This is Thin Privilege

Scroll to Info & Navigation

Too Fat to be Allowed to Walk

[tw: fatphobia, fatphobia in medicine] I have really bad varicose veins, that recently became so painful that I consulted a doctor about them. I live in a country with free government-provided health care, and I have the great fortune of having an amazing doctor who is aware of and tries to counteract fatphobia in healthcare. She got me a referral to a clinic to have my veins stripped - there was an 8 month waiting list, but I was fine with that.

These past few days, however, the pain has gotten worse, to the point where I can barely walk. My doctor is on vacation, so I called the hospital myself and asked if there was any way to move my surgery - which is now due in three months - forward due to my condition. “Sure,” the surgeon told me, “I can’t promise anything, but you’re under 40, you’re a non-smoker, you don’t have any hereditary issues and you’re of average weight, so…”

"Actually, I’m overweight."

"Oh. By how much?"

I had to disclose my weight to her, my BMI, and because she didn’t have my journal or my medical history, she had no idea that I am in excellent physical condition. All she heard were my numbers, and although she wasn’t rude or impolite, she told me that I could not be fasttracked. I explained that I work out five days a week, that I run races; that I have been overweight all my life but that I’ve always been healthy; that I have lost 40 lbs over the last two years through changes in nutrition and physical activity, but it didn’t matter. I was fat, so I could not be allowed an operation that would allow me to walk any sooner.

I asked her how, if my weight was the issue, they expected me to lose weight or even maintain my current weight if I can’t even walk, to which she replied “well, it’s not easy, is it?

I can’t afford to go private. I am basically left with limited mobility for THREE MONTHS because I am fat. I guess I’m lucky that my symptoms didn’t worsen earlier. It could have been eight months.