Appropriate primary care could have prevented these hospitalizations, Ferraro said. However, those who are overweight or obese may not have sought regular care because of embarrassment or other issues related to their weight.
I was raised in a household where you always went to the doctor if something was even mildly wrong. Throat hurts, persistent dizziness, weird skin thing, etc, you let it go for a few days but no longer than two weeks, and then you go to the doctor.
When I was in elementary school, I was brought to the pediatrician a lot. I don’t really remember all the times I went, but I do remember one particular time: that’s right, it was the time that my doctor made me cry because he suggested I wasn’t getting any exercise and eating tons of junk because I was a chubby kid. The reality was, of course, that my mom didn’t even allow junk food in the house, and nearly every afternoon and evening I would either be riding my bike or playing games with the neighborhood kids (after dark we used to play a great hide and seek game called ‘Bloody Murder.’ Gruesome title that had nothing really to do with the game except that if you got caught, you had to lay down ‘dead’ while your capturer got to scream “Bloody murder!” and run off).
After I passed through middle school, I started actively starving myself, and then my doctor’s visits increased because my ailments increased. However, no longer was I a target for my weight, though once in a while I was still harangued about being ‘overweight’ by the BMI charts. Of course, I told them I was ‘on a diet’ and ‘working on it,’ and they shut up pretty quick. They never dreamed that the ‘diet’ had anything to do with the fact that my blood pressure was always abnormally low, and that I was usually dizzy and pale whenever I was there. They would ask me if I’d had anything to eat that day, and I’d say, “Oh, you know, some carrots. I’m trying to watch my weight,” and that would shut them up. Diet of carrots for the fat girl? Guess that’s okay, though all her indicators show she is STARVING, DEHYDRATED, and in a CONSTANT FOG. But that’s okay. Fat girls don’t deserve to have the ability to use their brains and feel well, right?
I used to visit the doctor perhaps twice or three times a year, for various things. In the past four years, I’ve been once, for some chronic dry skin at the corners of my mouth (that still hasn’t go away, gar). All I needed was a prescription for something stronger than I could get over the counter (nothing was working). I sat in the doctor’s office for 40 minutes before I got seen—no one else was there—and then the nurse briskly led me over to the scale. “Oh, I’m not getting weighed today, I came in for a skin issue,” I explained. She looked at me like I had two heads. “But we need a baseline for your weight, we don’t have one, you’re a new patient.” I smiled at her, and repeated pleasantly. “No, I’m not going to get weighed today. But thanks.”
She made no attempt to hide the disgust on her face as she then led me into the examination room. She angrily started getting the blood pressure equipment together, and I asked, “Do you have an extra-large cuff? I have large upper arms, and the reading won’t be correct unless you have an extra large cuff.” She again looked at me as if I had two heads, or rather, how dare I, the patient, a fat patient no less, make suggestions? She pretended to look for a different-sized cuff, and then without a word as to whether she found one or not, retrieved the original cuff she’d been going for before I said anything (so obviously not a larger cuff). She strapped it around my arm and pumped furiously, breaking several blood vessels on my arm and causing extraordinary pain. Note: I also have painful fat syndrome due to lipedemic fat on my arms, legs, and other areas. So it was doubly painful.
This might sound horrific. But my weight wasn’t mentioned after that, not by the nurse or doctor. I came away from that visit as if it were a win of all things. Though my upper arm was tender the rest of the day. And the prescription my doctor gave me didn’t ultimately work for anything except to temporarily abate the symptoms. Of course, I’m afraid to go back in order to seek a referral to a dermatologist.
I’ve had this likely easily curable skin condition for over a year now. And it’s probably not going to be enough to land me in the hospital for any reason. But how many of us sit on other more serious symptoms, because of the fear of going through humiliation and sometimes real pain and torture because of our fat?