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Fat Shaming Doctors

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Below is my response to another Spark Blog about fat-shaming doctors:

For any "tough love" doctors who may be listening, here's a story about what happens when "fatties" leave your office.

I need a hip replacement. No question about it, xrays prove the joint is gone and I'm months if not weeks away from a wheelchair.

Doctor #1 was my husband's surgeon, has met me, has my records (I go to the same practice), knows I'm fat, and told my husband to have me come on in when I was ready. Apparently so he could work out some aggression.

He walked in and, without looking at my xrays or file, pronounced that I can't consider operating on you, you are too fat. Don't I know what a hardship it would be for him and the nurses who would be forced to take care of me after? THEN he looked at my xrays, looked shocked, and said he would consider "helping me" if I manage to lose 100-150 lbs. But he didn't think I would. Excuse me doc, get out of the way unless you want my fat ass to contaminate you on my way out the door!

I went home and ate an entire Marie Calendar Key Lime Pie while crying and muttering, "Frack you, Dr. #1." I mean, why the hell not? The experience was humiliating and anti-motivational. It made my normal-weight friends mad, but I'm used to it from doctors. Then I did more research and discovered that while the risk of infection is higher, improvement in quality of life and pain relief are absolutely equal between morbidly obese patients and those of normal weight.

Dr. #2 gently examined my range of motion and found it non-existent. He looked me in the eye and asked about my level of function. We discussed the research. He explained that because it's 1 hip & not both, and I have siblings with same problem, I probably have genetic hip dysplasia and while the weight doesn't help, this is NOT MY FAULT. He explained that in his experience he's had bad results in patients over 300 lbs. My choices were to try to loose weight, acknowledging this would require a very difficult reduction in calories, or to refer to another surgeon (in another state) who works with super-morbidly obese patients. I needed to lose 30 lbs to meet his pre-op criteria. He proposed that I come back in 3 months & if I had lost 15 lbs, he would put me on the surgical schedule & trust me to lose the rest.

I went home, joined SparkPeople and ordered a swimsuit so I can try water-walking. I've lost 10 lbs. so far because I can see light at the end of the tunnel and have a reasonable doctor who is treating me with respect.

P.S. If I come to see you about a problem, say an ear infection, it does not build a therapeutic relationship to refuse to treat an acute problem unless I acquiese to your demand that I submit to your preferred weight loss method first. I'm pretty sure diet pills won't make the bacteria in my ear go away, nor will weight loss surgery. Oh, and I will be happy to have weight loss surgery if you pay for it, my insurance won't. Really, I ask every year.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JILL313 1/19/2011 12:35AM

    Oh my gosh what a rude moron that first Dr. is you went to. I'm so glad you got another opinion. My Dr. is heavy set but I'm even heavier and he keeps pushing weight loss surgery for me but I'd actually rather do it this way--I guess because I'm scared that I'd be the one that couldn't maintain the weight loss as you can only eat a thimble full of food the rest of your life or you gain the weight back. You're already made a big dent in what you need to lose--so you will do this!!

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JUNEBUG1944 1/17/2011 7:49PM

    I'm glad you found a good doctor. You can lose the weight and you will have your surgery. You are trying so hard and will succeed.

On the other side of the coin...I've had doctors who have never, never mentioned my weight...even at 250# and 5'4" tall. Were they blind or just didn't care? I finally found a cardiologist who is Dr. Cutie...he is so easy on the eyes and so wondeful. On my first visit, he politely ASKED me if I thought maybe I could lose a FEW pounds before my next visit. When I lost 5, he just about turned cartwheels...and this was 6 months later! Anyway, we're working together and it is working!

I know you can succeed and we'll be here to cheer you on!

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OHSOCOOLLISA 1/17/2011 3:26PM

    Oh MERCY! You had way more grace than I may have had. I get so angry when people are so mean! I'm thrilled you found someone worthy of your business and am really hoping you get that new hip sooner rather than later.

Take care of you!

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NOMOREBREAKS 1/17/2011 2:45PM

    A big motivation for me to lose the weight has always been so that everyone would quit blaming everything on it.

Bad knee (high school I was supposed to have a surgery on it that I never had - I was 124 pounds)? Must be the weight.

Migraines (that started in my teens when I was 124 pounds)? It's because I'm fat.

Seriously. While i KNOW that the fat is killing me and a LOT of things that are wrong with me are due to the excess weight and poorly eating habits not EVERYTHING that goes wrong with my body or in my life is due to the weight.

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MAYBE_SOMEDAY 1/15/2011 11:52PM

    I hope you reach your weight loss goals and then some. Good luck with you journey and I hope the surgery goes well.

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JAYCEE35 1/15/2011 9:50PM

    My personal favourite was having a doctor yell at me for having broken my sternum, clearly because I was obese... it had nothing to do with falling down a flight of 15 stairs onto cement.

Or how about the time I had a sinus infection because I was fat.

Or the time I was 10 and my doctor told me that little boys didn't like fat girls and put me on a 900 calorie a day diet that stunted my growth (although I am 5'10" so I could have ended up over 6 feet tall lol).

Some doctors suck, and some are lovely. And I am happy that you had the opportunity to work with the second doctor. I have a very good family doctor' who would love for me to have surgery, but she is trusting that I can lose weight and has helped me get the tools to do it.

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NEVERGIVEUP69 1/15/2011 9:46PM

    I have had the same experience as I am sure most fat ppl have. Went to a doctor a few years back, and everything came back to my weight. Not to mention this doctor didn't have a personality to top it off. Now I have a GREAT doctor, and she never blames my weight for anything. I absolutely LOVE her!!! So glad u went to the other doctor, too many ppl settle with the doctor they have, no matter what the doctors attitude. No one has to put up with that kind of attitude no matter what.

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EMMASB 1/15/2011 7:33PM

    Oh i posted a blog today mulling over similar feelings having left the doc's office. honestly if they realized that obesity can affect ANYONE including them, i swear they would have an entirely different reaction to those of us who are fighting the fat. Reminds me of Outbreak - we need Dustin Hoffman in a plastic yellow jumpsuit and a Rhesus monkey to scare some sense into them. In future if im to encounter my doc again i will make a point of saying how i used to look exactly like she does until the fat virus grabbed me. Obesity will take any victim in my books, it doesnt care what you do for a living- neither does stupidity or ignorance which seems to run rampant in our medical communities.

I ate steak and spud after my miserable doc visit but if your keylime pie had of been handy i wd have eaten that too.

Good Luck with your hip. Seems to me you have just the right spirit for a great recovery - sorry the ignoramus make you work harder than necessary to get where you needed to be- thank god for the good docs too.

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BOOMAC1961 1/15/2011 7:00PM

    I am so glad that you got a 2nd opinion and a kind, caring doctor! I have put off going to a doctor for several years for just the reasons you have listed for Dr.#1. Thank God I have been healthy! I have mad it a goal this year to get caught up on all my appointments that I am behind on!
I wish you the best of luck with your hip replacement - I know you will lose the weight to have it soon! emoticon

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Splish Splash

Friday, January 14, 2011

Today I googled, called and emailed looking for a pool to water-walk in with my brand new, stylish black and gray swimsuit (thank you, eBay!).

Budget is tight because we spend about 25% of our single-earner gross income on medical expenses. Just today husband was told he needs surgery on his wrist, oy vey! Partly, though, I just can't see spending tons on a membership when literally all I can do is walk across the pool for maybe 1/2 hour, hopefully get out unassisted, then go home. (I would love to try a seated Yoga class, too, but those are all during the day when I'm at work.)

The least expensive option ($3-4 per session) is the high school pool. My kids and I (at age 34! a million years ago!) all learned to swim there, but the facilities are...not posh. If I wanted to hang out in a stinky locker room with teenagers I did not give birth to, I'd be a gym teacher.

A private club near work is $125 to join then $45/mo. More if hubby wants to come with, which he says he does. They did agree to give me 1 free pass to check the place out but won't budge on fees.

The Y is my first choice, with a 4' pool, hot tub to loosen up in, nice locker room. They even have 1/2 off joining fees this month, but a family membership is $90/mo; definitely not in the budget. Less if I leave off hubby or daughter, but that's no fun. I emailed to ask if they'd give me a break until my surgery even though I don't qualify for a scholarship (their website said something about partial memberships but no details). Maybe they've missed me since I went back to work (12 years ago), got divorced, started grad school and had neither time nor money for my Y habit?

The Y also is giving 5 free passes through the end of the month, so that's definitely where I'm water walking the next 5 times. Beyond that it depends on what response I get. One way or another, it's time to get wet!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOMOREBREAKS 1/14/2011 11:03AM

    Does your town have a pool?

I know a secret. Most community pools (your Y may do this too) will give "scholarships" to those who can't afford the fees. They will either reduce or nullify class fees and pool usage fees for you. You have to call up and say "we don't have much money, and I'm wondering if you offer any sort of price reduction or scholarships to families who can't afford your fees."

And get schedules for all the pools, most have "free days" and free classes every month or so to get new people in.

Also you could mention to the other pools "Oh, well, the high school pool is only 3$ a session so I guess I'll go there. They may offer you a special rate, or a free pass every so many visits or something. THEY want your money to go them THEM, not another pool.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I've lost about 10 lbs. in the last couple of weeks. And I'm feeling the urge to sabotage myself. Guess I still have some issues to work through!

I'm staying on track but there is an annoying voice in the back of my head saying, "You can't lose weight. You know you can't, you never have. If you do you won't be able to keep it off. Oh, and you've been losing weight fast--you're ahead of schedule so it won't matter if you take a break from eating healthier."

I don't know who "she" thinks she is, but she's pissing me off. She gives really bad advice. Plus, there is absolutely no better way to get me to do something than to tell me I can't! My husband is totally supportive (just one of the many reasons #2 is better than #1 was). More importantly: I WANT A NEW HIP. I WANT A NEW HIP AND I WANT IT NOW! I don't have time to screw around with annoying voices (or Marie Callender key lime pies) trying to lead me astray.

At some point I need to do some naval gazing and figure out exactly why I feel the need to get myself off track. But for now, the important thing is that my BEHAVIOR is being directed by my rational self. Did I mention I really, really want a new hip and I can't have one unless I lose weight?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go purge my urge to chew with some lovely Celery Radish and Olive salad. emoticon


Note to Self

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

After a couple of weeks of attempting to eat right, we had a busy day and plain forgot to plan for dinner. The bathrooms and carpet look and smell marvelous! Unfortunately, nothing in the cupboard or freezer was appealing and we ran out for teriyaki. Daughter recommended the fried rice and it *was* delicious.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

I ate much too much. Note to self: I feel icky. I will feel doubly icky tomorrow when my ankles are swollen to beat hell. I enjoyed not feeling bloated and want to get back there!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EFELL123 1/12/2011 4:16AM

    Today's a new day - one of my favorite quotes is you can not change the past but you can change the future.

Enjoy your clean house! emoticon

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SEATTLESEAGIRL 1/11/2011 11:50AM

  At least your house is clean. Ya rice bloats me bad.I am not a big rice eater. But do like chinese fried rice. My blood sugars pay for it too!! Have a great day Diane. emoticon

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GIGICHRISTINE 1/11/2011 12:21AM

    Yay to fried rice.

Boo to swollen ankles!

I totally know how you feel, though. When I eat dairy, I pay for it. But, sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!


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Living with Lap Band

Saturday, January 08, 2011

It is interesting living with someone who has had lap band. My husband had his put in a few years ago and rapidly lost 85 lbs. He's mostly kept it off, but stalled before reaching his goal weight.

He regained some by cheating the band, mostly by drinking with meals to flush food past the band to have room for more. At one time we had the band deflated due to other medical issues. He's now back on the program, back to his previous level and working really hard to get to his goal weight.

Anyway, meals together are interesting. The pouch formed by the band is about the size of a golf ball. A normal stomach holds 3 pints! He has to eat protein first, then veggies if he has room. Carbs are last, partly because they tend to get "stuck" and that isn't pretty. He's also sodium deficient for some weird reason, so salts everything liberally!

My challenge is to keep my fat and sodium down, while keeping protein, calcium, iron and complex carbs up. He occasionally packs a lunch for me if I'm too busy and I have to really specify what I need. I can have all the lettuce I want in my salad. No, really, honey, I WANT 3 cups of lettuce! (He doesn't eat any due to the low nutrient content and other band issues.) Please don't chop my meat, egg, cheese and veggies into dust, I like CHUNKINESS! (He chops everything fine, again to make his band happy.)

We are using salad plates at dinner. Not so much to help with my portion control, although that's a nice added benefit, but to assuage my guilt. He measures his servings with a shot glass. I know there's no reason for me to feel guilty, but I do anyway.

Many of our needs are the same: Low fat. High nutrient. Quit eating crap! Exercise more! The differences do make cooking a challenge, though. I still make a mostly veggie stir-fry, but we serve his first and pick out meat and carefully selected veggies. He skips the rice and crunches on a couple of chow mein noodles instead. He loves Splenda and I can't stand it, so as a compromise I use 1/2 sugar and substitute the rest with 1/4 of amount called for in Splenda when I bake. I'm learning to love left overs. I try to get enough fiber in my diet to overcome the side effects of my pain killers. He has to take fiber supplements & that's all there is to that.

I'm surprised and grateful that so far I've been able to lose a few pounds. I really didn't think I could do it without weight loss surgery. When hubby had his done, he had different insurance but our current plan won't have anything to do with ANY type of obesity treatment. This is despite my having at least 5 co-morbidities! So on we go with this mix & match food plan.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUG1944 1/8/2011 11:25PM

    Oh my, I never knew there were such problems with lap band. You are one brave, tough lady dealing with this.

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FENWAYGIRL18 1/8/2011 1:19PM

    Feel good about yourself, your doing it the healthy way! emoticon

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