Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why I Don't Go To the Doctor

Ten years ago, I had a first visit with a new doctor. Before any examination took place, he met with me (fully clothed!) in his office, and we chatted. Dr. E got to know me a little. And I got comfortable enough with him that I mentioned my weight. He surprised me by saying that he wasn't terribly worried; health was more important than a specific weight.

I would have followed him anywhere.

Even though he wasn't an internist, I considered Dr. E my primary care physician. He guided me through two pregnancies with minor complications, and I saw him routinely. I could address any question to him. But two years ago he retired. Sure I still get my annual exam from the doctors in that office, but it's not the same.

Prior to meeting Dr. E, I was haunted by previous experiences with a number of doctors, who immediately assumed that any issue was a symptom of my weight. Allergies? I must eat too much. Earaches? Get more exercise. A sinus infection? Lay off the ice cream. Apparently, I was so big even bacteria couldn't escape my gravitational field.

Which is why, for me, going to the doctor is a lot like being sent to the principal.

But I've not been feeling quite right. And, to be honest, I've gained even more weight. It's time to take care of myself. So, I screwed up my courage, made an appointment, and today I had a physical.

I'll get the results from the blood work tomorrow. In the meantime, the numbers in the office were good. Low blood pressure, resting heart rate of 60, great health history. I walked a 1/2 marathon last spring, and am in training to run a 1/2 this spring. I don't smoke or drink. I eat lots of vegetables. I don't drink juice or soda, and mostly avoid junk food. I am, for all intents and purposes, healthy. Despite all that, the only thing the doctor wanted to know is: am I trying any programs to lose weight?

I must be broken, because I am obese. My weight is the only consideration.

And I wonder, why in all my years I've only ever met one doctor who looked at my self first, and then at my body. Because I know I need help, but if you only see a number on a scale, doctor, then how am I going to be comfortable talking to you about what to do?

I'll go back and try and work with this doctor. But I'll miss Dr. E every time.


  1. I miss Dr. E too!

    Because of your stories, my Love, I try very hard to not make my patients feel like their weight is the issue. I hope I succeed...


  2. I don't go to the doctor/principal either, for the same reason. What's the point if the solution is always "lose 20 pounds, 30 pounds, 50 pounds, 100 pounds...." Even if that might be part of the solution, what does one do in the mean time? Apparently, suffer and deserve it. I'm jealous you had Der. E for a while! Good luck with the next doc.