Down With The Fatty.

22 Jul

So there’s a lot of folks out there that hate fat folks. Course, there’s a lot of folks out there that hate brown folks, yellow folks, pink folks, and everything else in between. People are, at their meaty little cores, dicks a lot of the time. Not all the time, of course, and not YOU dear reader. But everyone else. Dicks. Full of dickery.

Let me get to the meat and potatoes of my post. In all of my years of being a chubby bitch, there has been ONE incident not brought about by my own psychosis and low self-esteem that made me feel lower than dog shit for what I looked like. I’m gonna share this with you because I think it’s one of those things that needs to be said so people can be more sensitive to size hate around us. And if you don’t think it exists you’re very, very wrong. A few years back I asked our own falconesse for a recommendation to a gynecologist – mine had gone off to have babies and not be a doctor anymore. Sorry dude readers, the icky doctor has been invoked, but I promise I won’t talk about the lady parts more than I have to. Anyway, Lauren gave me the name of a facility about twenty minutes away from my house that she’d been going to for years. The person she saw wasn’t accepting new patients, so I had to go with who was. There was a nurse practitioner there named Amy. I think her last name was Barrows? Considering I saw this chick once in my whole life and it was about five years ago, that’ll tell you how traumatizing this event was.

Anyway, I go in to see this lady for a pretty standard check up. She looked at my chart, and the first thing she asked me was “How much do you weigh”. No really, before she even examined me, talked to me at all, she asked me my weight. I told her, she frowned at me and said “you can’t even think about having children unless you take off 70 pounds.” No “hello, no how are ya?”, just “no kids for you”. Now, going to the icky doctor is a shitty experience to begin with, especially when it’s with a doctor you don’t know. There’s anxiety about it, like they’re going to look at you and think you’re gross looking down there, so to have this tension from the onset without her even LOOKING at my parts sucked. It only got worse when her exam was – shall we say – abrupt and uncomfortable. When it was over, she said “So we’ll see you in six months.” Again, no conversation, no nothing. I asked her to wait and said I wanted to go on birth control; I have irregular cycles thanks to my PCOS and it helps keep my hormones in check. Her next comment? “Well, fine, but don’t plan on it working as actual birth control. You’re too heavy for that.”

She wrote me a prescription and left the room.

I should have told her to go fuck herself, but I didn’t. I went home and cried instead.

Again, I’m going to reiterate – women don’t like going to the gyno. It’s stressful and unpleasant. This experience actually made me not go to one for three years afterwards because I was so upset. This lack of taking care of myself likely landed me in the health shit I’m in today regarding my PCOS and hormonal imbalance. I haven’t talked about it until now, and I honestly can’t tell you why it’s coming up, but I will say this: doctors and nurses and people in the health care profession are supposed to be there to help us, and that sometimes involves taking care of our mental health as well as our physical health. When a woman is vulnerable, like when she’s at the gynecologist, it’s a pretty bad time to make her feel like shit for her size. Yes, thank you health industry, I understand the risk of diabetes. I understand that heart disease, high cholesterol, and immobility are real and terrible dangers to people packing pounds. I can also tell you I know HEALTHY fat people, and that everyone — regardless of their size — deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

To keep my message short and simple: doctors and health care professionals should talk more to taking care of us at the size we are at instead of how they envision we ought to be. I assure you as a fat person I know what hazards go along with my weight. I deal with my weight every day when I look in the mirror. I don’t need help feeling crappy about it, thanks. I also don’t need a nasty-assed nurse practitioner helping me develop a phobia of pap smears. It did me no favors and I can assure Amy Fuckin’ Barrows an abysmal bedside manner won’t do her any favors in the long run.

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10 Responses to “Down With The Fatty.”

  1. Fallah July 23, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    As I said on twitter, I want to go back in time and rage-shank that bitch. And I am not a violent person.

    I have a lot I want to say on this actually but right now it would be mostly incoherent. I’ve had it happen to me, from my own Gyn, whom I like overall except for her obvious fat-hate. And she’s the one who diagnosed me with PCOS. /facepalm

    You are definitely not alone. Even my husband’s last primary care doc, who was heavy herself, got all up his ass about losing weight to deal with his acute knee pain. Acute as in: it was fine yesterday, now it hurts like a bitch. Argh.

    Here are two recent blog posts about health-care victim blaming. At least I can link these while I’m thinking of it: http://dearthyroid.org/chronic-snarkopolist-blaming-the-patient/ and http://gradstudentwithlupus.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/the-ill-and-the-blameless/

  2. Caulle July 23, 2011 at 2:14 am #

    Hmm… Did I ever link you the Jezebel article where someone had written about how gynecologists in Florida were starting to outright deny new patients for being over weight? It’s pretty lame is what it is. You already have to pay for your health care down here, to be denied a visit to a doctor just baffles me.

    At any rate… There are tons of people who are healthy and weigh more than what’s ideal. I’ll be damned if I’m told that I’m unhealthy just because I’m not an “ideal weight”. I eat better than 90% of the people I know, exercise regularly, and on your average day feel pretty godamn good. Yeah, eff that I say. You should have called her a cunt.

  3. Mom July 23, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    OK, through extensive research (I am older, kids)-the health care industry has not exclusively zeroed-in on humiliating fatties. The health care industry in many cases has forgotten that they are dealing with human beings. Period. I saw cruel, dismissive, ‘better-than-you’ nurses and doctors in Mass General when my mother lay dying, and in a recent visit to the emergency room. Trust me, it’s not just reserved for the Round People. It’s an assembly- line philosophy that takes the caring out of health care, and there is no excuse for it. If you can’t be kind and empathetic to your patients, go work at the local car wash. Say mean things to the Volvos.
    Your only recourse? The might of your mighty pen. Even all these years later, drop a line and say why you left. Maybe the doctors in that office will crumble it up and toss it— or maybe not. A revolution starts with a ripple, you know.
    On the other hand, there are real angels too. The nurse that helped me help my mother die was one of the most extraordinary humans I ever got to know, for the brief period when I needed her. She gave me courage and strength that I didn’t have, and mercy too.
    So as always, look long and hard enough and you’ll find a diamond mixed in with all the garbage.

    • Fallah July 23, 2011 at 10:16 am #

      The pen thing is the right idea, going forward. I know for Hils that experience was in the past, but for the rest of us:

      Doctor’s offices and especially hospitals are getting a lot of ‘customer service’ initiatives right now. There is something called a Press-Gainey survey and some hospitals take their numbers on it VERY seriously. If you want to chew someone a new asshole for poor treatment write a letter with names, dates, and a concise description of the problem. Then send it to the administration of the doctor’s office/hospital as well as your insurance’s complaint department. If you have a medical group for your insurance (common in HMO) send it to their admin as well.

      I read a lot of blogs written by doctors and nurses (good ones, ones that still see people as human beings) and they frequently mention how complaints about trivial problems are getting more traction than the medical care (like: dude didn’t get a juice box in the ER, or long waits for minor health issues).

  4. fc July 23, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I know about the M.D. asshoilerthanthou tude. My brothers had to physically restrain me from choking out my mother’s “attending physician” after her stroke. Lil’ fooker slunk out of the room back to the wall. Ahhhh, to act freely on impulse without repercussions…

  5. fc July 23, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    While there are dangers (which we are all acutely aware of) to being overweight. As I advance in years, I find myself drawn; once again, towards the Rubenesque female figures. There’s just sumpthin about a lil jiggle when she giggles… ; )
    As for the haters…one day (hopefully soon) they may find themselves in a situation where they are the subject of derision and scorn. And hopefully the times they incurred such upon others, will come flooding back to them, their mind showing them what an asshat they were. And the realization that they should be more understanding and sympathetic to others around them.
    Then their uterus falls out and goes “Pfffffttt-phaaaah.” at them; Amy Effin Barrows.

  6. Anna July 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Many of you saw this recently on facebook, but I’ve been struggling with chronic, widespread joint and muscle pain. I went to the doctor to find help with this. She did a bunch of bloodwork, and when the test results came back, everything was “normal” except my inflammation markers…. and my cholesterol was slightly elevated.

    History, which she knows: I have had “elevated” cholesterol all my life. All my family members do too, and none of them have had problems with heart disease. My “good” cholesterol is really high (more than double the minimum) and my triglicerides and “bad” cholesterol are within “normal” ranges. As such, the only reason the number is “high” is the good stuff.

    When I got the blood test back, the extent of my doctor’s communication was “All your bloodwork came back normal, but your cholesterol is too high, here are 6 pages of handouts on following a low fat diet. Eat more fish and less carbs – fewer than 3 oz of whole carbohydrate per day, and do not eat any fat. Also, you should exercise more.”

    NOTHING about the chronic pain, or the fact that maybe the pain might get in the way of exercise. No follow up, nothing about how to manage it, not even a question about whether I’d gotten an appointment. Just “eat less fat, fatty.” And I am only slightly overweight! (most people think I’m “normal” weight and I wear straight sized clothing) I can’t imagine trying to get care for this with my weight working against me as well as my genetics.

    • Claire July 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      These bad doctor stories are appalling. It’s so sad that any medical professional would treat someone that way; my best guess is that they’re in it for the money.
      And Anna, definitely read up on fluffy vs. dense LDL. Having high cholesterol can be not a bad thing at all. And well, you already know how I feel about low fat (PSST IT’S BUNK).

  7. Kyraine July 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Look, I’m an EMT, not a doctor, but if anyone in the medical profession can’t keep their shit together long enough to take care of your patients, be respectful, and listen, without fixating on a certain thing (like weight), then it MIGHT be a cue to step back, take a break, and settle down. Or find another profession where you don’t have someone else depending on you. That sort of responsibility is not one that you dick around with. People can’t be jammed into neat little categories, either, or judged based on age or weight.

    And it’s even more important for patients to be their own advocates. I came down with Lyme disease last year, and I would not have gotten treated for it if I hadn’t known that not all patients have the bulls eye rash. The doctor I saw insisted that you had to have the rash to have Lyme, and if I hadn’t been assertive enough to tell him that was BS, I wouldn’t have gotten the antibiotics I needed. Absolutely send feedback. Ask to swap doctors- that whole girly doc thing, I’m switching mine because I don’t do abrupt with that sort of a doctor’s visit. The guy who’s going to cut my foot open this fall, I’m keeping because he is careful, respectful, and genuinely cares for his patients. I hate hearing the bad stories. We’re at our most vulnerable when it comes to medical problems and I wish doctors would remember that.

  8. Sarai July 23, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    Adding to the list- Several years ago I injured my wrist trying to hold a big dog in a bathtub (used to be a dog groomer). I had no regular doctor, so I headed to the nearest Patient First to get it checked out. Nobody asked any questions beyond the initial “Why are you here today?”, then this elderly German doctor comes in to look at me. He looks at my wrist for -literally- 3 seconds, then tells me I have a tendon cyst and I need surgery. That was it. He did take X-rays when I pressed it, but said nothing to me about them, WHILE THEY WERE LOOKING AT THEM WITH ME STILL IN THE ROOM. Needless to say, I wasn’t reassured at all when I left, and was a bit ticked to boot.

    I googled “tendon cyst” later, and the symptoms it described sounded nothing like what my wrist felt like. I never got the surgery, and have developed an even bigger distrust of doctors than what I already had.

    Just a couple days ago I hurt my hand bad enough that I couldn’t use my first two fingers at all (it’s getting better now, though). When I told my mom about it, she wanted to know why I haven’t been to a doctor yet. -.-

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