Sometimes… it IS just As Simple As That

Today I had a follow-up with my Gastroenterologist just to renew prescriptions and touch base.  Everything she’s been doing to manage my IBS is working well and I feel wonderful most days.  I’ve been reflecting the past week since the reminder about the appointment today that I’ve definitely even solidly stabilized my weight and so that’s not even a concern.  If the weather would warm up for more than one day I could even really get to digging out the shorts from last year, into which I still comfortably fit (for the second summer in a ROW!  Something that has NEVER happened in my dieting roller-coaster years).

This is the second time I went into the office and when told “if you’ll just step over here so I can get your most recent weight” I calmly replied “No thank you.  I don’t do scales.”  The only response was an equally calm and, dare I say, respectful, “Okay.”

How easy!  It was again a simple reminder that taking care of your health by means of doctor visits does not have involve a struggle each time*.  The doctor, who did not note anything about weight last visit, did not even bring the topic up.  Instead we were able to happily discuss what options I had if the hubby and I did decide to try to have children in the near future.  It was a pleasure.  It was simple.  It was what I imagine regular check-ups must be like for people who go to the doctors and fall into the “Normal” BMI range: a routine visit with no lingering issues being dredged up or nutritionist plans being promoted, etc (even though this appointment DID take place down in what is the Nutritionists’ area today).

I love those moments when being Fat is just a component of Being Me, and not a or even THE defining factor.  These are moments I feel like rejoicing, like there is hope that at some point the world will “Get It” and look back and marvel that everyone ever treated people differently simply BECAUSE they were different instead of acknowledging (celebrating even?) diversity for the wonderful and natural trait it is.

*Bearing in mind, of course, that I am very lucky to have some amazing care-providers and that I fully understand that not everyone is so lucky.

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16 thoughts on “Sometimes… it IS just As Simple As That

  1. Yes, you do have some amazing care-providers. No, not everyone is so lucky. But just knowing that care-providers like yours are out there is a huge thing to be aware of. It just might make it easier for someone else to take a chance, or to believe that it’s worthwhile to go looking for a new doctor because the next one might actually treat a fat patient like a person to be treated rather than a condition to be punished.

  2. I tried to do that the last time I saw my GP and the nurse said he wouldn’t see me if I didn’t weigh. I have no other complaints regarding how my doc treats my fat.

    • Kate I think it is so strange that they would push the issue like that; but not surprising since the idea that height/weight ratios mean the world is so prevalent.

      Twistie it was indeed so nice to be treated as a person; not as A Lump of Reluctant Fat Just Waiting to Die!

  3. I’m a lurker but I had to comment on this! The last time I went to the doctors I was in a bad mood and when the nurse asked me to take my weight I also said, “Oh, no thank you.” I was expecting a fight but she just said, “Okay, then.” No more was made of it! Thank you for showing people that in some cases this IS an option, I had no idea!

    • Jane I was so glad to hear of this option myself and though the first time I was almost panicking at what might happen when I tried to refuse; it is becoming easier and making me realize, as Well-Rounded says, I DO have the right to take a firmer hand in how my own health care is managed! Still lucky to have decent folks on the medicine end but damn it feels good.

  4. The last time I went to my OBGYN I refused to be weighed. The medical assistant said “Okay.” She did take my BP and I didn’t have to ask her for the extra large cuff; she automatically got it out. My reading was 138/70. I know some doctors think that is too high, but my doctor said the number was good (compared to another general practitioner who said the opposite). So far I haven’t had any fat shaming at this office and I hope it stays that way!

    • I’d love to have someone explain what is or isn’t a good b/p – mine generally is around 130/80 and I’ve had one nurse go “omg, is your doctor treating you for high blood pressure?!” when my GP doesn’t even blink or mention it.

      I’m glad you have good care providers, April – fat is NOT the sum total of who we are on any level, be it medical or otherwise!

      • Well I did a bit of looking and it seems that blood pressure is another measure that has a bit of a history and has changed over the years. Right now the American Heart Associations says that under 120 and 80 is great (or “normal”) though most charts will say that 120/80 is the normal with a range around it. AHA wants to call anything from 120-139 and 80-89 “Pre Hypertension”. That’s right. PRE hypertension. Instead of just “within the range of normal”. Some sites say 120/80 is Optimal, with 121-129/80-84 is Normal, going to High Normal 130-139/85-89 and THEN all the grades of hypertension. Yet even more interesting is a paper from Jul 2010 which found “A Cochrane systematic review has shown no clinical benefits in morbidity or mortality when comparing standard (<140/90 mmHg) vs. lower blood pressure targets in the general population of persons with elevated blood pressure." Or, best summed up: "In hypertension, evidence does not support the traditional premise ‘the lower the better’. The optimal blood pressure targets have not been established, especially for systolic blood pressure in nondiabetic patients. Randomized clinical trials are urgently needed to address these important issues."

        So perhaps that (which charts they are going by) might influence how certain doctors react?

  5. Katie, you ALWAYS have the right to refuse a test or medical treatment, and that includes being weighed. The med asst was conning you when she said the doc wouldn’t see you if you refused to be weighed. It’s another one of their strong-arm tactics.

    Yes, the docs can face hassle from insurance companies if they don’t get most pts weighed so that’s why they push it, but legally speaking they cannot force you to weigh. You always have the right of informed refusal; make sure you remind them of that. Use “I do not consent” language, which is much more powerful legally.

    Sometimes there are legit reasons for being weighed (for certain medications, for monitoring edema or congestive heart failure, before surgery for correct anesthesia doses, etc.), but routine weighing is really not necessary. If it’s not a big deal to you, do it. But if it’s a big deal to you, feel free to refuse.

    Occasionally you will find a doctor who will break the rules and refuse to see a pt if they refuse to weigh (or to diet, or to whatever). If that happens, you are better off without them because they don’t “get” basic medical ethics, which is that the patient ALWAYS has the right of informed refusal.

  6. Easy to say, not easy to do. And you risk opening yourself up to causing a scene, and very few sane people like to do that.

    I had to get weighed every week when I was pregnant with my daughter. I never looked at the numbers, and my Frauenarztz never said anything unless I’d dropped pounds or gained a great amount…which I did in my last week…which was why we opted to have her out a week early. It wasn’t great, but in total, I gained 20 pounds in that pregnancy, and I lost more than that 8 months later just by exercising. No one ever said anything about it.

    April, yesterday we got our box of stuff that MIL sends every month–newspapers, Sunday comics, books for my son…and guess what was right on top? Five “Prevention” magazines, and every. single. one had a huge banner on the front saying, “Lose weight now!”, “Walk off 10,15, 20 pounds by next month!”, and “I lost 8 inches from my waist…you can too!” Yeah.

    Knowing how much my MIL despises me, I’m pretty sure this was on purpose. After the way she behaved during her last visit, I put nothing past her and count nothing as coincidence. The magazines went straight into the recycling pile, and I went straight to the computer. I won’t tell you what I did, but I got her back and will continue to do so until she shuts up about ANYTHING in our lives (which hubby has told her to do). My husband thinks I’m sexy and wonderful and can’t keep his hands off me, and his opinion is the only one that counts with me.

    • Yorkie your MIL sounds like a passive-aggressive nightmare. Kudos to you for having the grace to simply junk the magazines and move on! 🙂 Getting pregnant would be a different case as far as weighing I think; but even then I wonder at just how necessary a WEEKLY weight really is. If I’ve lost or gained a noticeable amount of weight; it is just that: noticeable by me and therefore something I would be able to communicate to the doctor. But still; everyone has their own comfort level and knows which boundaries they are willing to push against. This is one of mine and so far I’ve been surprised and pleased with the results (namely the lack of furor over something that I usually work myself up over so much!)

  7. I went to the cardiologist and my ob-gyn some months to get checked for some symptoms that I thought were triggered, by the pill but wasn’t really sure if it was just an underlying condition.
    I got so nervous with anticipatory anxiety that my blood pressure was 138-140/80something on both visits. I asked the doctors -mind you one was a cardiologist- and they didn’t seem bother by the numbers. They both said it was normal, just to watch my diet -as in make sure that I was getting good micronutrient dense food- and relax (easier said than done!).
    When I went back to the ob-gyn got a bit anxious again and I read 130/80, the nurse seemed cool about it and told me that I may have “White Coat Syndrome”.

    PS. Ironically, when I was relaxed my blood pressure was always 95-98/60 something. Which is actually too low, as the nurses had to take my BP 2-3 times before getting a nice read. lol

  8. Am I crazy to be annoyed at my doctor’s nurses? They seem to automatically think that because I’m fat, I want to opt out of being weighed.

    • Rhonwyyn I think that is the first I’ve heard of anyone assuming against weighing at a doctor’s office! But certainly you have the right to be concerned or annoyed if the treatment you receive is not what you are looking for. Perhaps ask if weighing is no longer policy if it concerns you!

  9. These posts are old, but I have been looking for info on refusing to weigh at the docs. I had already read The Well Rounded Mama when I found this. I have been refusing to weigh for years, but last time my docs nurse said I had to because their new computer system wouldn’t even progress with my appt. without a weight input. I told her to put my last one in and she refused. I have not been back for a year! I have to go back tomorrow for scripts and I will refuse again and I have decided I WILL NOT weigh and I will use the right of informed refusal on her. I will not consent. I guess if they kick me out I will have to find a new doc after many years. But, I have decided it is wrong to insist in having their way with my business when they don’t need it. It really ruins my life when I have to get on that scale. So thanks for all the info. And wish me luck!

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