Friday, July 13, 2007

Fat Americans!

Here's one everyone should read.

...when I was about 11 years old, and Mom went to see her doctor because of some problem she was having, and he scathingly told her that her problem was she was fat, and not to come back to him until she’d lost 50 pounds...

This one makes me seethe for several reasons -- one is that mr. delagar is a fat guy, which I don't know whether I've mentioned that here; and this is what he gets whenever he goes to see his doctor, and I mean no matter what his issue is -- he could have a damn pimple on his ass, his doctor would say, well, what do you expect, of course you get zits, you need to lose ninety pounds.

This is the same doctor who told him that being overweight was a moral issue.

Right. People are fat because they have poor moral fiber.

Why mr. delagar keeps going to this guy, hey, good question.

Nor is this attitude unique in our fine country -- I cannot count the number of sweet friends and family who have pointed out to me that mr. delagar has a weight problem ("No! Really?") , or who have informed me that he really "should" do something about it ("Magic unicorn dust, maybe?"), or who dismiss every other feature of his life and character as irrelevant: he's nothing else to them. Just fat.

It is, of course, a prejudice like any other: "He's nothing else to them: just black." "She's nothing else to them: just a Jew." "He's nothing else to them: just queer."

People feel freer to indulge in this one, same as they do in the one against gay folk, some of them, because they reckon fat is something people choose. Just put down the ice cream if you don't want to be 90 pounds overweight! Get up off the couch one time!

Because that's all there is to it, right?

Don't we wish. As the NIH tells us, diets have a failure rate of 98%. Tell me some other "cure" with a failure rate of 98% that anyone would endorse. Not to mention that this cure, in fact, often causes harm: many diets increase the risk of stroke, raise the blood pressure, cause organ damage -- you name it.

Exercise? It helps fitness. It doesn't help much with weight loss, in and of itself.

Do doctors know these things?

Ha! Wouldn't that be nice. I've known these things for about 15 years. In that time, I've found, I guess, about 2 doctors who did.

Do doctors need to know these things?

Do you need to ask? A doctor that sees a fat patient and says, oh, it's your weight causing the problem -- and looks no further? Is that an issue?

And will fat patients push the issue?

Most won't. I used to have to go with mr. delagar most of the time, because he had been smacked too hard and too long by our fat-hating soctiety. He'd been taught he was a second-class citizen and he deserved what he got. He fights back now -- well, except he won't quit this doctor and his whole "moral issue" crap -- but I think he's hoping to educate the dude.

Mostly fat patients believe it when their doctors say it's their own fault. Everyone else has always told them the same thing -- why wouldn't they believe it?

3 comments:

zelda1 said...

You know, that's why I lost portions of my pancrease, it was my gallbladder that was filled with stones and because I was in a wheelchair and because I was sooo fat, the doctor blamed my severe nausea and pain on my inactivity and my fat. After a year of being so insanely sick, I turned jaundiced and almost went into liver failure and they operated, reluctantly, and removed my gallbladder and cleaned around my pancrease. Years later, as you know, stomach problems sent me back into surgery and while inside of me, they found the mess caused by the reluctant surgeon. Now, I am fucked. I can't eat sweets nor fats nor anything. Went to the doctor the other day and he was so happy to see that I have lost 100 pounds. What! Yep, he said, you are doing so great. I say, no, I'm not doing great, I can't eat, I throw up all the fucking time, I get dizzy because I am malnourished, and I'm looking older and sicker. He says but you are losing weight. People at school who know that I have been so sick, keep telling me how great I look. I look in the mirror and wonder if they see the same sunken in face as I do, or if all they see is the sagging skin and shinking body. I, like Mr. Delagar, have faced doctor and people prejudices for years. You know, I even had a professor who said that he loved having fat people in class and as friends because they give him laughs. Oh, the fuck I say. IN all my fatness, not that I am not fat now, but in my huge body, my heart was always good, both pysically and emotionally. I wonder what starvation will do to it?

Cynthia said...

Mr. Cynthia is also a big guy. He carries his weight around his middle. He was a competitive weightlifter in college who never used steroids. You wouldn't believe the comments that people make to his face. Yet, being thin is not necessarily healthy. Thin people who get no exercise are worse off than big people like Mr. Cynthia who work out. But the bias against "fatties" is everywhere.

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