Dad is “Doing Something Wrong”

Not only did I forget to tell you about the hawk that circled so close to us yesterday morning that I teased the dog it was looking to pick her up and fly away with her, I forgot to tell you about the conversation I had with my dad.

So, my dad called to firm up arrangements for my trip. Well, okay, to coordinate to make sure that Mrs. Wigglebottom was as spoiled as possible. And he was telling me that he had to go to the doctor yesterday morning to get some blood drawn because the doctor was giving him grief that his weight had gone down after his surgery and then gone back up not as high as pre-surgery, but to a point and then leveled off there and my dad said that he was going to the gym five days a week and has since shortly after his heart surgery, which anyone who’s had to listen to all the gossip about the men at the gym can attest is true. Good god, it’s so cute. I don’t know if my dad has ever had a gang of guys he saw regularly before in a non-professional setting. He doesn’t drink so he’s never had “the guys down at the bar.” And he doesn’t really socialize without my mom.

So, it’s very cute to watch him navigate the guys at the gym.

Anyway, so of course the doctor is like “You go to the gym five days a week and you’ve gained weight?” And I don’t know what my dad weighs, but I’m going to guess that, from his lowest point, he’s put back on 40 or 50 pounds. So, anyone familiar with my dad’s life–two or three hours a day at the gym, going from three meat meals a day to two and those meats becoming chicken or fish (with the occasional bacon treat)–might be concerned that he’s still fat. (I am not concerned that he’s still fat basically because his weight has been remarkably stable over the course of his life and I don’t find it surprising that, even with good eating and exercise, he’s still fat, just not as fat as he was, because that seems to be how his body is.).

So, the doctor wants to check to make sure that his thyroid is not fucked up. And I said, “Did you tell him that you have a daughter with an endocrine disorder?”


No, I know. Don’t even get me started. I am half tempted to just start shitting myself whenever he’s around so that he can be reminded that there is something wrong with me and that I’m not just making it up as an excuse. I guess he thinks those pills I take are for show. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t expect my parents to sit around and think “Oh, poor Betsy, with something wrong with her.” I sure as hell don’t.

But, wouldn’t you think that when your doctor is concerned about your inability to lose weight, your mind might flash to other people in your family, like, oh, the people in your family who inherited genes from you, who are on a side of the family full of fat women with reproductive issues, and you might say “Oh! Doctor, you should know. My daughter has an endocrine disorder her doctor told her is inherited. Now, I know men obviously can’t have PCOS, but is it possible I, fat man from a family of fat people, might have a related endocrine disorder?”

But no! It has slipped his mind that his daughter has an endocrine disorder. Shall we lay bets that it slipped his mind that his father had diabetes?

Instead, he says “Well, I’m sure it’s something I’m not doing right.”

Recounting this, my mind is boggled. But listening to it, my heart just broke for him. He completely changed his diet. He exercises two to three hours a day five days a week. And, if he’s still fat, it’s because because he can’t get with the program, in his mind.

You know, you hope by the time you’re sixty-six, you’ve settled in to who you are. I’d hate to think that, in my dad’s mind, he thinks who he is is kind of a failure because he’s fat.

4 thoughts on “Dad is “Doing Something Wrong”

  1. Well, it’s not an idea he came up with – it’s all around him, poor guy. Our whole culture is geared towards “if you’re fat, it’s your own fault and you’re doing things wrong.” I went 18 months before being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, thanks to that idea being firmly in various doctors’ heads. I had an OB/GYN (I also have PCOS) ask me how I got so fat, despite having my entire medical history right in front of him. At least he shut up when I said “cancer”. I work in pharmacy, and people his age and older – even those who aren’t even overweight – come in worrying about their weight. It’s awful.

  2. The pendulum has swung in the other direction of not being concerned with weight to being obsessed with it as a society. I hope it swings back soon to a more balanced view. I hate seeing young girls starving themselves so they can feel accepted instead of concentrating on what is inside their head and heart. Tell your sweet daddy that you love him the way he is and muscle weighs more than fat so since he has been exercising, he probably has more weight from muscle which is a good thing.

  3. [I’m going with Chris Wage’s rant.]

    Reading the book ‘Good calories, Bad calories : challenging the conventional wisdom on diet, weight control, and disease by Gary Taubes’ has really made me think about fat in a different way. I mean-just the way your body manages fat is endocrine based.

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