Wow, time flies. July 17, 2008Posted by phledge in black bile, fat, health, medical school, osteopathy, yellow bile.
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?
The scariest thing. June 21, 2008Posted by phledge in black bile, family, fat, health.
I can’t eat.
I admit freely that I eat more when I am stressed out; personally I’m inclined to believe that this is a function of a very perky adrenal output, which biochemically stimulates appetite, but I’m not in the mood to fight for why I am who I am. It could just be that I, in the immortal words of Po the Kung Fu Panda, eat when I’m upset. But this time is different. (more…)
My reliable support system. June 20, 2008Posted by phledge in black bile, family, fat, feminism.
I’m in a tailspin, y’all.
I just confirmed on Wednesday that my husband has been cheating on me, in a manner of speaking. I now know that he has at least engaged in phone sex with a coworker, kissed her, fondled her, and expressed the sense that she understands him in a way I cannot because they are both survivors of sexual abuse. I had my suspicions beginning a few months ago that something was amiss between us, and then a few weeks ago it amplified. Last week I had no doubt that there was a huge problem, and this week I did the footwork to get a clear picture of what has happened. I’ve done some snuffling around the ‘toob for support for infidelity, but I need to tell my story and hopefully someone here can assure me that I’m not crazy. (more…)
The end. June 13, 2008Posted by phledge in black bile, blood, family, fat, feminism, fun, health, medical school, phlegm, yellow bile.
This is a difficult decision for me, but I am certain it is the right one. Effective 1 August 2008 this blog will be sacrificed to the Toob Gods. I’ve discovered that I spend a great deal more time online than I would like, in general, and way more time thinking and worrying and prepping for this blog, specifically. I am definitely available by email (see “Comment Policy/Contact Me”) and would love to hear from my, erm, fans. The blogroll is a good place to start looking if you want to find something else sort of like me that contains some fun ranting and hearty thinking, but I just can’t do it anymore. It hasn’t remotely been what I expected—no fault of anyone’s—and I can’t put the energy into something that isn’t bringing me joy. Peace out, y’all.
Deserving. May 27, 2008Posted by phledge in black bile, fat, feminism, health.
There are two things wrong with the word “deserve.”
First, it perpetuates the culture of entitlement to which we all belong here in the West. The trigger for this post was actually a car commercial, one notable for its lack of bragging about its >30 MPG (which amuses and disgusts me simultaneously, as it’s pretty bogus to suggest that anything below 40 is reasonable)—presumably it doesn’t get good gas mileage. Anyway, in said commercial, a woman slinks by the side of this vehicle—I seem to recall it being a Mercury—and says seductively, “You deserve it.” The implication here is that if you’ve been Good then you deserve to splurge on something that will kill your pocketbook and the oil fields. Forgive me for picking on the car folks; this is not just their flaw but ranges widely across many, many advertisements. “You work so hard and isn’t it a pity that you haven’t given yourself a Coke today? Because, Jesus, you deserve it. Like you deserved that diamond bracelet and that off-road vehicle and that flat-panel TV that’s just like being at the game and that cell phone now with fifty percent more shit you won’t use anyway.” Anyone here old young enough to remember the McDonald’s jingle, “You deserve a break today, at McDonald’s?” It’s like that. So when kids come to their parents and give them a ration of shit because they don’t get everything they want, and they pine, “But maaaaaaaaahm, I did my homework and my laundry and I even ate your horrible casserole! I deserve to go to Brittney’s house!” we know from whence this attitude comes, or at very least is reinforced.
The second beef I have with the concept of deserving is that it skews our perception of how the world really is. How is it that poor kids deserve less attention at Christmastime than rich kids? Oh, wait, they don’t. The rich kids didn’t earn it, and the poor kids did nothing to lose it. Who deserves cancer? Who deserves being raped? We have an inflated sense of vengeance justice and we like to see it served, don’t we? When tragedy strikes (and don’t get me started on how so few “tragedies” today really qualify as such in the classical Greek sense of the term), we cluck to ourselves and think, “Well, maybe that person deserved it.” And we hope that we don’t. But really, there is no turning back either blessings or curses. Much of our lives are driven by sheer luck and showing up.
Of course, in fat hatred we find people justifying their prejudices by insisting that the fatty deserves everything they get, from mockery to malpractice. How comforting it must be to think that the recovered fatty doesn’t deserve these things! Surely this is one of the Fantasies of Being Thin—not ever being sick! In medicine, it’s not uncommon to find caregivers who think that smokers deserve lung cancer and emphysema and, by extension, do not deserve excellent medical attention. (See also alcoholics, IV drug users, drug users in general, unwed mothers, liberals, illegal immigrants, and the homeless.) Oh, if ONLY people wouldn’t drink, smoke, fuck, eat, ride bicycles, drive, get piercings, move, breathe, live—ah, THEN we would not have sick people! Huzzah! A profound achievement in disease management!
Then you’d deserve good medical care.
If deserving is an element of justice, then I think we could all do well with a dose of compassion, which is an element of mercy.
Why I don’t celebrate Mother’s Day. May 11, 2008Posted by phledge in black bile, family, fat, medical school, yellow bile.
If there is one way I believe myself to be a lesser, evil being, it is the way I feel about my mother, who died in 2001. It’s complicated, and contradictory, and changes depending on what I’m doing, but by and large I did not have much patience or respect for her. I live much of my life focused on not becoming her (who doesn’t?) but since this blog has pretty much become my therapy I’ll explain why: (more…)
Bad ice cream, or, being contrary. April 30, 2008Posted by phledge in black bile, fat, fun, medical school, yellow bile.
So, y’all remember the faculty member who asked me why I thought fat people avoided doctors? And how stupid that was? (O, actually, that was a comment I posted over on SP: I have a primary care faculty member who, after dozens of fat-phobic lectures, looked me straight in the face and said, “Why on EARTH would obese people avoid doctors? That’s just stupid.” Sorry.) He gave a lecture today about upper respiratory infections, including stuff like strep throat; for symptomatic control of sore throat he advocated cold things, like drinks and ice cream, “except, maybe not ice cream because of the calories. So, popsicles. Sugar-free ones.” (more…)
Ms Crankypants. April 15, 2008Posted by phledge in black bile, fat, health, medical school, osteopathy, yellow bile.
If I seem a little less than graceful or generous it’s because my campus in deep in the throes of what is being called “Fit For Life Week.” The motivation behind this is misguided at best and fat-phobic regardless. The current president of the American Osteopathic Association, a Dr Peter Ajluni, has taken it upon himself to overcome Teh Obeeeeeesity Crisis!!!!1!eleven! during his tenure which, thankfully, ends in July (the tenure, not the so-called crisis—forsooth, something can’t end if it hasn’t yet begun). His presidential theme is “DOs: Fit For Life” because he thinks that it’s absolutely shameful for osteopathic physicians to not look good. Oh, hell, let him tell the story: (more…)
Confession. April 12, 2008Posted by phledge in black bile, fat.
I bought one of the “Fat Club” t-shirts from Shapely Prose…and I have yet to wear it. I can tell myself that it’s because they drop the f-bomb on the back so it’s not school-proof but what really happens is that I pull out this shirt from my closet and I look at the front and I realize that this is still not what I want. I do not want to be a member of this club. I do not want to announce it to the rest of the world despite the obvious fact that I am, indeed, a member of this club. I feel weird that I have contradictory feelings about my fat; I am neither “fur it nor agin’ it.” Or maybe I am both fur it AND agin’ it. Maybe something will change, maybe it won’t; but the shirt stays in the closet. In other words, I’m not giving it up, but I’m not putting it on yet, either. I thought I was stronger.
Update April 26: I wore it! I wore it to Starbucks and then out to the barn! Woot! Okay, well, it’s not that big a deal, I guess, since only one person in my circle of acquaintances got to see it, and I did have my super-duper long ponytail mostly covering the words on the back, but I’m still surprised that I was simply capable of such a thing. Baby steps.
Whoa, sorry! April 4, 2008Posted by phledge in black bile, fat, medical school.
So two weeks turned into almost a month. Mea maxima culpa. I just got done talking with a psychiatrist who took his PTSD patient off Zyprexa—a drug he called “a miracle cure” for this particular patient—because he “blew up by 50 pounds.” Yup. I’m not sure if this person’s reaction to the weight gain even remotely matched his reaction to the horrible memories that plague him day and night, but I can’t imagine, after listening to this patient’s traumatic experience and resultant psychological suffering, that in the same situation I would choose to discontinue a miracle cure. Also, I would hate the culture that pressed me to be more worried about my weight than my mental health.