So, I am afraid to go to the doctor in my new city. This is not a new phenomenon for fat people. Studies show that fat folks visit the doctor less and it’s no surprise why – there is some deep-seeded prejudice toward fat patients coming from the medical community. Shit, it starts in med school. That New York Times article I linked to up there? It cites a study done by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale that found that more than half of the 620 primary care doctors questioned described obese patients as “awkward, unattractive, ugly, and unlikely to comply with treatment.” Yeah, who wants to go to a place where half of the population thinks THAT about you?
When I lived in Seattle, I researched the hell out of docs before I made an appointment for a physical. For, like, months. I had my heart set on this woman who is a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy; they do the same amount of schooling as MDs but their curriculum centers more around treating the whole patient. hippie shit, i like it.). She was young and focused on women’s health. I thought she’d be the easiest to go to. I told her i was having trouble sleeping. She told me to lose weight. It was the FIRST thing out of her mouth. not, are you depressed? have you changed beds? is there more stress in your life right now? My blood work has been normal every time, my blood pressure is a-ok, cholesterol spot on. And frankly, it doesn’t even matter that I have good health indicators. It doesn’t matter if any of us do. We all deserve to be treated with dignity regardless. I left the doctor’s office feeling that it was my fault I couldn’t sleep. If I wasn’t so fat, this wouldn’t be a problem! Frankly, not much motivation to lose weight. A few months after that my knees started to hurt, a LOT. But I didn’t go to the doctor because i didn’t want to be told in a cold, calculating way that i’m basically doing this to myself.
When I don’t go to the doctor because I’m afraid, I’m essentially telling myself that I am not worth competent, compassionate medical attention. And this is something I struggle with quite a bit. I’ve been down here for almost a year and I still haven’t gone to the doctor. It certainly helps to read others’ stories. I’d like to really focus this year on honoring my health better.
So, fatties who have gone before me? What are some good resources for me to check out so that I can feel prepared for my first appointment? There’s a website out there that has a list of HAES-friendly docs but I can’t remember it.