Trigger Warning: Fat shaming by doctors, eating disorders, diet ‘suggestions’, mental illness, invasive gynaecological procedures.
This week, Claire from A Monkey Fatshionista shared a terrible recent experience she had at the doctors. It was at a special consultant, for a certain condition, that had nothing to do with weight. However, the consultant was really rude, and made shallow assumptions about her life and her overall health JUST BY LOOKING AT HER. This was my reply, about my general experiences with doctors both here and in my home country. It does not include every single one, but includes the most recent. Oh, dear trolls: this does not mean that the ones I didn’t mention were Willy Wonka experiences full of joy and joyness and chocolates and songs. I’m sure some of them were more or less uncomfortable, but they just did not come to my mind while writing this. Oh, and if you’re fat and ‘unhealthy’? It’s not your fault, and even if it was, you’re still a human being deserving of dignity and respect.
I’ve had worse experiences in Mexico than in the UK, fortunately. But they still make me fear doctors with a passion.
My first OB/GYN swore over the Mexican version of Weight Watchers. She lost weight, attracted a shallow nobber, had a child, gained weight back, was dumped, lost weight again, and wanted to transfer her insecurities into me. She misdiagnosed me with PCOS, and told me the only way to get rid of it was losing weight. EVERYTHING was weight related. When I had adult chicken pox and my genitals were ablaze, I went in agony to see her. First comment? ‘We haven’t lost any weight, have we?’. I wanted to tear her face off. And I was very smallfat. Crystal Renn smallfat.
When first diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I was hella fat shamed by my GP. As many of us know, one of the consequences (nope, NOT causes) of hypothyroidism is weight gain. When I enquired him about my depression, he was like ‘are you depressed because you can’t lose weight?’. Nope, dickhead. I’m depressed because THERE’S SOMETHING HORMONAL AND CHEMICAL GOING ON INSIDE ME.
Another time, I was under treatment for a liver condition. The liver doctor was the worst. Like the OB/GYN, obsessed with dieting, and plain evil. Everything was weight, weight, weight. She referred me to a dreadful, drunken nutritionist who told me to drink Omnilife milkshakes or SlimFast, and who violently shamed both me and my mum. Oh, and whose epic catchphrase was ‘my daughter has hypothyroidism too, and she’s a model’. The last time I saw the liver doctor, she told me to drink 2 litres of water before breakfast. ‘But then I won’t be able to eat anything else. I’ll be too full’. To which she replied, cackling: ‘THAT’S THE POINT! HAHAHA!’. She recommended me a bloody EATING DISORDER. Maybe to ruin my liver more and continue going to the doctors? I flipped her the bird and stormed away. I also stopped seeing that nutritionist and started seeing a more gentle, HAES-oriented one, who basically told me the liver doctor was a frustrated bitch and so was the drunken nutritionist. She said weight-loss was not the goal, health-gain was, and I was not going to get that through starvation, water overdose and dangerous milkshakes. Following her advices was the thing that helped me control the liver condition, and I am fine now.
During that same time, an old man did a full ultrasound of my entrails. They were perfect, he said, but I needed to ‘eat less’. His skinny wife and assistant was drinking glass after glass of Coke. I’m guessing she’s fit as fuck.
In the UK everything has been dandy. I’ve been to doctors in Bristol, Minehead, Manchester and Leicester, and none of them have been as awful as the ones in Mexico. If I went for a sprained ankle, it was only the sprained ankle we talked about. If I went for the thyroid condition, we only talked about that. When it’s for contraception, it’s only for contraception. I’ve had a pleasant time getting pap smears/coil fitted/ultrasound. It’s like the nurses who were in charge of that knew it was going to be painful, so we just chatted about random stuff in the meantime. Focused on my vagina, not on my belly! When I go about mental illness, it’s only mental illness. And it’s treated seriously. The doctor last Thursday said it was clearly something chemical going on with my head, and gave me proper medication. Not at all like the ‘DAMN GURL ITZ CUZ U H8 BEIN FAT LOL’ like my Mexican GP. I was only told ONCE by my GP in Bristol that ‘everything was perfect, only need to work on the weight’ with no further comments.
Quite a long way, eh?