I’d like to start by saying I work with doctors. I’m pretty lucky…my PCP and Gastro know me as a person first before a patient, and I think that helps them see more than my 290 lbs.
However, that doesn’t mean all my experiences have been good. I went into the ER with possible appendicitis. I hurt. I have a damn good pain tolerance, but this was bordering on the “shoot me now” level of pain. I usually will “tough it out” before I go to the ER, but this was bad. They did all the tests, CAT scan, blood work, etc. My blood pressure was high. Of course it was high, I was in pain! As I’m lying there on the gurney, still trying not to move so it wouldn’t hurt too much, the ARNP comes in. I was expecting her to give me my test results, but no. She proceeded to tell me that she had food problems too, and that I should go to Weight Watchers and I would feel better. If I hadn’t been in pain, I’d be in jail for decking a nurse. I called the hospital the next day and complained and informed them that her comments were inappropriate and that I didn’t appreciate her berating me in front of my husband and other patients. From what I understand, her mood has changed considerably.
I’m not ashamed of my weight. You have to love yourself before you can make any change in your life. I once told a surgeon that if the only diagnosis he could come up with was “fat”, then he really needed to go to medical school and retake a few things.
I did have a good experience though. I had gastritis, a recurring condition for me since I was three. They were going to send me home, but my BP was 200/150, a reaction to the pain of the quarter sized lesions in my stomach. They hadn’t found the gastritis in the ER yet, but I was having radiating chest pain and that was kinda suspicious, even with a negative EKG and cardiac enzymes. Finally the doc walks in. He looks at me, looks at my chart, and my previous tests done at that hospital. I explain my blood pressure issues (another family genetic gift) and he smiles and says “Okay, so you’re fat. So am I. Weight has nothing to do with what’s going on with you.” He treated me like a person first and I always appreciated that.
Dr M rocks. When my husband was in the ER, I specifically requested him since he’s fat friendly and treats the person, not the fat.
All I can tell people is complain, complain, complain. If you get the chance to do a Press-Ganey survey about the hospital, fill it out. Be as honest and blunt as you can. They listen to those Press-Ganey scores. Write lots of letters to the Medical Board, and the facility the doctor or nurse works for.
On the other hand, do the same thing for docs and nurses that are fat friendly and treat us like people. Compliment, compliment, compliment. Staff love to hear them and it reinforces the good attitudes.