I needed to get a physical prior to going on a church mission so,
since I was in college, I went to the student health clinic. Obviously
student health clinics are known for not exactly being bastions of
quality health care, and this experience did not disappoint.
I was sent to a physicians assistant. I’d provided blood and urine
several days earlier, so she already had those results. As I walked
in, before I’d even dropped my bag on the ground or anything, she
said, “Do you have a yeast infection?”
“No,” I responded, as I turned to face her and place my bag out of the
way by the wall.
“Yes you do,” she said. Apparently it showed up in my urine sample.
Okay…. Kind of an obnoxious way for her to inform me, but whatever.
Right then she wrote a prescription to clear it up, and that was all
well and good. She moved on to the exam, which was basic and fine.
She then invited me to sit down in her office next to the exam room.
“Let’s talk about your weight,” she said. My heart sank. She then
proceeded to grill me about everything I ate. At the time, I actually
ate quite healthy and did a lot of walking to and from campus and all
around campus. She didn’t believe me when I told her what I’d eaten
the day before and assumed I was hiding some sort of binge eating. Um, no, but thanks for calling me a liar. For example, I told her I’d
eaten a baked potato the night before for dinner. She told me I
shouldn’t eat potatoes because of all the butter and cheese I put on
them, and plus they’re a terrible form of carbohydrate. I didn’t tell
her what I put on it, so she pulled the butter and cheese thing out of
the air. I informed her I ate it with fat-free sour cream and pepper.
That stopped her short for a couple seconds, and then she told me I
should have eaten it with broccoli. So… is that a yes or a no on
eating potatoes? Only if I eat them with broccoli?
By this time I was starting to cry a bit – admittedly, I felt very
demeaned by the grilling and her assumptions – so I wasn’t about to
ask for potato clarification. She asked me why I was crying since the
fact I was fat certainly couldn’t come as a shock to me. I didn’t
really answer. I was very shy and wasn’t about to say, “I’m crying
because you’re being a bit of an ass right now.”
Then she proceeded to tell me that when I got to the Missionary
Training Center, that I’d be taken with the other overweight
missionaries to see the doctor there, and we would receive nutrition
counseling and be weighed each week. This news stressed me out. I
could foresee the humiliation of being singled out. “Sorry, fellow
missionaries, I have to leave class now so I can be told that, hey,
whadya know, I’m still fat.” So I left that appointment with a lot
more fear about the near future.
And all for nothing. There was no doctor or nutrition counseling or
weighing. There was never any mention of my weight at the training
center or on my mission. It was a complete non-issue. And she had to
have known that. It’s been quite a few years, and to this day I don’t
understand the point of what she told me at the end. Going on a church mission is an exciting thing, but it’s also a stressful thing. Why on earth would someone want to add to the stress? It was simple cruelty.