Medical care as a fat person: the trust problem
It is hardly revolutionary for me to point out that doctors are dickheads to fat people. I just want to observe breifly that no matter how prepared you are to deal with medical BS upon visiting a doctor, it still REALLY REALLY Sucks. And part of why it sucks is that as a fat person it is I think even harder to just trust your doctors.
My boyfriend Mr. I who has congenital hypothyroid FINALLY went to the doctor last week. After two years with no insurance and a sixweek wait for an appointment we were finally there. He was finally going to get the medication he needs to feel fairly normal. My optimism levels were high.
So it was pretty crushing to find out that his doctor spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out WHY Mr. I didn’t have joint pain, since y’know, he’s a fat fat fatty, therefore he SHOULD have joint pain. This was heartbreaking because it meant his doctor was probably going to treat him like a fat guy instead of, y’know, a patient. And it is frustrating because even when you are aware that this happens and ready to deal with it you still wish that maybe this time the doctor wont be a total jerk and you’ll just be able to get the medical care you need. Maybe this time you will get medical care with out having to prove that you are indeed an individual capable of independent thought while simultaneously questioning everything your doctor does to determine whether it is motivated by an actual desire to treat you as a patient or whether they are treating your FAT.
But whatever, y’know, doctors are jerks sometimes as long as they write the perscription things will be fine, right?
So bloodtest results come in and they call tell him that his hypothyroid is sub clinical so they will not be treating it they tell him he will have “enough to worry about” with treating his apparent diabetes. Now this diagnosis of Diabetes is based on one blood test, ONE, before which he had not fasted all night but had in fact stayed up until about 3am eating ice cream and drinking soda, and then failed to sleep all night. The doctors then listed a ton of diabetic symptoms he should have, of which he has none, but his sugar levels are like OMG WHY ARENT YOU DEAD YET high, so we’re going with it.
The doctor and the dietician ordered him to eat no carbs and no sugar of any kind until he got in to see them. And even though this is probably a rational medical response to someone with insanely high sugar levels, as fat people it was kindof like “So, you’re putting me on the Atkins diet? Really” (I actually wrote a post over the weekend about this but since I hadn’t had carbs in like 2 days it made even less sense than normal. The general gist, WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THAT TO THEMSELVES ON PURPOSE? I had to start eating normally just so he and I would not kill each other, which is especially bad considering we argue about once a year.)
So here we are again, are these doctors (Totally different doctors by the way, from the first one he talked to) actually treating him the patient, or him the fat guy?
He’s going today to see the doctor and get medication for his Diabetes and a Glucose meter and then meeting with a Registered Dietician. ( If he gets through the RD appointment without making her cry, I will be happy. Reasons he will probably make her cry 1. he hasn’t eaten carbs in a week and is an angry panda 2. he went to culinary school and took a ton of nutrition and anatomy classes so really doesn’t enjoy being treated like he knows nothing 3. she proudly announced to him that milk has sugar in it as though it were not obvious to everyone, thus displaying mental weakness to the raging predator that is my boyfriend.)
I am hoping that these meetings will go better, and I am hoping that they will be able to discuss important issues like how his Hypothyroid might affect his ability to manage his sugar levels and how leaving it untreated may not be the greatest idea anyone has ever had.
I am hoping, but I am not hopeful. I don’t trust these doctors because I don’t feel like they trust their patient. It doesn’t seem like they believe or are even listening to the things he says. It seems like we are just supposed to go along with them because they have the word doctor in front of their name, they aren’t trying to earn his trust or treat him well. (The doc who told him he had Diabetes kept being all “I fell like I’ve just dropped a bombshell on you” well maybe you should be a little less worried about YOUR feelings here Doc, hmm?)
I think people who are not fat as well as many medical professionals are unaware of the serious trust gap between medical professionals and fat people who’ve been told that their rash/pain/infection/brain tumor will go away if they just stop being fat. Studies have shown that medical professionals do not trust fat patients. But I think it is also important to point out that some of their fat patients don’t trust them either, and for good reason.
Being a trained medical professional is not proof of infallibility or impartiality. That is not enough for everyone, some people want to actually understand why you are making this diagnosis, and to be treated like an adult. Some of us want you to prove that you are right about things so that we know you aren’t diagnosing our fat instead of our medical problems.
Some of us end up wishing we had never gone to the doctor in the first place.