There’s a new blog in town called First, Do No Harm: Real Stories of Fat Prejudice in Health Care. They’re soliciting your stories, so if you have any fat prejudice stories, now you know where to send them. Here’s a sample:
She gave me a 30 minute lecture about people “your size” and how it was irresponsible of me to use the patch because of my weight and then, out of the corner of her mouth, said “Well, I guess it’s no surprise.” I asked her what that meant, and she said – “It’s obvious you have a problem with being responsible for your body.”
The stories there are pretty powerful and guaranteed to piss you off.
On the other hand, I have an admission to make, in honor of this new blog. I went in for my physical today and I realized I get super defensive about my weight at the doctor’s office, especially if my doctor is thin. (I had a fat gynecologist for many years who was awesome, and yet as I think about it, I realize I still got a little defensive about my body.) I am absolutely not proud of this.
My regular doctor is on maternity leave, and so I met a new doctor today. When she came in I saw that she was (horrors) thin and my heart sank a little because I had no idea how she might respond to me. Then I immediately set out to prove to her I was a “good” fat person. She asked if I had any health issues. “I have acid reflux,” I said, “But I’m trying to lose weight to resolve it. I’ve already lost five pounds!”
I cringe just thinking about this, and I know you’re all very disappointed. Not because I’m losing weight (at least I hope not) but because I put the “blame” on myself for my health issue and bought into the whole “bad fatty” mentality. I mean, I know reflux sometimes correlates with overweight, but according to the doctor’s chart, I weighed almost exactly the same last year (I’m seven pounds lighter than I was last November, and I’ve lost five pounds in the past two weeks, in case you want to follow my logic) and the reflux began, very suddenly, in March. It’s not like I gained a whole bunch of weight this year; it’s been pretty stable. I might have been blaming my fat for something that has nothing to do with fat. Me, not my evil thin doctor.
But the happy ending to this story is that the new doctor turned out to be great, and at one point she said, “You know, with some people, acid reflux just happens. It isn’t necessarily connected to weight all the time.” That’s kind of amazing to me. A thin doctor actually told me not to blame my weight for a health problem. Of course she was supportive when I explained that I’d largely cut sugar out of my diet and that I was losing weight, but she was very fat positive, I felt. She didn’t pressure me to lose more weight; in fact, she said she’s happy with patients who maintain their weight, because it’s so difficult to do.
So there you go: my confession to you. And I’m wondering, can anybody relate to this? Do you get defensive at the doctor’s office? Is your doctor fat positive, fatist, or somewhere in between?
Posted by mo pie