My father has a degenerative form of arthritis known as ankylosing spondilitis that hit him when he was 18. It essentially froze his spine into one solid bone (instead of having space between the vertebrae) that looks like a stalk of bamboo. He has spent his life walking with a slight stoop, unable to turn his head over his shoulder, bend over and touch his toes, or do anything that someone with a healthier spine can do. It’s genetic, and my young niece was just DX’d with it. It didn’t stop him from achieving anything, just limited his movement.
I recently tested positive for the AS antibodies, and along with having new back pains and new stiffness, I thought I should see a Rheum to determine what my next step would be. AS can only be positively id’d through x-rays and MRIs, but I needed a referral from a Rheum to get those done. So I made an appointment with a local doc for a consultation only…wasn’t expecting a solid DX, just advice.
I wasn’t in the Rheum’s office three minutes before I walked out. The very first thing he said to me when he walked in was, “Hello…I know why you’re here. Please step on the scale.” And I simply said, “I’m sorry, I’m just here for some advice and a referral. Can you tell me how weighing me has anything to do with having a genetically inherited form of arthritis?”
He glared at me for a moment, insisted I get on the scale again, and I repeated my request which he refused to answer. Finally he snapped at me, “Well, that’s just HOW I DO THINGS.” I replied, “I have a say in my own treatment. And that’s not how *I* do things. Do you think we could move on and you get to the part where you advise me on what to do next??”
He nearly shouted at me, “I’m clearly not the doctor for you. I think you need to find someone else.” I said, “I do believe you’re right. And don’t even think of charging me for this visit.”
My husband was flabbergasted that I’d walked out and made such a snap reaction. I told him, “If you have lived your entire life having every. single. thing blamed on your weight, from injuries, asthma, to losing two children, you’d be a little on-edge from his comments too. I don’t care if you support me on this because I am quite used to standing alone.”
Interestingly enough, my regular internist has never had a problem with me not being weighed.