[TW: possible eating disorder, medication-induced anorexia, prescriptions, medical crisis, dehydration, starvation, potential for violence against authority figures, I may have missed a few because I’m too fucked in the head to recognize even my own triggers]
Thin privilege means calling an ambulance, or at least seeking some form of medical attention, when your blood pressure suddenly drops to the blackout point because you’ve simply failed to eat or drink even as much as a housecat for… I dunno, three weeks? Probably longer?
I don’t normally submit anonymously. I prefer to face any trolls that come my way head-on, and take them down with logic and solid fact. Unfortunately, both options have completely failed me in this situation, and I just don’t have the spoons to deal with any shit-flinging. People who know me, one in particular, will know who I am, and that’s fine. I may have a few things to answer for, but I know good and well I keep my problems to myself until they reach critical, and that needs to stop.
Yesterday night, I experienced a bout of postprandial hypotension. It just means a drop in blood pressure immediately after eating as blood is rerouted from the brain to the digestive tract. Now, in my case, it was due to prolonged accidental starvation and dehydration due to a truly mind-boggling array of anorectic prescriptions. (In other words, I daily take more pills than Studio 54 saw in all of 1976-79, and I do it legitimately.) This cocktail barely keeps me balanced on the knife’s edge of functionality, and I have terrible balance. I’ve never eaten much, so nobody really pays attention if I go a few days without more than a couple of pears or some bread and butter, or just a can or two of Red Bull. I only have alcohol once or twice a month (though my tolerance is spectacular), never touched anything illicit, don’t smoke, don’t abuse my prescriptions. I just… slowly succumb to side effects.
Anyway, I thought a shower might help my hypotension. I’ve always had low BP—my doctor says I have the BP of a child—so I figured it would get better.
To my credit, I didn’t completely black out. There wasn’t enough oxygen in the world, though, and in a rush, I ended up on my hands and knees, gasping for breath with the top half of my face submerged near the drain.
It took about half an hour to get out, get to my room, tell my parents the absolute bare minimum of information. (They’ve gotten onto me lately for keeping too much to myself. What am I supposed to do? You have a past like mine, you don’t advertise when you’re vulnerable. I’m the Queen of Looking Fine While Dying Inside.) I sat up for a while by force of will, finally had to go to bed whilst gasping like a landed fish, and within minutes either fell asleep or lost consciousness.
Rationally, I should have requested an ambulance or a trip to the ER after my spill in the shower. This was clearly a medical crisis (and I am going to be in SO much trouble with my girlfriend for not telling her all of this detail sooner). I know what caused it, it’s a situation that needed immediate treatment, and I need to be evaluated for a possible ED to make sure one hasn’t developed alongside the drug-induced anorexia.
But, no. Why? Possibly the most common cause of postprandial hypotension in someone my age is Type II diabetes. Never mind that I sit dead in the middle of the normal range, AND have multiple severe chronic health conditions that would be more likely to cause it in my case. No, I’d have to get tested again and again for something I don’t have. In fact, if anything, my glucose is low right now.
Normally, it would be a minor consideration. I’m pretty level-headed and rational, and once even slurred my way through an informed, mutually agreeable discussion with an ER doc on whether I’d had a stroke. (Nope, but I can never eat a Reese’s cup again.) Lately, though—and I’d bet it’s due to not eating, in fact being unable to force myself to eat without overwhelming nausea—I’ve had a temper. A bad temper. The kind of temper that makes me less likely to calmly explain just why I’d like to be put on an IV of fluids before my glucose is tested, and more likely to do a couple million dollars in damage.
Thin privilege is knowing you can visit the emergency room for a possibly life-threatening condition—that has yet to fully abate more than 24 hours later, did I mention that?—without fear of losing what little hold you have on your abraded temper.
Thin privilege is treatment before terror.
Thin privilege is not being so angry, so absolutely at the end of your rope, that it would be better to die with your good reputation intact than live with what you might have done.