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Wow, time flies. July 17, 2008

Posted by phledge in black bile, fat, health, medical school, osteopathy, yellow bile.
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I am sorry that I might have frightened some people by my absence.  Actually, I have been neglectful of this blog because I started my OB-GYN rotation on July 1 and it is kicking my fat white ass.  It doesn’t, of course, help that I am still trying to straighten out all this affair mess with Mr Phledge, but at least I haven’t killed anyone—at home or at work—yet.  I have to tell you a story, though.

The doctor with whom I am rotating has a nurse practitioner/naturopathic doctor who works in the office with him.   She is pushing, if not over, sixty years old but she looks like she might be in her forties.  In and of itself, this is not a big deal to me; lots of people don’t look their age, above or below, and I am the first to get past the whole book, cover, judge thing.  However, I had to spend some time in her shadow as she worked with her patients, and she makes me sick sick sick.

First off, she pushes her “specially formulated” products on every single patient.  Most women ended up with at least two bottles of stuff that may or may not help their condition, and it seemed that there were a lot of conditions that were treated with evening primrose oil, vitamins, and bioidentical hormone replacement.  The first one, the primrose oil, went out to patients having such diverse conditions as fibrocystic breasts, menopause, sexual dysfunction, ADD/ADHD, skin disorders, urinary tract infections, postpartum depression, prolonged pregnancy, and cramps.  WTP?  I seriously doubt that there have been any reliable trials to determine whether her specially formulated evening primrose oil really works on any of those conditions, and even if there had been you most certainly can get a more active product by actually eating the food.  I mean, hey, that’s the natural way—not to cultivate, harvest, and mechanically or chemically extract one part of a plant that we think is the “active” ingredient.  So that’s bogus number one.

Secondly, she touted the primrose oil as a way to stay young-looking.  Ah, so that’s how she does it!  I’m sure it has nothing to do with her genes, or what she puts on her skin, or if she stays well-hydrated.  So some poor schmuck is gonna dish out the $15 for a month supply to look like this woman, and if it doesn’t work, well, then, that leads us to part three.

I have never met such a fat-hating, oblivious health care “professional” in my life.

If you don’t look like her, it’s clearly because you eat too much junk food and don’t ever work out.  I sat in her office listening to her tell a post-menopausal woman that the reason the patient’s libido had taken a hike was because she had gained ten pounds since January.  (I weighed more than both women combined, yet somehow my libido manages to keep me, erm, well-informed.  It took what little energy I have these days to keep from turning her desk like Jesus turned the moneychangers in the Temple.)  Dr Wackaloon (and trust me, it was difficult to pay her the respect of calling her “Dr Wackaloon”) gleefully pointed out that when she hit menopause she had to double her workouts—four hours of tennis a day instead of two!—so she could stay at her current size AND YOU CAN TOO.  Several women were told that they simply had to work out more or else they would get fat because they were going through the Change.  And then?  Clearly she noticed that I was extremely uncomfortable in the office because she asked, “So, are you uncomfortable with sexually explicit conversations?”  Yeah, she did.  I couldn’t help myself:  I laughed and said, “No, not at all.”  But it wasn’t one of those wow-you’re-funny-belly-laughs.  It was a are-you-that-fucking-clueless-laugh.  Fortunately I don’t have to work with her for much longer.

You know, one of the things that really bothers me about this experience is that I actually am pretty open-minded to complementary medicine (hell, OMM is still considered complimentary by the NIH).  What I see here, though, is a woman terrified of her own mortality and spreading that shit liberally amongst her patients.  A woman who took an oath to “cooperate with the healing powers of nature” but now does nothing more than glorified anti-aging medicine, an oath to “conduct my life and practice of Naturopathic Medicine with integrity and freedom from prejudice” even as she admitted in an office consult that she has a hard time being kind to people who are obese.  And the fact that she sells her own product, telling people that it will help their problems, smacks very loudly of conflict of interest.  If I am in charge of your health, and I tell you that only Pill X will cure you, but I am the sole shareholder of Pill X, then something’s fishy, non

Look, folks, weight fluctuations, body size diversity, aging, senescence, and death are all a natural part of life, and how can someone call themselves a naturopath when they don’t respect that? 

PS—she’s amazingly tan.  Should I point out to her that she’s a bad example for dermatological care and skin cancer prevention?

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Comments»

1. Meowser - July 17, 2008

FOUR hours of tennis A DAY? I’m sorry, but unless you’re Serena Williams or someone in that class of talent, that qualifies as exercise bulimia. Which is a hell of a thing to recommend to patients, as in, this woman is a malpractice suit waiting to happen. I’m so sorry you have to put up with this.

2. Bri - July 17, 2008

She sounds just like a “healer” I know… and it makes me sick too.

3. wellroundedtype2 - July 17, 2008

So, how many hours does she work? And she has four hours to play tennis a day, every day? In Las Vegas?
Sounds like my personal version of hell — four hours of tennis a day in the heat, with no time to do anything else, sounds like, unless her products also cure her need to sleep, or, she’s part cyborg.

4. wellroundedmama - July 17, 2008

Glad to see you back. We missed you.

I agree that sometimes “alternative” med folks can be some of the most size-biased out there. Some are great, and I think some types of “alternative” treatments really are good to consider…..while some of course are quackery…..but there is certainly a strong current of fat-phobia running through a significant subgroup of these folks too. You have to be careful as a person of size going to some “alternative” practitioners.

Will be interested in your take about fat-phobia in the oby-gyn rotation. I’ve long felt like endocrinology and obstetrics are two of the most fat-phobic of the specialties, just reading about the way they discuss obesity and fat people in the research literature. Will be interested to see if your experience matches that.

5. Aurora - July 18, 2008

part cyborg: *snort*!!!
how about just crazy!!!!!


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