I don’t like to go to the doctor much. I know that probably sounds like an odd thing to say, most people would rather not have to negotiate the appointment booking system (“So, what exactly is wrong with you, Miss Clark, that is so important it needs one of our Very Important Doctors to see you? Are you about to expire?”) and the waiting room full of, dare I say it, sick people.
I especially detest the way I then have to subject myself to ritual humiliation, where whatever is wrong with me is explained away by my weight. Bah.
The other week, however, I had no choice, faced with acid reflux that could have stripped paint, and was getting worse and worse thanks to a particularly stressful few weeks, I decided to bite the bullet and make the appointment my mum had been trying to convince me to make for ages. She also has reflux but isn’t overweight, as does my brother. So I suppose it was always going to get me eventually.
I’d love to know what it is about doctors that always changes my well-rehearsed explanation of my symptoms into a garbled, “YesIknowI’fatbutI’mtryingtoloseithonest”
I was in and out of that surgery within less than my allocated ten minutes doctor-time, holding a prescription for Omeprazole. Which was all good, apart from the lecture I got about my weight. She told me I could have the magic pills (which are indeed wonderful and have cleared up the heartburn and oesophagitis wonderfully) for a few weeks, but that if it didn’t settle in time I’d have to go for an endoscopy. Ouch! Yes, I know that reflux is exacerbated by being overweight, and I know that pretty much everything I like to eat makes it worse (wine, coffee, anything salty, fatty, sugary or spicy) but I still felt like a naughty schoolgirl when I walked out of the surgery having been advised to lose weight…again.
I’m fit – I’ve been working out for months and my blood pressure and resting heart rate are pretty good for a chubster. In fact they are pretty good for a non-chubster! I don’t smoke, don’t drink very often, drink lots of water, take vitamins, eat fruit and veg and generally look after myself. I hate the way that doctors seem to assume we lead a couch-potato lifestyle just because we’re overweight…still, in the spirit of doing as I’m told and not wanting the nasty doctor lady to put a tube down my throat, I’m going to have to play ball and try and lose a bit of weight. I refuse resolutely to go on a diet, so I’ve just cut down a bit on the naughty things that I love so much and I’m eating more Ryvita and bananas. Oh, and lots of vegetables. Which are all nice of course but I still love Kettle Chips…
One thing that does annoy me though…OK, I guess I could forgive the doctor for bringing up the subject of my weight when the condition is made worse by excess weight. Had to accept that one. But everything these days is weight related. I had a press release from a very dodgy-sounding meal replacement diet company a couple of weeks ago, blaming obesity not just for diabetes, but also for depression and asthma. Yes, really. The charming press release encouraged all fatties to lose weight because we were costing the UK a fortune in sick leave bills, and this made it our patriotic duty. Of course we would all be much healthier if we just substituted our meals with a pouch of chemical slurry three times a day, wouldnt we?
Does nobody understand that it’s erfectly possible to be overweight and healthy, even fit? Doctors blame every ailment on obesity. Life insurance companies charge higher premiums if you are over a certain BMI. I would so love to start a movement for big people who are perfectly fit and healthy, thank you very much, just to prove all the doom and gloom merchants wrong. It does my head in. But for now, I’d better do as the doctor tells me…