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Archive for the ‘Fat Acceptance’ Category

Went to my new doctor yesterday for a physical. I guess I wasn’t very appalled at the time, because I had been bracing for the worst, but the more I think about it the more upset I am–the more I realize, I totally just got fat-hated by my doctor.

Since getting involved in FA I’ve read a lot of the horror stories about experiences with doctors. I’d gotten a lot of the you-need-to-lose-weight talks from previous doctors, but couldn’t speak up due to being a minor and having a father who put a lot of stock in the I-was-too-fat line of thinking. Once I turned 18, I only had one doctor’s appointment, and then stopped going altogether, aside from a few ER visits. I think it was a combination of being a busy young person with jobs and schoolwork as well as being afraid of the Weight Talk, and a few years into my doctor drought, reading these stories wasn’t helping my outlook on going to the doctor.

Problem is, I’ve had fairly severe asthma for as long as I can remember. It’s not the kind of asthma that went away as I got older, and it just got worse with age. I needed my regular prescriptions, because even with them my asthma wasn’t too well-controlled. When I saw a pulminologist for the first time when I was sixteen, he did some breathing tests with me and told me that with my results, he was surprised I was even able to walk around. Which, at the time, sort of stunned me because my breathing had been feeling pretty normal that day, and I was also a pretty active person in general, doing a lot of walking and biking and just generally living my life as a (fat) sixteen-year-old girl. But anyway, once I turned 18 I had to turn to adult medicine, and one 10-minute visit to my newly-assigned doctor later, I had my asthma meds in hand and promptly just seemed to stop going. Fast forward to now, and I’ve been without insurance and without medication for the better part of this past year. My health in general has declined–when I was without my prescription meds, I had only a fast-acting over the counter inhaler to rely on, which is bad for your heart and blood pressure, and which wasn’t nearly as effective as my usual meds. Not a great combination. Without Advair, that purple-y discus you see on the television commercials, my respiratory system in general wasn’t stabilized from day to day, and without my prescription inhaler, I couldn’t treat those systems as effectively.

In short, when I came to this doctor, I was almost a year without proper meds, was going through 2-3 over the counter inhalers a week (NOT a good thing), and was out of work for nearly four months and was unable to do much other than sit at home most days. A couple weeks before this appointment, I was yearning for a walk so much that I decided, hey, it’s warm out, I’ll just take a walk around the block and see how that works out for me. In short, it was a bad idea. Halfway around the block my lungs have seized up and it feels like I can’t get air in and out of them. By the time I made it back to my place, my legs were feeling numb and my head was pounding and I was dizzy. I felt like I was going to throw up. It was almost an hour before I recovered fully. From a walk around the block.

Fast forward to my doc’s appointment. I explain to him that my asthma has gotten very severe, stopping me from being able to be active or live a normal life. I explain that most of my life I’ve always been a pretty darn active person and that I can no longer live that way. He listens to my lungs, tell me I “actually sound pretty good”–of course, I was sitting and not exerting myself in any way–and then changes the subject.

I find myself being told that “obviously” my weight is a “big problem”! Oh noes! I stare blankly as he tells me he thinks I should try and get some exercise. GEE, REALLY? THANKS, I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT! As courteously as I can, I explain that I’ve always been fat, even when I exercised an hour or more a day five days a week and through various diets, and that right now my issue is that I don’t feel well enough to exercise even though I want to. He orders a blood test to check for an underactive thyroid, citing that such things can make it “difficult for someone to lose weight”. Maybe the fact that permanently losing significant amounts of weight is basically impossible makes it difficult? Just maybe? Anyway, he then, after all this, announces that he is writing me a prescription for Zoloft for my depression, wink winking at me about how “depression might make it hard to focus on weight loss or exercise”.

What. The. Fuck. Did you even once consider for a second that for me, my weight is not “obviously” a PROBLEM? That who I am is not fundamentally an issue for me? That maybe, as STRANGE AND BIZARRE AS THIS IS, that I don’t WANT to “focus on weight loss”? You don’t even HESITATE to talk about what a PROBLEM my body is after feeling around my stomach and staring at me in nothing but my underwear and this silly blue poncho. And why the fuck are you assuming that I haven’t wanted to be active? Anything to get me out of this damn house, to get my blood flowing. ANYTHING. For god’s sake, you don’t think I’ve loathed sitting on this couch for months? I fucking never want to see this couch again. I don’t fucking want to stare at my messy apartment and not feel well enough to clean it. I don’t want to sit here playing Minecraft for 8 hours straight (well, not daily, at least). The reason I tried to take that walk around the block? Because I had spent a good part of the afternoon as a crying mess in the car and coming back home to that couch was too much. Because I needed to breathe some fresh air and move for once. Because moving around would actually make me feel better, make me feel alive. So yeah, there are days when my depression makes me feel like I have no energy, but most days I’d much rather be doing ANYTHING but just sitting here for fourteen hours.

Kind of stunned, I take the prescription and then I am hit with further shock: he tells me he thinks my current asthma meds are fine and isn’t going to change anything up. After all I’ve told him. After he’s expressed that he wants me to exercise, he is not even going to enable me to do so, which is most of the reason I went to him at all. He asks if, oh, maybe do I want a referral for a pulminary specialist? Like, in a tone that says, “I don’t know if this will help you at all but I GUESS I can do it if it’ll make you feel better, LOLsies!” I just say yes and take the referral. Hopefully THEY can actually HELP ME with my asthma.

It’s bizarre, because I had braced myself for this kind of treatment after hearing all of the horror stories. And really, I know it’s not as bad as a lot of other people have gotten it. But it fucking hurt. He went from being very sensitive and asking a lot of questions about my depression and writing up a prescription fairly quickly for it to being a dickhead who wouldn’t LISTEN TO ME AT ALL. I was fat, so clearly I wasn’t exercising because I just didn’t want to exercise, despite my explanations to the contrary. My lungs sounded fine right at that moment, when I was stationary and comfortable, so I must be dramatizing it in order to try and excuse my inherent laziness! It’s like everything I was trying to say to him was just completely erased by his perception of my fat. Who I was just got erased. Of course I’m depressed! I’m fat! Of course I don’t exercise regularly! I’m fat! And depressed about my fat!

God damn it, do you know out of ALL OF THE THINGS IN MY LIFE that depress me, my fat is NOT one of them!? People like this DOCTOR are what depress me. Treatment from a medical professional like this is what depresses me, and the fact that it happens to fat people everywhere is what depresses me. My fat is JUST FINE, thank you very much, and I am most certainly NOT depressed about it. STOP assuming that I am!

Three cheers for getting a referral to someone who knows what they are doing. Three cheers for getting a new primary care provider. Three cheers for Zoloft, because now I can feel happier about being discriminated against. Why aren’t we having riots yet? People die from being treated this way. I can’t imagine being treated even worse than this, yet I know that it happens. Fuck! Can we please DEMAND that something be done about this?!

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