On Doctors

Go read the post below this one.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.


Okay, ready? 

It got me thinking about doctors and the way some of them see nothing but the fat.

And I realized something.  I’ve been very lucky.

I was never told by a doctor that I needed to lose weight.  N.E.V.E.R.  Are you surprised?  I am – now.  I honestly didn’t know that there were doctors out there that would act so horribly towards fat people.  (Until I found the Fat Acceptance movement, that is; I’ve been reading a lot of horror stories in the last month or so.)

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had asshole doctors before.  Like the OB/GYN that tried to force me to have a cesarean with my fourth child simply on the basis that I’d had one before.  I refused; I told him that I had had two successful VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) since my first child, that my first cesarean was only done because of the pre-eclampsya that I had suffered from, and unless there was an actual medical reason for me to have one, I wasn’t going to.  He came back with all kinds of bullshit studies that showed “once a cesarean, always a cesarean.”  (Which 95% of doctors nowadays will admit is a bunch of neanderthal bullshit.)  I steadfastly refused, so he refused to treat me, which was absolutely fine with me.  I saw his partner instead, and HE actually LISTENED to me.  He even listened when I told him that I’d never gone into spontaneous labor before (I’d had to be induced with all of my children, only it didn’t work with my first), and I wanted to know how long he would let me go overdue before he would induce me.  By that time I was already 39 weeks gone, and he would have induced me the very next day if it weren’t for the fact that I was still working!  (I was due to go on maternity leave in a few days anyway, so we scheduled it for my first day of maternity leave – talk about perfect timing!  And I did end up having a cesarean with that child, but not for the reasons that Dr. Asshole wanted.  The baby had turned in the last couple of days before birth and was breech.)

But not one of them have ever made an issue of my weight.  If anything, it’s been the opposite.  I remember Christmas Eve 2004 – yes, I went to the doctor on Christmas Eve (of course, it helped that we lived only two blocks away from the doctor’s office, too).  I had bit the bullet and went to the doctor to deal with my depression.  It was getting bad – really bad – to the point where I was actually thinking about suicide again, something I hadn’t done in at least ten years.  I tried to be a good little patient and write up everything I could possibly think of that the doctor might want to know, including the doctors I’d seen in the US (complete with contact information, where I could find it) and all that.  And I added to the list that my weight was affecting my depression because of my body-image and self-esteem issues.  Wanna know what that doctor told me?  She said: “Worry about your depression first.  Work on that, and then you can work on your weight.  If you try to do too many things at once you’re not going to get anywhere.”  I was actually shocked – I’d expected her to put me on some sort of diet (which would irritate me now, but I was too far gone in my disordered eating and obsession over my weight to care at the time).  At the time, I didn’t know what to make of it.  Now, looking back, I can see that she was right.  My depression – especially considering the fact that I was considering suicide – was much more of a threat to me than the extra 40 or so pounds that I was carrying around at the time (MY ideal weight would be around 160; not what the “BMI charts” say I should weigh, but I think that would be the ideal weight for ME.)

I’ve seen other doctors in the same practice, and none of them have ever brought my weight up as an issue unless I did it first.  I don’t know if they all went to the same School of Bedside Manner, but they all have the same tact: when I walk into the consulting room, they ask me why I’ve come to see them.  They don’t tell me I’m too fat and that’s the only thing wrong with me, they actually want to know what has prompted me to come to them, and they deal with that.  Could it be that they think I’m too fat?  Probably.  But they leave their personal prejudices out of it and deal with me as a patient, not just as a fat person.  They’re – *GASP!!* – professionals, and they actually act professional.

Now, I’m not writing this as a rebuttal to all those people out there that have had horrible experiences with doctors and other health professionals; if anything, it’s exactly the opposite.  I’ve been lucky enough to had good healthcare from doctors, and reading stories such as the ones at First, Do No Harm absolutely horrify me.  It makes me wonder, what would I be like now if *I* had encountered such blatant fat-bigotry as they have?  Hell, I might not even BE here, to be honest.  I honestly don’t know what the differences are between the doctors I’ve encountered and the doctors that practice blatant fat-hate on their patients, but there obviously is a difference.  I just wish that everybody could have the same positive experience that I have had.

Which makes it all the more important that I implore you: go read that blog.  It will be a learning experience for you, if nothing else.


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