Francesca knows that you think she is always on top of her to-do list and perfectly motivated and organized all the time, but she has a secret for you: Francesca sometimes — not often, mind you, only once every long while — wastes time on the internet.
One of her favorite destinations is the “What’s New” section at Snopes.com, the site where one may investigate the veracity of internet rumours and odd news stories. Each day, in addition to well-researched information that tells you that, no, Bill Gates will not give you a dollar for each person to whom you forward that email, they post a roundup of strange or silly news from around the world.
Today, two articles caught Francesca’s attention with their references to the Big Girls . . . and made Francesca’s head come oh so very close to exploding! Yes, the Francesca has lost her equanimity! It is an occurrence to cause the concern!
First, is yet another frustrating story about a woman who had a real, live health problem, and was grossly misdiagnosed by her doctor, who saw her fat and decided that losing weight was all she needed to do:
The unidentified woman said after visiting a health clinic to complain about a swollen abdomen, she was allegedly told by a doctor to attempt to lose weight to deal with the problem, the Swedish news agency TT reported Friday.
The woman said she returned to the clinic several other times after the problem persisted and was denied when she asked for an ultrasound.
A private doctor eventually conducted an ultrasound and discovered a cyst inside her abdomen which weighed nearly 18 pounds.
The news agency said the Medical Responsibility Board has since been informed about the woman’s initial doctor, who was a temporary employee at the clinic, and his inaccurate diagnosis.
What most angers Francesca is that when a woman comes back repeatedly asking for an ultrasound, it means that she feels, in her body, that something unusual is happening. Perhaps she had always been thin, and suddenly gained weight even though she had not altered her eating or exercising routines. Or perhaps she had always been overweight, but this time something was different — she could feel it. Either way, if a woman is insisting that there is something going on, then there very well may be something going on. But the “doctors” at this clinic did not consider that possibility, because obviously if the woman is fat, then all she is is fat. Nothing else about her is important, not even the possibility of a cyst, and not even the possibility that she is intelligent enough to know her own body.
Second, we have here a sad, sad story about a woman in New Zealand who relied on an oxygen machine to breathe, and who died after the utilities company shut down the electricity at her house:
Muliaga’s husband, Lopaavea, told the court that he contacted Mercury Energy in early May 2007 to try to arrange paying their overdue power bill in installments but was unsuccessful.
He made a payment in May but the power was disconnected eight days later. At the time, he testified, he thought he only owed $26.67.
Mercury Energy said at the time that $130.12 was owed.
An emotional Lopaavea Muliaga said he was at work when the power was cut and arrived home to find his wife dead and two ambulance officers at the house.
He said by the time of her death his overweight wife needed the oxygen machine 16 hours a day to help her breathe.
In the wake of Folole Muliaga’s death, the power company said it would review the way it deals with customers with medical dependencies and those in financial difficulty.
Notice that nowhere does the article state why Ms. Muliaga required an oxygen machine. Perhaps the Associated Press reporter who wrote this story believes that by describing her as overweight, he or she has told us all we need to know. As in, “ah, yes, she was overweight, therefore she her entire respiratory system shut down– because, you know, as soon as your BMI goes into the ‘overweight’ category you only have seconds to live– and therefore she died when the electricity went off.”
Of course, we all know that the vast majority of overweight people can breathe on their own just fine, thank you very much. Ms. Muliaga was not a victim of her fat, she was a victim of whatever profound illness caused her to need the oxygen machine (and of the power company). Even if being overweight is a risk factor for whatever illness it was — and the article does not substantiate this assumption — it still does not tell us anything salient.
What is sad is that so many people think it does, including a reporter and a copy editor at the Associated Press.
Francesca will now uplift herself with one of these darling, darling cotton skirts, available in Woman and Woman Petite sizes at Talbots:
They are adorned with itsy-bitsy dragonflies, palm trees, or flamingos, and are much more useful and smile-making than the stupid reporters. Francesca hath spoken.