Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

February 28, 2009

A Weighty Matter of Astronomical Proportions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Twistie @ 8:30 am

A couple weeks ago, I had to go to the doctor. I hate doing this, and not just because I’m one of those pesky people who has to pay for medical care out of her own sadly slender, but ever so elegant purse. I wait so long between visits that I always fear I will get a mournful-faced (or angry-faced because I have clearly Done This To Myself through neglect of the yearly physical and the way my fat little body indicates that I clearly, ZOMG! am Eating The World) doctor informing me that I have mere moments to live, but I should sit back and hear why I should be thoroughly ashamed of myself before I shuffle loose this mortal coil.

In point of fact, what I had was a cold that had lasted way too long. Worse, the cough was going all deep and brochial, which, having had a couple bouts of brochitis which I enjoyed about as much as I would enjoy having half a dozen elephants tap dance across my chest, was an experience I was in no hurry to repeat.

And so I girded up my loins as far as my loins would gird and allowed Mr. Twistie to make an appointment for me. What? You thought I was going to woman up and do it for myself? Not a chance, bub! Look, we have our clearly outlined gender roles. I save Mr. Twistie from spiders and other things that have more legs than a cat, and he makes the uncomfortable appointments for me. In the end, we both have someone to help us cope with the irrational fears, tra la.

Being that it was the first time I’d been to this particular practice (unless you count that time back in about ’97…I told you I don’t go to the doctor as much as I probably should), I had to fill out a new patient form, full of questions about my medical history and lifestyle. I was actually kind of impressed that the questions included things about whether I considered myself to be eating a healthful, varied diet and what sort of exercise I get…but in a way that felt friendly, if I can put it that way. At minimum, I felt no specter of body shaming.
When I was called back into the examination area, there came the Moment of Truth. I was asked to get on the scales. Now I know a lot of people who refuse to be weighed or refuse to look at the number, but I must admit I was a bit curious. It had been literally years since I’d been on a scale and I sort of wondered what my weight happend to be, so I did look at the number when the readout came up.

The cool thing? Not one word was said. The nurse just wrote the number down without comment and led me to the next ordeal…er…the exam room proper where she sat me down and took my blood pressure.

When the doctor came in, she asked me a couple follow-up questions about my general health and family medical history, discussed my symptoms with me a bit more, redid my blood pressure (the first reading was kind of high, but when the second was absolute freaking textbook perfect, the doc put it down to a case of White Coat Hypertension), listened to my lungs, and said that she was going to prescribe a short course of antibiotics. I got the scrip filled, took my drugs, and started feeling like my old self in a matter of a couple days.

The best thing about the entire visit? Not once did I have to defend myself about my weight. In fact, no mention was made by any of the staff about my current weight, whether I should go on a diet, or how much healthier I would be if I just lost x number of pounds.

In short, they treated me for the problem I came in with, offered up their services in case I wished to avail myself of a more thorough exam at some point, and treated me like a real human being. It’s nice to know practices like that exist in this fat-phobic world.

Oh, and one more good thing came of the visit: now that I have a good idea of how much I weigh on this planet, I was able to play with the tools on this site and see how much I would weigh on another planet…or even a sun! Of course you don’t need to know your specific weight to play. You can just plug in random numbers and see what you get, too.

Still, it’s kind of fun knowing I would weigh approximately 6416lb if I were on the sun and 15.8 on Pluto. Important? Nah. Just a bit of trivia…and you all know how I love pointless trivia.


  1. My doctor generally doesn’t even weigh me unless I ask or there’s been a visible change in how heavy I look. But then, that does require seeing your doctor regularly enough that he knows what you look like!

    Comment by raincoaster — February 27, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

  2. All the more reason why Pluto should get the respect it deserves! I hope you’ll let the positive experience encourage you to get a checkup from time to time…

    Comment by Jane — February 28, 2009 @ 9:13 am

  3. Oooh, I also had a good first-time-at-the-doctor-in-forever experience recently. In my case, though, it’s the fact that I don’t take birth control, which is apparently some kind of crime in women in their early 20s. It’s always:

    Q. What medications are you taking?
    A. None.
    Q. … Are you sure?
    A. Yep.
    Q. (hint, hint tone of voice) Birth control?
    A. Nope.
    Q. …okay, then…

    But as I say, my most recent visit went beautifully! The nurse did not even blink or second guess me when I said no medications. And the rest of the visit was very nice too. Just goes to show there’s a reason why irrational fears are called that :)

    Comment by jfount — February 28, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

  4. “In my case, though, it’s the fact that I don’t take birth control, which is apparently some kind of crime in women in their early 20s.”

    Oh, god, I get that one too! It’s the most annoying thing ever, esp. because I use a topical prescription acne med, so I tell them that, and it’s like, “And…anything…else?”

    I’ve also had a doctor’s office send me this over the top, “ZOMG YOU ARE DYING IN LIKE 2 SECONDS” letter, because once, I had an abnormal pap smear. It was nothing- and it wasn’t even really abnormal (I forced my doc to explain this to me. She was trying to just tell me it was a minor thing that was no big deal- she was right, but I made her explain why), but the letter literally had things like “this is the LAST TIME we will contact you!” and “You MUST get checked again!”

    This was not particularly pleasant, especially because I had forgotten about this minor abnormality that wasn’t really an abnormality, so actually did freak out for a bit when I got that letter. Thanks, doctor’s office!

    Comment by Genevieve — February 28, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  5. Nice! Contrast with my first visit with MY doctor, who was shoving bariatric surgery brochures in my face within the first 10 minutes, and then sounded ANNOYED when, after all the tests were done, found nothing wrong with me. EKG fine, BP fine, chest x-ray FINE!


    I’m stuck with her for the time being, but as soon as I get back on insurance (please please let this be soon!) I’m shopping for a new doc.

    Yours doesn’t happen to be anywhere near Atlanta, would they, Twistie? :)

    Comment by EvilScienceChick — February 28, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  6. Genevieve, the sad thing about this is that the doc is probably practicing defensive medicine, wasting your time and money and her time and money because someday, someone is going to sue her and one of the questions is going to be, “Well, didn’t you nag this patient to death over something trivial that really had nothing to do with this but you can’t disprove it?” “You didn’t? Well, it’s all your fault and now you are going to pay!”

    Comment by class factotum — March 1, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  7. jfount: in the doctors’ defense, a lot of women don’t think of birth control as medication, as it’s not treating a condition, per se. So many of us do forget to mention it at doctors’ appointments. I know I’ve done so upon occasion, and when they mentioned birth control, I said, “Oh yes..that too!” So my guess is that it’s not a judgment upon you for not using oral contraceptives, but just a case of double-checking, because a very large number of women DO take it, and they don’t want to miss anything.

    I’m very glad to hear your appointment went well, Twistie. It’s always nice to have a positive experience at the doc. When I went for my first prenatal visit, I fully expected to be read the riot act, as I was quite heavy even before getting pregnant. But nope, he checked my blood pressure (which was an awesome 110/72), asked me a few questions about my health habits, examined me, checked the baby’s heartbeat, and then smiled and said that from what he could tell, I was in excellent health and would likely have a very smooth and healthy pregnancy. My weight never came up at all.

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — March 1, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  8. I just had a terrible appointment with my doc. I hadn’t been there since 2007 because I loathe, loathe, loathe going to the doctor. Funny thing is…I work in healthcare. Anyhoo, I went in for the same reason..bronchitis, fever, cough. Basically I was a germy mess. I was promptly given the antibiotic and told to return in four days to make sure I was recovering. I was relieved I didn’t get raked over the coals for my weight.
    Feeling much better, I went back Monday…and that’s when I got the attack. My pcp said, “My dear, are you feeling better?” “Yes!” I said, beaming. “Good,” he said. “Now let’s talk about your weight.” I immediately deflated. He told me if I didn’t lose 120 pounds, I’d be dead by the time I 40. (I’m 33.) Oh, to leave my children motherless. Oh, my poor husband, having to put up with poor fat Sarah. He gave me a card to the local Weight Watchers and told me to come back in April at least 20 pounds lighter. And he gave me blood pressure meds. Granted, I needed them…but my own mom, who weighs possibly 125 pounds soaking wet, also uses blood pressure meds. It’s in our family. I’d like to see him tell her she’s fat.
    Sigh. So I’m on the blood pressure meds. Need to go in for labs because he is certain I am diabetic (granted, all four grandparents plus biological father are all diabetic, so it’s totally possible.) I’m apparently dancing around death’s door, even though I exercise daily, don’t smoke, love my vegetables, have excellent health insurance, a loving family.
    Yeah, I hate doctors.

    Comment by Sarah R — March 2, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

  9. I am still in a depression from my last visit to a doctor. Yes, I’m overweight; but I’m working on it. I’m trying to get back to salads and exercising regularly. Yes, my blood pressure’s high, but it’s within the normal range. But I’m getting older, I’m getting over the effects of a bad stretch in the fall, and I’ve just had some major dental work done.

    The doctor gave me a lecture about how canned soup is bad for me and, since I can’t chew, came up with the suggestion that I eat mashed potatoes. That’s it – mashed potatoes. (obviously plain, mashed with … broth (sodium-free, of course), no butter or salt or anything). When I complained of joint pain and confessed to taking Advil, he told me to stop. When I asked him about the pain … he ignored it.

    I don’t know if it’s my age or the fact that I’m fat, but perhaps he felt that I deserve to be in pain. I’m still trying to work out the best way to deal with this.

    Comment by Toddson — March 3, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

  10. Toddson says: “When I complained of joint pain and confessed to taking Advil, he told me to stop. When I asked him about the pain … he ignored it.

    I don’t know if it’s my age or the fact that I’m fat, but perhaps he felt that I deserve to be in pain. I’m still trying to work out the best way to deal with this.”

    I think that many doctors tend to dismiss complaints of pain, especially when it’s a woman doing the complaining, as being all in the patient’s head. I spent five years in varying degrees of pain and being bounced around from doctor to doctor before a very astute hand surgeon finally realized that I have rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, it was like, “Of course you can have pain meds — there is really something wrong with you.”

    My mom had to have emergency gall bladder surgery several years ago after her doctor repeatedly dismissed her complaints of pain in her back as “hysteria.”

    Comment by Cat — March 3, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

  11. I’m not a doc and I don’t even play one on TV and you can take this with a grain of salt or not if you’re not supposed to eat salt, but I used to have some joint pain (after running) and I started taking glucosamine condroitin and it helped. FWIW.

    Also not to be relied on medically, but I took topomax to try to prevent migraines and the weight melted off because I lost the desire to eat. (Didn’t prevent the headaches, though.)

    I know all this is worth way less than two cents because the stock market and is tanking and is taking my hard-earned money with it, so I’ll shut up now.

    Comment by class factotum — March 3, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

  12. Good post. I think it is possible to recover from depression, but it takes time and patience. I can’t find any good message boards on the net, can you recommend any?

    Comment by Ollie — June 10, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

  13. They sure haven’t laid off the talking heads on TV who keep bragging about all the great cleanup their doing and that they’ll be there till the job is done. the 100’s of aircraft looking for the oil and the 1000’s of local fishermen going out everyday to clean it up.BP= bastards of propaganda

    Comment by Freddy Rugh — August 9, 2010 @ 3:15 am

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