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

December 1, 2011

Going to the Lady Doc

Filed under: Best of Miss Plumcake,Health — Miss Plumcake @ 3:06 pm

Let’s be honest here. Getting a Pap smear is no one’s idea of a good time. There are a lot of items on my list of preferred activities that rate well above getting escargot tongs stuck all the way up my hall of fame.

Shamefully, I put mine off for several years, not because I’m all that shy or, you know, have any sense of modesty at all, but of a terrible experience I had a few years ago at the Lady Doc.

I was all scooched down, feet in the stirrups like any good Texas girl and making as pleasant conversation as I could with this stranger in a lab coat about root around my nethers like a truffle pig with an air horn. She got down to business and when she was what felt like armpit deep in my lady garden, apparently trying to remove my tonsils from the inside, she decided THEN was the perfect time to lecture me about the perils of Teh Fatz.

Now, I’m not really all that sensitive about my size. Aside from a bit of auto-immune wonkiness I’m as healthy as an entire team of really healthy horses. My blood pressure, sugar levels, cholesterol…everything is great because although I’m fat, I’m in pretty damn fine fettle, but I got so mad at this woman, and was so humiliated that not only did I not go back to HER, I didn’t go back to ANYONE for fear of getting the same traumatic treatment.

Fast forward five years.

Before moving to Mexico, I knew I ought to get a complete physical and all the stabs and jabs I need to prevent me from getting the dreaded crud while living it up south of the border and while I was at it, I should probably get the south of MY border checked out as well. I asked my beloved and awesome in every conceivable way GP’s office for a recommendation.

I explained to them what had happened before –and okay, it was a little embarrassing, but it was easier on the phone– and they were gratifyingly aghast. Turns out my GP was able to do it for me, and when it came time to do the oh-so-familiar Scooch and Spread, the three of us in the room literally laughed the whole time.

The moral of the story is the same one that circulates all over the fatosphere: You are entitled to respectful medical care. Yes, even though you’re fat, you’re still a human and are entitled to be treated with human decency.

If it’s been a while since you’ve had your clam jammed by a medical professional, do yourself a favor and make the appointment. Explain –hell, you can even steal my story– how you don’t want to be lectured about your size. If you joke around it’s a little easier, but don’t let the Fat Shamers win. It’s your body and your health. Take care if it, and take care of yourself.


  1. The new recommendation is that if you’ve had normal paps for years and years, you can get them once every three years instead of annually. So you weren’t too far behind schedule. :)

    Comment by wildflower — December 1, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

  2. Thank you so much for your post. It so very much matches what is going on in my life right now. My lady doc told me she would not help my husband and I conceive until I lost 10% of my body weight – even though my blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar are all normal. She said my body doesn’t want to get pregnant right now because of the excess weight it is carrying. I was furious to hear her say that to me – but I was so in shock, I didn’t say anything to her and left. I haven’t tried to find another doctor because I felt so deflated. Thanks for posting – it makes me want to find a good doctor that will want to help.

    Comment by Nichole — December 1, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

  3. I have never hesitated to report a fat hostile doctor to the local medical board, and equally important, my health insurance provider. I PAY for medical advise, not judgement. Especially when most doctors have no scientific training in weight loss issues.

    And I recently had my woman, marathon-running doc snarl her way thru the results of my standard blood panel. Apparently my cholestrol, blood pressure and blood sugar are better than hers.

    That being said, she has plus size gowns and has never said a word about my weight. She also has a spitting hatred of weight loss surgery based on the many complication she has seen.

    I know a lot of people revere doctors and are intimidated by them and a lot of doctors expect that – I prefer to think of them as ‘the staff’ who are there to help me and like any other staff, if they aren’t up to the job, or are impudent, we should dismiss them without a reference (OK maybe I’ve been watching too much Downtown Abbey, but I still think it applies).

    Comment by Thea — December 1, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  4. “Clam jam” is the best alternative name for a pap smear that I’ve ever heard. Or a lesbo 50s cover band name.

    Comment by Molly Ren — December 1, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

  5. Coincidentally, I saw the lady doctor for a routine exam just yesterday after not going for, oh… seven years. No particular reason for the long lapse other than it’s not my idea of a good time and I have a LOT of doctor’s appointments as it is, as I also have an autoimmune disease, and I kept saying, “I don’t have time for yet another appointment right now. I’ll do it soon.” I had a birthday last month and decided it was a good time to get caught up on all that jazz, so I finally did. Yay, me!

    Comment by Cat — December 1, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

  6. I had a majorly fat shaming doctor as a teenager, back when I was maybe 20-30 pounds overweight. Of course he determined that I was 60 pounds overweight because he chose a physically impossible goal weight. EVERYTHING was weight related. Ear infections were caused by excess weight, conjunctivitis was caused by excess weight. The day that he gave me a lecture on my broken ankle being caused by excess weight and not from the fall that actually caused it and refused to even examine the ankle because it was my fault for not taking the phenfen he prescribed was the day I hobbled out and never returned. My next doctor only ever mentioned my weight when it was relevant.

    Comment by Mel — December 1, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

  7. Happened to me too! What’s more the Lady doc has the gall to say my 9 month old son could get fat too if I don’t watch. His birth weight was at 10th percentile. I mean, I appreciate the concerns on child obesity and all that but at least she should’ve looked at his growth rate before commenting.

    @Nichole, I don’t agree with all that GPs say and was lucky enough to have a great GP who focuses on pregnancy and childbirth. But, sometimes body fat percent messes up estrogen and hormones and may cause problems with getting pregnant, especially if there is more fat around belly than in lower parts, i.e, for apples like me. I must clarify though, this is not the same as generic “lose weight”. One can increase muscle mass and lose fat mass without any change in scales.

    Comment by Violet — December 1, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

  8. Unfortunately, this probably happens a lot. It happened to me, years ago, at my first gynocologist visit. I was mortified. It’s depressing enough when any doctor does it, but it’s even worse when it’s the gyno. and they choose that PARTICULAR MOMENT to address it. I think sometimes they mean to be helpful, but I wish they would realize that it’s not really about weight as such, it’s about overall health–activity level, nutrition, blood pressure, etc. I think a lot of plus sized women don’t go to doctors because something like this has happened to them, or because they fear that it might.

    Comment by Leigh Ann — December 2, 2011 @ 12:00 am

  9. I’m so glad you had a better experience with your GP. Mine is like that as well — his nurse is his wife, and she sits in on those exams, and the three of us wind up yukking it up the entire time.

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — December 2, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  10. I’ve never had a fat-shaming lady doctor, but I always went to Planned Parenthood before I got a job with real health insurance and they’re like the Haven of Non-Judgment. Now I go to a doctor who I call “a small-town old-timey family practice doctor.” He’s great. The last time I saw him for a clam jam was on my birthday this past year, and he actually said, “You scheduled this on your birthday? Are you crazy?” I love him.

    Comment by Mary — December 2, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

  11. Well I never! I would have stocked up on as much junk food as possible, driven through a fast food restaurant and stopped at the Cheesecake Factory! Don’t doctor’s, and everyone else know that when you talk about FAT (especially when one is naked), it only humiliates one into the downward spiral of FAT-HELL? My lovely gyno is a true Southern Belle. She respects my body, keeps it covered and only glances to exam me. When she does, she says, “Excuse me while I examine you; or, may I examine you now?” Her office has information brochures and “HELLO, I know I am not a size 4 now that I am 60 years old.” Anyway, she provides me an honest report in writing and a follow-up call, saying, “Let’s take care of ourselves, see you next time!” I am never embarassed; moreover, I am inspired to show up 10 lbs thinner for my OWN milestone instead of tombstone. My Internal Medicine doc is just as kind. I FIRE any doctors that are rude or treat or my children (when I was young) like cattle! Hey, young mother, that baby fat builds brain cells. Two year olds aren’t fat, but they are brilliant!

    Comment by dphski — December 6, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

  12. First appointment with new internist on Thursday — dread it more than I can say.

    Comment by Susan — December 7, 2011 @ 1:02 am

  13. I would have been tempted to use one of my feet and shove her away from me. That is a ridiculous abuse of power, bad enough in a face-to-face position, absolutely horrid at such a vulnerable point.

    I’ve had one bad experience with a doc, who was filling in for my regular GP who was out of town, when I was about 13. I went in for something I can’t really recall. Stomach pain, I suppose, since the doc wound up looking at my stomach and had to pull my pants down to expose below my waist. He then proceeded to tell the teenaged girl that I was all about how my hair growth pattern on my stomach was highly unusual for a female (I have a line of hair down from my belly button) but similar to a masculine pattern. That 5 minute commentary lead to years of body shame (I’m still trying to conquer it).

    If I met him today, I’d like to slap him, or at least give him a solid dressing down.

    On the other hand, I have had some excellent doctors over the years, and I never had any problem with the Nurse Practitioners I interacted with at the clinic in college.

    Comment by Amber — December 8, 2011 @ 7:30 am

  14. Could it be that these doctors were waiting for the opportunity to not have to look you/us in the eye to make these comments?

    Comment by jojo.k — December 8, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

  15. I once went to my GP for a lingering cough…I hadn’t even opened my mouth to tell her what was wrong, and was busy trying to wedge my hips into her fat un-friendly chair, when she asked me if I knew I was overweight.
    I mentioned that I had walked by a mirror or two in my time and she then spent the next 10 minutes talking about gastric banding! Never asked me about my diet, exercise or health situation…just jumped right into “you should have a lap band operation”.
    I found out later that there was a doc on staff doing lap band surgeries 5 days a week and she was shilling for him. I only found out because she did the same thing to a friend of mine a month later and when she whinged to her friend (a nurse at the clinic) she told us the whole story.

    Comment by onepowerball — December 10, 2011 @ 11:40 am

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