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12/2/10

Square Hole, Round Peg

Usually I keep the talk on my blog about kittehs, owls and crocheted afghans. Honestly, it isn't all I think about. And hey, since this is MY blog, I can talk about anything I want right? Even things I am passionate about and not everybody agrees with. *gasp* Something I feel very strongly about is size acceptance.

source
I went to the doctor today because my back has been sore the last few weeks and I wanted to get a referral for massage therapy. I have had back problems off and on, the worst being when I was in a car accident last year. Even in middle school when I was not fat, I had back problems. Besides the car accident, I am never not able to function because of back pain. But still I went to the doctor, after putting it off for a while. I was quickly reminded of why I had put it off. Just like every other appointment with a doctor it ends with a sales pitch for Weight Watchers. For God's sakes! I am only having a little back pain and I want a fucking massage. Ok, so I would be fine without it but I figure that since I have insurance and have the option of not being in pain, I should take advantage of it. But that isn't possible! The answer is always lose weight. You have an ear infection, lose weight. You get migraines, lose weight.

I understand that it is their thing to encourage healthy living but I feel like I am not even given the chance for fair treatment and care. I shouldn't have to tell the doctor the treatment plan that I need. They should offer it to me. I don't need a lecture. I should be allowed to take care of my health without being fat-shamed. I wouldn't even mind if she had asked me if I was interested in losing weight or asked if I wanted to know more information. But the automatic assumption that it is my ultimate goal and will make all my problems go away makes me angry. Even after having me stretch (I can touch my toes) and demonstrate my mobility, she treated me like I was on the edge of death due to my size. That it was not even possible for me to live a healthy life in my current state (even though I am). That any issue I am having can be answered with a weight loss plan, of course without providing any proof or reason or even accessing my actual health.

I want to be treated with respect when I go to the doctor. I would like my doctor to genuinely care about my health and take my concerns seriously. I would like for the health industry to just consider that the answer to everything is not because I am fat. To look at me like a person and offer me alternatives and helpful options.

That didn't happen so I forgave the doctor for her ignorance, told her what I needed to feel better and left with my referral and probably a little more fear to go back ever again. Don't worry, I am more strong-willed and self-confident than that and I will be switching providers and continue to take care of myself and my health.

Please be respectful and don't post offending comments. 
If you don't agree with the size acceptance movement, move on.

23 ♥ COMMENTS ♥:

crystal said...

I love this post!!!!! I feel so strongly about this and fully believe that as long as people are living a personally healthy lifestyle and love themselves, there is no right or wrong when it comes to weight!!

From the doctors end, I understand a statement or question regarding weight, but unless someone really is morbidly obese and not aware of the health problems they are causing themselves, one statement or question is enough!! Our society seems to think that unless you are stick thin, all of your problems (and I mean all problems, not just health related) are due to weight, and subsequently would be solved by losing weight. Im sorry but my overwhelming stress, my bad habits, and my gray hairs are not going to be solved by losing a few pounds!!

Im rambling, but my final point is that I actually find a woman who is overweight (by the standards set by our society) to be far far more attractive than a stick thin model any day. Plus, most of the people I know with poor self and body images are the sickeningly skinny ones, not the full-figured beautiful and confident women!!

Ok, stepping off of my soapbox now...

Jo said...

Great post!!!! The same thing happens to me.

Once I went to a brand new doctor and they started on about my weight. My argument back to them was that they didn't know me from a bar of soap and how did they know I hadn't been dieting and already lost 20kg? A comment like that might break all the good work I'd been doing and send me back to the chocolate. My sister is slim, and she has heaps of back problems, I'm not and my back is fine. Figure that one out!

Now when a doctor tells me it's about my weight, I say "If a 'thin' person was sitting in front of you with the same symptoms, what would you diagnose? Becuase I've been fat for years, but this has only started being a problem recently." That usually shuts them up.

Also, most people aren't stupid, they own mirrors and purchase clothes, they are aware of how they look, and if they wanted to change it, they can ask for help.

Rachele from The Nearsighted Owl said...

@crystal I would totally not have been bothered by a question or statement. But this lady gave me a lesson which including a poster of a spine (which had no relevance since my spine is fine, been x-rayed!) and basically ordered me to lose a substantial amount of weight OR ELSE.

Yay for full-figured and confident women!

Rachele from The Nearsighted Owl said...

@Jo Thanks! I love your response. Making a special note to myself to use that next time!

Elizabeth said...

I hate when things like this happen. I once went to a doctor for a pap and got a lecture on how I should be exercising everyday blah de blah. It's so frustrating! I think we need to be more vocal with medical professionals, they can only dish the fatphobia if we let them, I suppose. Anyway, it's not easy either way :(

Jessemiah said...

Oh Miss Rachele...what a horrid doctor....now would they even say anything to a skinny person? would they ask them what there dietry habits are? I am all for body acceptance no matter what size or shape....we need to except EVERYONE...fat, thin, tall, short...whatever they are....it's all good. I think fatism is the new predjudice...people seem to find it perfectly fine to word vomit thier hatred about us larger people....Your gorgeous....and you have the right to feel beautiful and healthy...don't ever change : ) I love your blog...Love, Peace & Sunshine xox

Morsamala said...

You have my sympathies. It is the hardest thing in the world when you go to see a Dr and the only answer offered is based solely on your appearance and not specifically your medical needs or history. It's infuriating!

One thing you can do for yourself is shop around for a different doctor! I see mine so often I should get a damned punch card and I'll tell you the only time I've been harassed about my weight was when I consented to see a Dr other than my regular PCP (because she was on vacation). I will no longer tolerate a medical professional who looks at one "item" on my medical checklist & is disrespectful or dismissive.

It may take a bit of time and work but having a pcp that you trust is the most important thing in the world. Because then you won't put off taking care of problems until it's too late because you fear being treated poorly. You deserve a Dr who will work with you, respect your decisions and intelligence, and has the right "fit" personality-wise.

I'd recommend giving your insurance the ring up & asking for the process to change your pcp & where you can find a list of covered medical professionals in the area (Also, I never see a male Dr when I have the option...an equipment based prejudice I admit).

I'll tell you there is nothing more empowering than having your Dr say "I trust that you've done your research and we're going to try this out and here are treatment options". You deserve that kind of relationship w/your Dr!

Linen and Tulle said...

Very well said. And one of the reasons why I don't go to the doctors. It isn't only weight either. My husband smokes and everything wrong with him is due to that if you listen to the doctor. High blood pressure? High cholesterol?

Manda said...

the same thing happens to me every time i go to see the doctor, and it drives me insane.

me: 'hi, i have been having frequent migraines since i was a child and i'd like a scan or something in case i have a brain tumour.'
doc: 'you're way too young to have a brain tumour (WHAT?) you're just a headachey person. by the way, have you noticed that you're fat?'

me: 'hi, i broke down completely at work today and i feel suicidal'
doc: 'that's too bad. have you considered losing weight?'

me: 'hi, i've been on my period for 3 months solid after having not had a period in 2 years. what the hell is going on?'
doc: 'everyone has irregular periods. would you like some diet pills?'

ARRRRRGH. i have yet to find a doctor who will diagnose my illness rather than my body.

elizabeth said...

This post is beautiful Rachele. i have to agree with you 1 million % because the same thing happens to me when i go to the doctor! every time something happens to me, it's because i am overweight and it isn't fair. I've also had back problems all my life, except i do actually have scoliosis from being hit by a car when i was 7 but one doctor had the audacity to say i have scoliosis because of my weight!!! I've never been back there again. I've also decided to take after myself except when it's a yearly pap but I am glad i am you stood up for yourself! we, as plus size woman, should boycott!

P.S i loved Jo's response as well!

cb said...

sweetie i am so sorry. doctors think they are trying to help but really they can make matters worse. i had a doctor and the first thing that came out of her mouth was that when i turn 30 i am going to gain a bunch of what...WHAT?!?!? that should NOT be the first thing out of someones month! i switched doctors...she did't know me or any of my eating habits or my work out habits...does she even know your eating habits, your a vegan right? you are cutting out the things that are bad for your health like cheese and dairy. there are ways that doctors can be more encouraging about "heathly" living without making you feel about yourself. maybe instead try yoga, that has helped my back and posture...then if the pain persists go to acupuncture...there are alternatives that i think people don't think of and we automatically go straight to the doctor for everything which is not a bad thing but western medicine is focused on taking medicine to cure things. also you might think about your mattress too...or try putting a pillow in between your legs while you sleep that is suppose to help too or getting those foam pillows, my hubby has one and when he leaves to go to work in the morning..i really makes a difference for my neck and shoulders...sorry one last thing...you might want to ask work about your work station..to make sure it to code. having a good chair and your key board at the right at the right angle will help too...hope this little tips help!!! sending you lots of love to cheer you up!!!!!!

xo,
cb

Rachele from The Nearsighted Owl said...

@Elizabeth Ugh! The experience is unenjoyable as it is!

Rachele from The Nearsighted Owl said...

@Jessemiah Aw thanks!

I agree, it seems to be an acceptable way of judging people! So frustrating...

Rachele from The Nearsighted Owl said...

@Morsamala I hope to get lucky and switch to a good doctor! Will be calling next week :)

Rachele from The Nearsighted Owl said...

@Manda I'm sorry, that sounds horrible! The health industry needs a HUGE wake up call. They complain that obesity is costing employers and insurance too much money. I think the real problem is that we aren't being treated and imitated to go to the doctor which can lead to unnecessary health problems.

Rachele from The Nearsighted Owl said...

@elizabeth That totally isn't fair. Time for things to change!

Rachele from The Nearsighted Owl said...

@cb Not vegan, but pescetarian. I do yoga occasionally but need to get in the habit of it. I am definitely all for the alternative treatments!

blue eyed night owl said...

Aw, that sounds horrible!

I myself have never been in that situation because I've never in my life been seen as obese, but I can totally understand how awful this must be. I do know what it's like to not be understood in the medical field or have people make assumptions.

"In her defence" :P I can understand how she linked having some extra weight and backproblems, but it's obvious this isn't the case here. And there are so many other factors that lead to things like that.

I am definitely pro healthy lifestyles, but I think that being a bit bigger than society tells you to doesn't necessarily make you unhealthy. Of course lots of people put on weight by eating unhealthy, but not everyone. Besides, I know plenty of skinny people who don't seem to care about their lfestyle at all.

And I really hate how everyone is "supposed" to be skinny these days. I really don't get why people starve themselves and then photoshop over that to make them even scarier. I think when you asked what people really find beautiful no one would say: a really tall skinny fake blond with even faker eyelashes and lots and lots of lipgloss.
What the hell are we thinking here!

Anyway, you are awesome and beautiful! Could you maybe switch doctors? ;)

blue eyed night owl said...

P.S. Thanks for posting that artwork! This artist is so cool and I probably wouldn't have found him if it wasn't for you.

amonkeyfatshionista said...

I once made a complaint about a medical professional about the fact I went in to get my repeat prescription and she proceeded to lecture me about my weight. She all but told me I was about to drop dead due to my weight. I now make it perfectly clear to any doctor I see that if they bring in my weight when I am not there for that I will make a fuss.

Its always your weight that's to blame and I refuse to be shamed. My weight doesn't stop me from doing anything! I've travelled the world, I wear what I like, I do what I want. So why should it stop me from getting the medical I deserve.

Ashtonwings said...

HI, I just found this and wanted to let you know I understand and root for you. I'm not thin, to put it mildly, and while I constantly work on my weight doctors and people are constantly bringing it up like,"Wait, I'm fat?! I totally forgot thank you for telling me. I would have looked so stupid there for a second." I dont understand how I got a tattoo on my forehead that says " talk to me about my weight" but I would really love to get it off.

Mary Knight said...

Thank you for writing this!  I thought that maybe I was the only one out there who was treated differently by doctors because of my weight.  When I was 20 or 30 pounds lighter than I am now, my gyno told me to "walk around the mall a few times" to solve all my womanly problems (even though, if she would've checked my medical record, she would've seen that my womanly problems began when I was 19 and weighted 120).  I've actually found myself thinking that way now!  When I wake up sore or stiff, I think to myself, "I shouldn't say anything to anyone about this because they'll just think my joints can't handle how fat I am."

Keep Going said...

Dear Rachele: I totally agree! Respect! If you have the insurance you should been offered massage therapy! I can also recomend therapeutic hemp oil for all your complains:) Go girl, keep going, lots of love from a fatgirl from Holland

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