Fine, I’ll Admit It

I’m still fucking sick.  It’s probably the same damn crap I’ve had since the Super Genius’s wedding.  I just can’t shake it.

Mainly, I can’t breathe and it’s making me grouchy and it’s negatively affecting my time with Mrs. Wigglebottom because I don’t have any energy, because I can’t breathe, and so I haven’t been taking her for walks like I should, because I can’t breathe, and I’m at the point where I suspect that a long walk, no matter how slow, might do me some good, but I feel so crappy that I’d rather not.

Still, I keep telling myself that I feel better now than I did.  I’ve been leaving that time I felt worse vague and undefined so that I don’t have to face up to how long I’ve just been feeling kind of crappy.

Because sitting down and admitting to myself that I’ve felt like crap for a month and that I’ve been on and off sick since last fall begs the question, why don’t I go to the doctor?

America, I’m going to be honest with you.  I would rather be sick than go to the doctor.

I’ll give you three guesses why and the first two don’t count.

I’m sick.  From the feel of it, I might have a little bronchitis.  I read what’s going on in the Nashville blogosphere–a lot of people have had a touch of the crud all spring.

But if I go into the doctor, it’s going to turn into some giant lecture about how fat I am.  I know this because every trip to the doctor, my whole damn life, has been a lecture about how fat I am.

Yes, from the time I was old enough to be lectured to about being fat, I have, indeed, been lectured to about being fat.  I get it.  It’s unhealthy; it’s gross; I’m going to die early; no one will ever love me.  Every weight I’ve ever weighed has brought me that lecture.

I get it.  I suck.  I’m not trying hard enough.  Don’t I understand the health risks, etc. etc. etc.

Yes.  I am not stupid.  I have heard you from the time I weighed 50 pounds until now.

And yes, I am being stupid, but god damn it.  I’m just sick.  I just need some antibiotics and something to loosen up whatever’s sitting in my chest.  I don’t need the lecture about how I’m a failure as a person and as a woman that goes with me showing up in your office.

So, I’m not going.

I am thinking about hanging out near the hospital and mugging pharmaceutical reps, though.

17 thoughts on “Fine, I’ll Admit It

  1. Maybe you could try going to a “treat-’em-and-street-’em” doc in the box type place where all they havve time to do is take your vitals, listen to you breathe, and give you an antibiotic. If it is not your regular doctor, they may not want to put forth the effort to lecture ; – )

  2. I know how you feel!!! Plus, I had the funk a few weeks ago and my surprisingly non-judgemental, fat-friendly doc gave me a three day course of antibiotics. It got rid of the funk in my chest, of course, I was left with a bout of the screaming shits for a week. Gotta love antibiotics!

  3. MOA might have the right idea – the CVS close to us has one of these. Do you have access to occupational health on your side of the pond?

  4. My friend, there is a Minute Clinic in the CVS Pharmacy at Vandy. They take most insurance. You’re in and out in 30 minutes w/ antibiotic in hand. No lectures. It’s a beautiful thing.

  5. I smile because whenever people ask me “why don’t you see a doctor for that?” my answer is similar to yours. Even when I do see a doctor I’ve got a 50/50 shot of them not believing that I have a non-weight related problem.

    For TEN YEARS my endo was misdiagnosed as “ligament pain”. In other words, I was so fat that it strained the ligaments in my abdomen. Imagine the doctor’s surprise to open me up and find all my organs fused together.

    Anyway, that was self-centered. Back to you….

    I’ve taken to mentioning my weight off the top and saying something like “I’ve been dieting lately” or “I’ve been exercising” (both of which are true) or “I’ve been too sick to do my regular exercise routine” (which is also often true.)

    Those three statements usually keep them from making a weight-lecture.

  6. When my (male, paunchy, pack-a-day smoker) doctor started to do the weight dance last time, I told him that we could discuss my general health and nutrition when I made an appointment to do so. As I was super-sick, I really didn’t feel up to anything more than a once-over to get drugs for my current ailment. He looked like he’d eaten a bumblebee, but he shut up and got back on the task I had hired him to do. I probably wouldn’t have had the balls to do that if I had been feeling good.

  7. I think you are probably right about the bronchitis and I think I and many others (remember how sick Newscoma was a while back, at the same time I was super sick) have had it too. I am “just fine now” and “well”, except I STILL have some chest congestion. It’s like it just won’t go away. Makes one wonder what the hell’s in the air down here right now. Anyway, so antibiotics like ‘Coma had probably would have done you and I both some good.

    Ginger’s idea sounds like a good one.

  8. Super mega non-Limbaugh dittos on the Minute Clinic across the street from you. There are two very nice, non-judgemental nurse practitioners who work there. Their job is to get you in and out as quickly as possible and walk with you to the pharmacy counter to pick up your antibiotics.

    Suffer no more!

  9. bridgett’s right, but Ginger might have an easier solution. Look at us arguing for lesser care so as to avoid rude and patronizing “care” that isn’t even backed up by medical research.

    I’ve been honest with doctors about just how much I drink and use illicit drugs, which caused no concern. I’ve told them about the the hiking I’ve done in mountains from Peru to Thailand, and they’ve still assumed I cannot possibly be healthy or happy.

    Every time I think about going to the doctor, which is rare and becomes rarer every time I do go, I have a long talk with myself to prepare to tell the nurse that I won’t get on the scale just because they want me to. If dosaging would require my exact weight, then we can revisit that moment. Otherwise, let’s do what I came to do and not worry about the rest. My weight is not a topic for discussion. Diet and exercise, maybe. Blood pressure, sure. Cholsterol, okay. But until you have those figures, let’s not assume I am unhealthy when I know I am not.

  10. I haven’t gotten the fat lecture, thankfully. My pediatrician was a nice man from … Ethiopia? Kenya? Zimbabwe? (I know it’s awful of me, but we have so many prominent African pediatricians in the area that I get all of their backgrounds mixed up) … and he was a friend of the family and our church. He generally looked all of us over at once (all three girls) when we were younger, and I was treated by his nurse when I got older. My college health center was staffed with (some of) the nicest people in the world.*

    Of course, it also helps that even though I’m out of shape as all hell, and probably 10-15 pounds over what I should be, I don’t look fat.

    But I can certainly sympathize with the dismissive care issue. I’ve been told my whole life (even by those really nice people in the Health Center) that whatever pain I was feeling was probably in my head, and that I was just too sensitive. Which on a pretty basic level is true – my Sensory Integration issues mean that I am, indeed, more sensitive to my body than people ‘normally’ are. The difference is in what people do after that. My Health Center people always tried to treat me anyway, and scale it appropriately (giving me the right medicine in smaller doses, or offering suggestions on how to vary OTC meds to get similar effects); my current doctor doesn’t know anything about the SI problems, and didn’t even look concerned when I showed up with periodic severe abdominal pain, documented over several months, and a list of concerns about what it might be. When I offered to give her my medical records from my previous doctors (something everyone who has treated me, even for a few weeks, has wanted… usually before they’d even let me make an appointment), she just shurgged and said that she didn’t need them, and that I was fine, and here was a prescription for my Adderall (which she didn’t even ask about, or ask to see my documentation, or check that it was the right dosage or type, which it wasn’t), and I should come back for my next Gardasil shot in a couple months.

    I think that between the fiscal-structural issues (tests are expensive! HMOs are a pain! Malpractice insurance is insane!), the socio-structural issues (doctors are overworked! clinics are overbooked! our expectations of care and the way we make that possible are deeply out of whack!), and the gender/body/science issues (women lie! fat people must be unhealthy! If we can’t read their pain on a machine, it must not exist! the baseline body is the white male, and we can extrapolate from that to everyone!)… pretty much everyone who’s not a moderately trim white male gets screwed, carewise.

    * Though a tad ineffective for certain things; they weren’t a hospital and someone always managed to incubate some obscure respiratory or digestive disease that left everyone stymied.

  11. Oh, I would like actual care. You know, a sustained examination of me as a whole person, my background, family life, age, temper, educational level, genetic history, belief system, community life, emotional well-being and everything else that plays into my health …but I can do without “care.”

  12. Friends, I have bad news. It doesn’t get better when you get old, either.

    They just look at you whenever you come in for, say, torn ligaments in your knee, or a UTI, and say, “Yeah, these things happen when you get old.”

    My busy, active mother, 5 weeks post-hip replacement, looked at her little snip of a GP the other day, when she went in AGAIN to seek treatment of a mean UTI that he’s kept ignoring and yeah-yeahing her for, and said, “Okay, fine, let me ram a catheter up your yeah and let it sit for three days and then I’ll tell YOU whether you’re hurting or not. Run the lab, give me an antibiotic and LET ME GET SOME REST.” He looked at her and didn’t say anything for a long time and then said, “Well, a lot of my older patients …” She got up and walked 0ut and went down the hall to a urologist’s office and made an appointment. That doctor ran labs, reviewed her chart extensively, spoke with her about her history and recommended a very mild antibiotic along with one of those “gotta-go” pills to use briefly to help her get back to her healthy decatheterized state.

    We have long been of the opinion that until you can find a doctor who treats you as a human, you are welcome to say, “Doc, I’m here to be treated for horrible allergies/a broken leg/a vicious cat bite/a weasel growing out of my forehead. My weight is not related to my current ailment. If you want to make another appointment to discuss that at another time, that’s fine. But right now, TREAT ME FOR WHAT I CAME IN FOR.”

    It’s amusing that the doctors who yell so much about a patient’s weight, smoking, drinking, etc., are often carrying about 75 extra pounds and wearing nicotine-stained clothes/fingers.

    P.S. — I love my doc. And I’m diabetic, hypertensive, arthritic and obese. We talk science and numbers and cool goals. And exchange baby pictures.

  13. My favorite is if you go in with one part that hurts when the other doesn’t, and then you get to hear, “Well, AT YOUR AGE …”

    I had a friend who was afraid of hearing that, and I told her what to say – and she used it!

    She told her doctor she was having problems with her knee, and he started to say, “At YOUR AGE -”

    – when she told him, “The other knee is the same age, and it doesn’t hurt at all!”

    He shut up and examined her knee properly.

  14. Eugh.

    I’ve found that having a pre-done diagnosis does wonders for most things. (The internet, DSM-IV, and a couple medical journals are great for that.) Especially if you’ve switched doctors recently and don’t feel like dealing with all of the hassle.

    “So, Doctor… I have a weasel growing out of my forehead, and would like some de-weaseling pills. Weasels run in my family; my mother had three different weasel infestations before the age of twenty. She likes to lure them out with candy and small insects, but I prefer the pink de-weaseling pills made by MegaPharma. My preferred dosage is 35mg/day, and my HMO will cover them for the next week.”

    If you’re certain of what’s wrong with you, and your doctor is of the busy-and-not-terribly-interested variety, they’re likely as not to just give you whatever you’re asking for on the grounds that it seems like someone told you what was up and/or it’s something you’ve had happen before. The problem comes when you don’t really know what’s up, or you have a pretty good idea what’s up but you can’t treat yourself (mental health issues especially, but also surgery and medical hardware issues)… because then you have to go through the whole litany.

    Even then, I’ve found that a bit of spin helps (write down all of your symptoms, look up everything you suspect it might be, give the things that match your problems most closely a good look, and list those symptoms together, before anything else, and use wording that strongly suggests one type of thing or the other). If you really have no clue what’s wrong and don’t want to bias an opinion (or you don’t want to go through all the work of researching it, as that’s kind of your doctor’s job), but don’t want to be dismissed either, lining up everything that hurts the most and presenting it, along with specific reasons why it impacts your life, and everything you’re sure that it’s not and your reasons for thinking this way (“My head has been hurting for weeks, and there seems to be a tail poking its way through my left temple. No, that’s not a pimple; I tried popping it and all I got was a bunch of small red hairs. The head pain hasn’t responded to OTC medication, deep breathing, a change in sleep habits, or my migraine medication, and it couldn’t be a migraine anyway because there’s no aura and it’s located in the wrong place. The chittering sound and fur feel kind of weasely to me…”) tends to prod the discussion back into place.

    Tends to.

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