are incredibly good at sort of fighting off infection, and if we just sort of put the stuff on you, your body won't see it.  Your skin's really good at keeping the bad stuff out.  In order to make your body react to what we're trying to give you in a vaccine, we have to get it inside you, and the only way to do that is to sort of pierce the skin and get all the way below it.

J: That is a lot of stuff that happens, but none of it seems really scary.  It all seems really important.

A: It shouldn't be scary.  I mean, it's important to remember that doctors are people, too.  I'm a doctor, I have kids, you know, I'm a fun guy, I'm not scary.  I don't think my children are afraid of me, and what we're trying to do is just trying to help you be healthy and get along with your family and for everything to be great and there's nothing that we're gonna do that should make you scared at all.

J: Well, thank you so much for walking us through all of that.  Sounds like there are so many wonderful things that a doctor can learn about your body with all these measurements.  Doctors are pretty amazing.

A: Thank you.

J: Well, tell us more about how you can become a doctor.

A: Anyone can become a doctor, but I will say it takes a lot of school.  I used to joke with my kids all the time that by the time I was done, I think I'd finished the 25th grade.  It takes going to school, going to middle school, going to high school, college, four years of medical school, a couple years of residency, and maybe a little bit of fellowship, but it's totally worth it.  I absolutely love what I do.  I get to help people.  I especially get to work with kids and it's an amazing job.

J: That was a lot of great information.  So, Squeaks, are you feeling a little bit better about our upcoming doctor appointment?  Oh, good.  Well, thank you so much for coming on and visiting us here at The Fort.

A: Oh, thank you.

J: Do you have any questions about your body, doctors, or anything at all?  Go ahead and leave them in the comments section below or send us an email to  Thanks and we'll see you next time here at the fort.