There has been some pretty hateful stuff said to me in my life. Some of it was not direct and some of it was. In my early 20’s I had Hodgkin’s disease, a highly curable form of lymphatic cancer. I was about the same weight I am now. Thankfully I was able to receive medical care from the US Government as military dependent. During my chemo treatment I received many CT scans and one came back with the radiologist indicating I had a slightly larger than normal sized liver. I am a slightly larger than normal sized person (male or female and based on my height not my weight). Because Chemo does all sorts of nasty things to your organs, my Oncologist thought it would be best if I got and ultrasound of my liver just to make sure. I showed no other signs of liver disease and my blood tests were all normal. Against my better judgment I went in for the test.
The tech was a naval officer, Dr. Smith (I can't remember his name). He was rude and not very nice. As the test went on he began to push the probe into my stomach. He complained out loud how hard it was to see anything on the screen so he jammed it in more. He jammed it in several more times only harder and deeper. He was oblivious to the tears running down my face. When I thought he was going to rupture my spleen, I knocked the probe out of his hand and sat up. “You are harming me.” I told him. He looked right in my face and said “You are obese Mrs. Beeson and it is hard for me to get a reading.” I got off the table and got right in his face. “Oh my god! I am obese?! I had no idea. Look asshole, I am the first one in the morning and the last one at night to know I am OBESE. It does not give you permission to hurt me like that.” I walked out of the exam room.
The next day I woke up with a football sized bruise across my stomach. I drove down to the hospital and made my Oncologist see what he had done. She was a Commander and had some rank so we both walked over to Radiology where she tore in to the Commanding Officer of that department who in turn tore Lt. Smith a new one. I decided after that incident no one was going to make me feel bad or harm me in the name of medicine.
Even after losing 90 pounds my orthopedist was happy and then asked me what my plan was to lose another 100. I know that I need to do that but he could have paused between the comments. I know he wants me to help myself to save what is left of my knees. I get that. And I dread finding a new primary care doctor this year. I know that I am going to have to explain everything to them that I have already lost 90 pounds, I am in Weight Watchers, etc.
Here are some interesting facts. A recent study found that 50% of doctors find obese patients awkward, unattractive, and noncompliant. 1/3 of those doctors described fat patients as weak willed, sloppy, and lazy. We need to change the minds of not only society in general but we have to work on the people that are supposed to take care of us.
I am not saying don’t go to the doctor. In fact I want you to go to the doctor. I want you to proactive in your health care. You need to get your annual exams. You need to get your annual blood tests done so you know the state of your health. You should never ignore a bump, lump, or bruise that lasts more than 3 weeks. When you go, stand up for yourself. Don’t let anyone bully you in to feeling back. Let’s face it, If you are fat your doctor is going to tell you to lose weight. What you choose to do with that advice is up to you. But know where you stand and then decide where to go from there.