471 posts tagged doctors
So a few months ago, I was getting ready to go to college. My mom wanted me put on birth control before I left. It wasn’t really for the contraception but to regulate my periods. I’d already had birth control before, but I stopped taking it after I thought it made my head fuzzy*.
Well I needed a physical to get medical paperwork done for college but my normal doctor wasn’t available until after I had to have the paperwork into my school. So we went to a different female doctor at the same practice.
Now, I have that “white coat syndrome” when I’m at the doctor because I don’t trust doctors. So my mom decided before we’d go that we’d monitor my blood pressure for a week. I was consistently in the 120-125 over 78-83 range. When we went to the doctor, my blood pressure was, of course, high. The doctor looked at my blood pressure log and essentially ignored it. She also decided I should start taking a cholesterol medication. I can’t remember which one. My mom said it’s the one my father takes and it’s basically a water pill. And, of course, I’m not allowed birth control if my blood pressure is so high.
So I begrudgingly leave with that prescription instead of my birth control. I’m told to monitor my blood pressure on the pills.
Also, I had a consultation about getting my wisdom teeth taken out the day of that physical. I was told that until I was on the blood pressure medication for at least 3 weeks, I couldn’t undergo the surgery. That put me in a position where I couldn’t get my wisdom teeth out before college. (Oh, and, fun thing, my blood pressure was completely normal at the dentist and I had not taken a single dose of the pills yet.)
Surprise surprise, after a few days on the pills, my blood pressure is coming up HIGHER than before. I was consistently over 140 and 100. After a week and a half, I stopped the pills because they also made me feel sick.
I had an appointment with my primary care a week after that. My blood pressure was returning to normal. It still was high in the office because I hate doctors but at home it was stabilizing.
She basically called the other doctor an idiot. Not only had she put me on the medication when she shouldn’t have, she had put me on a medication that my primary care would never have given as a patient’s first blood pressure med. My primary care gave me the script for birth control and told me that I could fill it if I could fax her another okay blood pressure log after two weeks off the blood pressure medication.
And now I have my birth control.
*The fuzziness was actually one of the first symptoms I developed of Hashimoto’s disease. Which I was diagnosed with after bloodwork at the same appointment where I finally got my birth control.
[tw: weight loss]
I was watching the nightly news on NBC, and a story came on about a Canadian study about healthism in medicine. It excited me to see, but then the story took a turn for the worst.
The story completely denied the existence of medical fatphobia (while naturally demonstrating it—no small irony) and then went on to body police all fat people by claiming that HAES is “unscientific” or some other crock of typical healthist B.S. Naturally, it told everybody to “shave off a few pounds!” as if weight loss wasn’t dangerous enough as it is, and even more so when taken up based on such little reasoning.
I have been fat my entire life, and this is what health is for me. It is my natural body type, not a “myth” like the story claimed (I shit you not). If even the nightly news continues to select horrible, biased studies and trotting out bogus doctors to denigrate my body type, I don’t know how I’ll cope with the constant stream of body policing.
Thin privilege is my great grandmother just having surgery the night before the doctor come’s in and tells her that her having health problems causing her to not taste foods very well and making her not hungry and basically causing her to not be able to eat enough food to keep strength is a ” good way to lose weight ” .
In addition to the Plan B pill link that was shared earlier,
Thin privilege is having medical tests be open to people of your size and researched for people of your size.
The reason we don’t know if a larger dose will be safe or harmful and the reason that they didn’t know that the dosage wouldn’t be effective on larger bodies is because it hasn’t been tested yet. In fact, some medical testing centers will reject candidates for not being ‘healthy’ (AKA not having a ‘normal’ BMI) so they’re not even ATTEMPTING to test and see how medications work with larger bodies.
About a month ago, I visited my doctor because I had a cold. It was a new doctor, at a walk-in type place, and thus I had no idea what to expect.
To my shock, although I was very anxious about going to the doctor at all, the doctor didn’t bring up my weight once, even though I was clearly sitting in front of him while fat. My blood pressure was slightly high (due to anxiety), and even this was not commented upon. Instead, he asked what I was there for and proceeded to examine me, before diagnosing me with a viral upper respiratory infection, as I had expected.
However- since childhood, I have had both large tonsils and (very probable) sleep apnea. I’ve never had tonsilitis, however, and until I turned 19 (I’m 22 now), I had yearly followups with an ENT to monitor everything, and was always told I did not need to have my tonsils removed and that I was healthy. I knew what was coming, though, because EVERY new doctor comments on my tonsils when they see them, so when he asked, I explained to him the situation, and he nodded thoughtfully and recommended two (entirely reasonable) things to me- one, that I make a followup appointment with an ENT to get a checkup done again as it had been 3 years (he provided me a list of several local ENTs), and two, that if I was concerned about sleep apnea, that I consider having/requesting a sleep study.
I was shocked, as this is not at all what I expected his suggestions to be after I replied to his concerns about sleep apnea. I expected to be told, as I had been told by my previous doctor, that losing weight would cure all ills. I hadn’t expected to be told to actually get testing from a specialist, just like he would have recommended were I a thin person presenting with abnormally large tonsils and (probable) sleep apnea, and I was amazed to hear it.
Then, on the way out, passive-aggressively stapled in my packet of papers, was a list of ‘Benefits of Weight Loss and Exercise.’ Here I had expected to get away with that most amazing of things, the non-fat-shaming doctor’s appointment, and it had slipped in anyway. I have no idea if I was targeted for the sheet because of my weight or if it’s something they give to everyone, but it was so obnoxious to find that in my file, especially when up to this point, everyone had been doing an amazing job of not being a bigoted asshole.
Thin privilege is not being utterly astounded when a doctor listens to your concerns, treats the problem you came in for, and recommends the same things to you as he would to a thin person.
This is a response to the previous question about doctors (so I hope this sort of submission is ok). I think a lot of people forget that doctors are people too, and people come with their own set of prejudices. Just because a person becomes a doctor, that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to help ALL people. There are still plenty of sexist doctors, racist doctors, homophobic doctors, and fatphobic doctor out there in the world.
For example, I am currently undergoing my third year of a psychology course at university, and it’s disturbing how many people in my class have no interest in actually helping patients. They just want to work with “crazy people” because they find mental illness interesting or fun. They treat people with mental illness like a side-show at a carnival, rather than people who need help overcoming their illness.
I disagree with the idea that people who are prejudiced are not motivated by “personal gain”. It is not necessarily money that motivates them, though. The personal gain they get out of it may be the psychological ego boost in knowing that there are people they are morally superior to.
They may also feel an ego boost when they “help” a fat person by telling them to lose weight, to exercise, to stop eating junk, all actions a morally superior thin person may feel are “the thin person’s burden”, because if fat people were only stigmatized more, they wouldn’t be so stupid/ignorant/oblivious to the facts that society disapproves of fatness, that fatness is destroying civilization-as-we-know-it, and they would make the same moral decision to be thin that so many people who are thin like to think they have made.
Plus, they get another ego boost when the fat person rebuffs them, because they have been persecuted. It is amazing how self-righteousness rises when the morally superior person claims victimhood status.
And it boosts their self-esteem even more when they bully, because they enjoy bullying people who “need bullying”. It directly moves them up the ladder of moral righteousness in their minds when they knock people down individually, and it moves people like them up as a class when fat people are bullied as a class by the system.
The medical establishment in the long term does not always gain from fat people becoming sicker because they receive inadequate health care in the short term. The unfortunate fact is that medical care is expensive enough that when it finally comes to being taken seriously and diagnosed, a lot of people can’t spend the money it would now take to get treatment, and that care doesn’t happen. The victims of this to often die without getting the care they need, or just end up living in poverty or disabled.
Individual doctors do not gain in the long term when they fail to treat a patient for a real illness because that patient is fat. Likely it will be some other doctor who ends up treating the long term consequences. And even if they do participate in a crisis down the line, crises are actually pretty inconvenient for most doctors.
They may get a long term psychological boost when a person they have sent away gets sicker, because they can still justify their actions to blame the sickness on the patient. (If they hadn’t been fat, I’d have treated them; being fat is their fault, therefore the illness is their fault.)
However, in the short term, individual doctors do benefit both psychologically and financially from not providing proper care to obese patients who are seeking help. They do nothing but fat-shame them to boost their own egos (see the psychological benefits of fat-shaming for the bully above), and then tell them to come back for real treatment only after having lost some impossible amount of weight later.
Doctors are busy. Short appointments for which they can collect their full fee while doing nothing are good for their bottom line. I call it insurance fraud.
Mod response: While I don’t disagree with this, the original question was framed in a way that made it seem like all doctors are consciously deciding to shame fat people. That is false and is an attempt to undermine fat people who do face stigmatizing medical services from a doctor who is fat phobic. Even this is still talking about actions that are not always consciously done to fat people or other marginalized people. People gain power from being prejudice, that is true, but it doesn’t mean they know they are doing it or that they are hoping to gain something from it.
Financially the medical industrial complex makes billions from pathologizing fat people and from medicalization in general. This isn’t just doctors but everything from prescription drugs, research, bariatric surgery, all down to individual doctors giving care to individual patients. My point was to remove arguments from individuals and instead try to discuss how there is a system in place that oppresses people.
I was told that a woman I barely knew died from complications from weight loss surgery. I don’t know all the details but she had a gastric sleeve and developed scar tissue. She died at the age of 39 leaving behind two young children, one with special needs. She had the surgery to “improve her health” so that she could be with her family for years to come. Of course that is the bill of goods she was sold.
She didn’t know what she was getting into. I think if she was given full disclosure of the down sides of the surgery including death and life long stomach problems, she would not have opted for the surgery. She was encouraged to have it for her heath and it was supposed to be good for her. Doctors and those in the WLS industry do not give full and fair disclosure. They use false stats, bad science and are really selling hope of thinness. They sell to a population that has been told by society, strangers, friends and family that they are not good enough, that if they don’t make a drastic change they will die. It is all so awful but there is a solution….WLS of course.
If the world had accepted her as she was, or just left her alone, she would still be here today and her kids would not be without a mother. It is very scary when a doctor advises that you will not live to see your grandchildren due to your poor health/obesity. Well now that will never happen thanks to WLS. I have to stop, I am crying again. The only word that I can use for this is tragedy. It is a tragedy for many, many people.
My sister (18) and I (21) attend the same GP, mostly just for birth control refills. My sister is tall and very slim, borderline underweight, whilst I am fat, albeit a small fat.
Our father has had two heart attacks and a stroke, a medical history that undoubtedly puts us both at risk. Upon hearing this, the doctor said to me that I was no longer to take the pill, as it might raise my blood pressure, booked me into a cardiovascular specialist (not covered by my insurance might I add) and wrote me a prescription for blood pressure medication. My blood pressure is borderline high when taken by this doctor, which has been proven previously as a result of my anxiety about doctors (white coat syndrome). The side effects of blood pressure medication are not to be taken lightly, I saw no point in taking it when my blood pressure is well within normal ranges outside of a doctors office. As a result, I can no longer go back to this doctor, for fear of being lectured about why Im being a difficult patient and how all my ‘problems’ could be solved through weight loss.
When my sister told the same family medical history to the same GP, no action was taken. She was given a new prescription for the pill (the same one I take) and her blood pressure was not taken.
I visited a new doctor at a womens clinic whom i had hoped would be more understanding. I believed I had a right to contraception despite being fat. I was wrong. Instead I was asked if I really needed to take the pill and told it would just be easier to lose weight first and then I could have the prescription.
Thin privilege is not having your right to access contraception denied.
Thin privilege is not having a medical status assigned to you incorrectly.
Thin privilege is not being told you need to take medication for the rest of your life for a condition that you do not have.
Thin privilege is not having to give up and give in so you can get what you want.
Thin privilege is people who claim to “care about fat people’s health,” but don’t care (or approve of the fact) that fat stigma often leads to those same fat people not getting treatment or getting inadequate treatment for the medical conditions that they do have - which, in some cases, endangers their lives.
I think this proves that people aren’t “just concerned for our health.”
[tw: eating disorders, weight loss talk]
I recently had a baby. The immense pressure from everyone to “lose the baby weight” is all-consuming. I didn’t even think I was overweight until I went to the doctor and was admonished for being back at my pre-pregnancy weight. I was under the impression that meant that my uterus had shrunk properly, and everything was in good order. Apparently not. Apparently I was only doing well during pregnancy when I was throwing up everything I ate, therefore staying well within the weight-gain guidelines and actually having lost 15 pounds.
Now I feel the need to obsessively count calories. I’m subsisting on less than 800 a day, and I don’t know how to make myself eat more. I cry when I see myself, knowing that my hips have expanded and will never be less than 46”, even if I lost fifty pounds. My husband, who used to find me so attractive and met me when I was severely underweight (5’8”, 110 pounds), won’t reach for me at night anymore.
Why can’t I just feel okay? I have a daughter, and I don’t want to live in a world where my sweet girl ever has to feel this way, has to hate herself for being healthy. I’m so terrified that I will pass this, all my body-image issues and internalized fatphobia, to her.
I think I need help.
During a doctor’s appointment a month ago, my doctor had suggested ‘gently’ that I lose some weight before I get much older (I’m 24) and it gets ‘too hard’ to do so. My body keeps a steady weight and has since I was a high schooler— I eat a low-sugar diet because diabetes is a big problem in my family, and I’m concerned about it. I’m not a big snacker and never have been. My only problem is that I’m a severe asthmatic which is aggravated mostly by physical exertion. I’m not more than what I’d consider “overweight” and I am glad to say I can look in the mirror and find myself attractive. I do not hate my body.
I came back for a follow up appointment a couple of days ago only to have the nurse inform me cheerfully that I had done wonderfully and lost 20 pounds… as if I was obviously taking my doctor’s good advice into consideration.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the reason for this is because I’ve been going through an incredibly emotionally trying (I.E. crying every day and fighting with my significant other) sort of situation for that entire time between appointments.
I wasn’t trying to follow her advice or lose weight. I didn’t even notice. I lost that weight due to extreme emotional distress, and I still feel gross whenever someone ‘compliments’ me on my weight loss.
You don’t need to publish this, or even try to reply, I just wanted to pop off a quick message of thanks. I was forced to go to see a doctor as my medication was being held hostage until I did. But thanks to everything I’ve read here, it was the least stressful appointment I’ve ever had in my life. I was firm and the world didn’t end. I still have a little ball of nerves from it, but it’s a golf ball instead of a basketball. Thank you everyone.
Thin privilege is not going to a new orthopedic surgeon to beg and plead for a partial knee replacement because your quality of life is so poor that you can’t really call it living. I had a brief moment of happiness after being told by the surgeon that yes both my knees do need partial replacements and then in 10 - 15 years full knee replacements, but that I need my left one done as soon as possible because he’s officially diagnosing me with end stage patella femoral osteoarthritis. Only there is a catch, he won’t do it until I’m below 190 pounds and he’d like me to drop down to between 500-900 calories a day and that it’s a myth that women really shouldn’t eat below 1200 calories a day. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry. To get much needed surgery so that I can WALK again semi normally this…man wants me to STARVE MYSELF to get my “excess” weight off and the kicker was when he told us (me and hubby) most surgeons wouldn’t even consider this type of surgery on someone as “massively” obese as I am. Massively obese? I’m 5’2 and 215 pounds and I wear a 18/20 size pair of pants because all my weight is through my hips and thighs. The surgeon was very careful to reiterate several times that should he do the surgery and I slip back into my current eating habits, which he was sure included laying on the couch eating ice cream and candy bars that the knee hardware would fail and that I’d be a jobless and homeless cripple. I’m smaller than many posters here and I know that I miss out on a lot of issues that many people experience every day, but in my experience if your not “perfect” these days you’ll at least catch hell for it from your doctors. Just goes to show how vicious fat shaming is becoming.
tw: weight loss talk
I went to see a new doctor this morning for a pap smear. I had not been to an OBGYN in 3 years because when I moved to a new city, far from my regular OBGYN, I never had any issues I felt were pressing enough to justify finding a new doctor. So, while I was sitting in the waiting room, nervous about the prospect of someone I had never met poking me up in my lady bits I was called over to have the nurse take my blood pressure, temp and height/weight.
Now, some backstory: I personally would like to lose weight- for no other reason than that my life would be easier if I was thinner, sad as that is. I would like to lose weight for reasons unrelated entirely to my health, and I’m aware of the difference in motivation. I have never felt particularly unhealthy at any of my weights (I always fluctuate between x and y, within a certain range) and I have never had any doctor tell me I was unhealthy just because of my weight. I have had doctors sternly tell me to quit smoking (advice heard and being acted upon) and I have had doctors recommend that I lose weight, but I’ve never had someone suggest I have an illness simply because of my size without running applicable tests.
I had full blood work done in the last year and all of my blood tests were normal. Ieven had a slightly higher than normal amount of good cholesterol. High blood pressure does run on my mom’s side of the family but my blood pressure has always read 120/80 or below, nothing unusual. I went to an urgent care facility for a skin condition about a month ago, and about a month before that to the same facility for a corneal abrasion and when my BP was taken at both visits it was normal. I do keep an eye on it because of my family history and because I do smoke a little still (been cutting back but haven’t cut out) but I’ve never had cause to feel too alarmed.
Until this visit. When I walked into the room with the scale and BP/temp machine I got on the scale. The number on the scale was a little higher than what I expected, but close enough to the last I weighed myself at my gym (*gasp* fatties go to the gym!?). The nurse took one look at my face and started laughing. I don’t know what expression was on my face that prompted this but she said I could “turn around if I wanted to” (whats the point of asking now that I’ve already seen the number?) and I assured her it was ok. But now im starting to be pretty uncomfortable. She sits me down and puts the blood pressure cuff on me. First, she puts it on over my clothes which was odd (usually docs ive been to have you roll up your sleeve) and second, as soon as she puts it on she leaves the room and starts talking to someone else in the office. Meanwhile, the cuff thing is going crazy on my arm and squeezing really really hard several times. It felt really unlike every other time I have gotten my BP taken. My heart was racing and I was very anxious. The cuff was way, way too tight and because the nurse wasn’t in the room I momentarily panicked that something was wrong and no one would be there to fix it. Which is crazy thoughts (obviously she was coming back) but needless to say I couldn’t calm down. I looked over at the number on the thingy- 125/98. High. No wonder, I said to myself. I assured myself that if the doctor had questions she would take a second reading.
The doctor proceeded to give me a very short, workmanlike pelvic exam and pap smear. I don’t mind that it was quick (obviously) or efficient. I felt sort of like a car having its oil changed which is ok by me. I did take some issue with how she handled a certain part of my body without adequately explaining what she was actually going to do (I’ll spare you the gory details, but it was unexpected, although she technically asked permission, and unpleasant)
What I took issue with was her constant body shaming. When I laid down and she began feeling my organs her first comment (this woman has never met me!) was “so you need to get rid of this excess weight, ok?” like, as she is actually poking my belly. It was as if she was literally saying “so this blubber I’m poking through right now… slice that off ASAP because its nasty” and once the exam was done she told me when I could expect my pap results and that the two things I needed to focus on were quitting smoking (again: heard loud and clear, agreed) and that my weight was her primary concern with me and that I had to get it “under control” while I was still young and my metabolism was still fast. She warned me that as I got older it would become more difficult. I told her that since I was prepubescent I’ve never weighed less than (x) weight and she said “well, theres a big difference between that and (where I am now) — even (x weight) is on the higher than normal” She proceeded to calculate my BMI from the height measurement I gave her, not one she had even taken, and explain to me how high it was and how bad that is.
I explained to her that I go to the gym, although I hadn’t been going as much lately because of stress at my job. She said that gyms love people who don’t go because they can just collect money from them every month and that she knew it was hard, but that she keeps her weight under control so I can too.
at this point I sort of gave up on trying to give her more background and as I was walking out of her office (like, coat on, opening the door to go) she said, again, that I needed to get my weight under control because I was already “prehypertensive” because of it. Sh said this in an offhand way as though I should have already known. She made that diagnosis off of one probably inaccurate blood pressure reading that I was literally scared during the taking of and that she wasn’t even present for.
thin privilege is knowing a doctor will actually attempt to test you properly before concluding you are “prehypertensive”