Rx: Lose 100 pounds

Becky writes…

The background: I am 5’6″ and 245 pounds. I have been this size (or close to it) for years, losing weight after giving birth to my two kids, but gaining it back fairly quickly each time. Having had gestational diabetes and joint pain, I was concerned about my health, and began working out and eating healthier to get in better shape. This was interrupted by a serious hip problem; my right hip would pop out of place, causing excruciating pain and incapacitating me for days at a time. My doctor prescribed massive amounts of ibuprofen and physical therapy, which worked for a while, but then the problem returned (worse than ever) and I got an ulcer from the ibuprofen, so I couldn’t take any kind of pain medication.

Enter the hip specialist; Dr. Jerkhead (not his real name, but it should be). I limped into his office, MRI report and pictures in hand, and waited patiently. Dr. Jerkhead listened to my description of my hip problems, said, “There’s no way it’s popping out of joint, or you’d be in the emergency room all the time.” Then, he looked at the report (not the pictures) and said that there weren’t any issues (although the report clearly said that there was evidence of arthritis and potential bursitis) and that I just had to lose 100 pounds and I’d be fine. When I said that I couldn’t exercise due to the pain, he told me to just go on a strict diet, and I’d see results. He pulled out a prescription pad, wrote, “potatoes, rice, sugar, pop… No!” then handed it to me, and walked out. The whole “consultation” took less than ten minutes, and did not involve any sort of physical examination (other than his judgment of me as an ignorant fat woman). I walked out feeling attacked and worthless, then I got angry.

Happy ending: I found a fat friendly doctor on a website from my sister in law, and made an appointment. Dr. K did a thorough exam, looked at every MRI picture as well as the report, listened to my story, and never once commented on my weight. He gave me a shot of cortisone to treat the bursitis, and I was pain free in less than a minute. I was in the office for over an hour, but I left feeling better than I had in at least five years. I am still mad at Dr. Jerkhead, but consider myself lucky to have found Dr. K.

I feel terrible knowing that so many of us are treated badly because we aren’t the “right” weight, and that so many people avoid doctors because they have had bad experiences. I know that my story is not unique, and that many people have had far more damaging experiences, but the one thing we can all do is refuse to accept the notion that fat is the problem when we know there is something wrong. We all need to look for doctors who treat us as patients, not as fat patients. Good luck to everyone in this quest, and may we all find good health and self-acceptance along the way!

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12 Comments

  1. man oh man… GOOD FOR YOU for refusing to make Dr. Jerkhead’s attitude your own. Holy crapola that’s hard sometimes. Hooray for Dr. K!!!

    Reply
  2. Seeing stories like this just makes me want to start a patient rights bill/law whereas if you receive substandard service like Becky received, you shouldn’t have to pay. Really, consider how much she paid to have Dr. Fuckwit patronize her as if she were ignorant. If you went to the stylist for a trim and walked out bald, you wouldn’t have to pay. Why should doctors be any different?

    Reply
  3. sweetmachine

     /  November 30, 2007

    Wow, thank god you went to Doctor #2! I am glad you finally found proper treatment. Have you thought about filing a complaint with Dr Jerkhead?

    Reply
  4. iiii

     /  November 30, 2007

    I’ve been wondering about this – What happens if you refuse to pay for the office visit because he refused to treat you?

    Reply
  5. littlem

     /  November 30, 2007

    What sweetmachine said.

    With a copy to his/your state’s licensing board and to the AMA.

    Reply
  6. maggie

     /  December 1, 2007

    iiii — years ago i visited a doctor to get a scrip for antibiotics for a sinus infection. he looked at me, told me to lose 100 pounds, and did not treat my sinus infection.

    i didn’t pay.

    that was five years ago. i’m pretty sure it’s gone to collections now, but fuck it, he did NOT solve my problem.

    Reply
  7. mustelid

     /  December 3, 2007

    I’d also like to cast a vote for reporting Dr. Jerkhead. How did such a moron get into the medical field in ANY capacity?

    Reply
  8. DivaJean

     /  December 3, 2007

    The sad part is the AMA and most local oversight of physicians are also involved in the collective circle jerk known as “obesity initiative.” Basically, it makes NOT addressing the obesity “epidemic” with fat patients as the problem.

    Reply
  9. sso

     /  December 4, 2007

    it just makes my mind boggle that doctors can get away with this. i’d want to be like, hey doc, joe schmo on the street will tell me i should lose weight, just as rudely as you did, and free of charge. so how about you do what i’m paying you for – TREAT MY PROBLEM.

    Reply
  10. Mary

     /  December 11, 2007

    I got my gall bladder out about 2 years ago. This was after losing 20 pounds (that I had gained because of 2 years on prednisone for a lung infection caused by Advair–that evil drug!!!!) in 6 weeks (6 weeks of vomiting, diahria (sp?) ,etc.) So, by the time my gall bladder was properly diagnosed, and I had surgery, it took me a good year to feel “better”–especially since I had to go back to work as a full time special education teacher 1 1/2 weeks. Now, you must understand, that I have been considered “overweight” since I was young–not by physicians–but by family members, other people. I started “developing” into a very veloptious (sp?) woman at 10. Yes, 10. So, weight is a touchy issue for me. Granted, I’ve never been at my correct “bmi” weight–you know, that lie (I’m 5′ 3″–I was supposed to stay at 115 pounds–imagine, 115 pounds!!!! With absolute Sweedish genes that have told my body to never be at 115 pounds–pah!!!). Anyway–so, I had this skinny butt doctor–who looked at my blood tests that had been taken at an Instacare. My liver enzymes were up–duh–sick gall bladder!! So, I got referred to a surgeon, who took one look at me, and the history of my sister having her gall bladder out, and said “Duh–let’s test that”–which we did, and then I had surgery. So, 6 weeks later, the skinny butt doctor had requested another blood test–warning me of the oodles of fat related diseases I would definitely have!!! Can I tell you the absolute joy I had when they all came back NEGATIVE!!!! I mean, good grief, I check my blood sugar every month, just for my own info. It’s always been normal. So, the next spring, when I came up positive for Strep G–which I was given by 3 young people in my class with significant disabilities who all had it–thank you very much–he again went nuts about everything I “had” cause I wasn’t skinny like him. Again, I went to a ENT–as my tonsils were going nuts and I was having ear or sinus infections every 6 weeks. Funny, explained the situation to the surgeon, he looked at me and said “you mean, you have tonislitus?” I said, is that what it is. He took one look and said “Let’s get those guys out of there”. Which we did (with a perfectly normal pre-surgery glucose test, by the way). Ever since, my infection rate has been 99% non-infection. Of course, I stopped seeing that stupid skinny butt doctor as soon as I can. I just have no respect for a doctor who is 6 foot 11 inches, stupid skinny, and thinks he can tell me, a 5’3″, not so skinny woman, who wears D+ cups everyday–about my health!!!Thank you for this webpage!!!!

    Reply
  11. Becky

     /  December 28, 2007

    Thanks for all of the comments, everybody. I am also grateful for this sort of forum, but I look forward to the day when it becomes obsolete because doctors all start looking beyond the fat to find the problem! I hope for the best, but I’m not holding my breath…
    Update: I am able to work out and play with my kids now (hurray!), and I feel great. I am going to ask my primary care doctor to take Dr. Jerkhead off the list of referral doctors, (and am looking into my options beyond this) in order to help others avoid having to endure him, but this sort of thing is difficult for me because I hate confrontations. I am trying to stand up for myself and teach my children to do the same… I don’t want kids -especially my daughter- to ever feel the way I did when I walked out of Dr. Jerkhead’s office!

    Reply
  12. “No!”

    What? Didn’t he hit you with a rolled-up newspaper afterwards? *shaking my head*

    Reply

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