The Goddess Weighs In

Living Large and Healthy

Skip The Lecture, But Thanks For Being Thorough

on July 14, 2013

My mother’s biggest complaint when seeking medical attention is that no matter what she goes in for, a cough, a fever, a hang nail the doctor never fails to mention that life would be easier if she lost some weight even if it has absolutely no relevance to the ill at hand.  Like all people of size it is not news to us that we should lose weight and it can make us avoid seeking treatment and preventative health care, like yearly physicals, in order to avoid the lecture.  I for one didn’t have a physical for over 10 years because I didn’t want to step on the scale and have “the discussion” with my physician.

Right now I am dealing with a severe lung infection that has pneumonia like symptoms.  In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had four doctors appointments and a 5 hour trip to Emergency where they they considered my size, my veins, and my recent car trip to Florida and immediately wanted to rule out blood clots and heart failure which could mimic a lung infection.  I was poked and prodded, bled and x-rayed and so far so good, but it was a scary wait for test results.  I went back to my family doctor a couple days later and still not satisfied she has ordered an electrocardiogram hopefully for this week.  If that is clear then I just need to be patient and ride out the lung congestion and be thankful that I have the luxury of a lot of sick days where I work.

Initially, I was annoyed by all of the tests and the fear mongering and a bit resentful that the doctors took one look at me and immediately thought the worst case scenario and then I remembered my friend Lucy.  Lucy is thin, about my age and reasonably healthy.  I had dinner with her a couple of years ago and she complained that she was having difficulties breathing, that she had gained some weight and couldn’t shift it and that she was feeling generally worn out and sleeping a lot.  Her doctor was treating her for asthma, but she still felt like crap.  I had dinner with her again, about a year later, and she seemed ok, but tired.  Then I emailed her a few times and I kept getting away messages.  I finally texted her and it turned out she had been seriously ill for weeks.  She was feeling particularly bad one night and asked her husband to take her to Emergency as she just knew something was wrong.  Turns out her lungs were full of blood clots and she was experiencing heart failure.  Had she not taken action she might very well be dead now.  Lucy being thin and relatively healthy didn’t fit the schema that most doctor’s hold for heart issues so they hadn’t even thought to look. I on the other hand look like the poster child for a heart attack so my health complaints raised all sorts of red flags.

The moral of the story. . .doctors need to change how they think about all of us.  Thin doesn’t mean healthy and fat doesn’t mean about to keel over.

– the Goddess



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