Francesca has dropped her former primary care physician like a hot potato, after said “doctor,” in response to Francesca’s suggestion that she (Francesca) might have sleep apnea, said “Sleep apnea isn’t important. If you are snoring, it would be annoying to anyone else who might be sleeping with you, but it’s not a risk to your health. Since you live alone, I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s not worth testing for.”
Setting aside the idea that a person who lives alone gets different health care from someone with a regular, uh, long-term sleeping partner, sleep apnea causes metabolic problems, which Francesca has. Francesca mentioned to some doctor friends about the sleep apnea, all of whom said without blinking “oh, yeah, sleep apnea is bad. It causes depression, metabolic disorders, and besides, you are tired all the time.” Hello?!?
Anyhow, this means that Francesca has to “break in” a new doctor. Francesca brought the new doctor a letter outlining her health history and issues and what she is doing to manage them, and explaining the “health at every size” outlook. He spent the first few minutes reading the letter, and then asked me questions, such as the following:
Doctor: You’ve been exercising 30 minutes a day and haven’t lost weight?
Francesca: That is correct.
Doctor: For weight loss, I’m going to recommend 40 minutes.
Francesca: I’m sorry to interrupt, but want to make it clear that I’m not interested in weight loss. I’m interested in staying healthy.
Doctor: But to be healthy, you have to lose weight.
Francesca (with forced patience): Well, I’ve been trying that for 30 years, since I was 6 years old, and it hasn’t worked. I’d rather focus on healthy behaviors than on my weight.
Doctor: I’m very confused because over here (pointing to letter) you say that you’d like a referral to a new nutritionist, but you don’t want to lose weight?
Francesca: I want some support in adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet [Francesca’s note: even though it contradicts the HAES “intuitive eating” model], because I’m not good at that and I want to make sure my body gets the nutrients it needs. But I don’t want it to be that if I eat healthy and exercise but don’t lose weight, that I’ve failed. I want it to be that if I eat nutritious food and exercise regularly, I’ve succeeded, whether I lose weight or not.
This absolutely “clicked” it for the doctor, and he said he might even use that line with other patients. I was so proud! My first thought was “I hope Kate Harding sees the post about this!”
It takes a little time and effort to treat one’s doctor!