(In case you missed part 1, Shell went to the doctor’s office for a non-over-the-counter-cream , but they didn’t want to give it to her without a lecture about her weight).
The resident stutters, “You don’t need to use that language. I can pull up your records here.” He turns to the computer.
I am shocked. “Too late,” I fume. You should have done that before you came in ready to lecture. My thyroid test is normal. My blood sugar is perfect. My cholesterol is 128, my heart is pumping like a pro. I am here because of a specific problem. MY SKIN ITCHES AND I NEED THE CREAM YOU HAVE THE POWER TO PRESCRIBE! Just write the script and talk about my sad denial of my weight with your supervisor.”
He doesn’t understand why I won’t just nod and agree with him. He argues, “I am only trying to help you – while your tests may be normal now, that is not an indicator of the future. This rash is a warning sign. Your body is not supposed to be this size. Why are you so angry?”
I don’t care about being embarrassed or other patients hearing me. I don’t worry about what will be put in my file. I screech, “Did you hear anything I said? I think you did. I think you can’t stand for me to be fine with my stretched skin, my hanging breasts, my round ass. The thought that I may actually be fat and HEALTHY is beyond you. I am here for a rash that triathletes get, that pregnant women get, that men get, that is common – skin friction sometimes causes a rash. Yes, I have it because I am fat, but that does not mean that in order to get the medicine I need to treat it I have to be subjected to the fat is bad, get off your ass and fast diatribe. Just give me the cream.”
The resident drops his head in defeat. “Fine” he mutters. “I have to run the case by the attending and get the script.”
Alone in the room, I look down and see the all too familiar crinkled paper gown gathered around my waist. It looks like a shield, protecting my smooth extended beauty. I am tired. And I itch. I really just want to go home, take an Aveeno bath and read a good book while the cream calms my polka dot pouch. But, I am not allowed the luxury. The conversation has drained me, and reminded me that I am marked wherever I go – my fat announces my presence in every situation. Not for its beauty and power and subversive strong stubbornness; rather for its assumed weakness, lack of knowledge or control, and its need to be exorcised, through me.
The resident returns, with reinforcement – “Hello, I am Dr. Powerasshole, I hear you want some cream for a rash of some sort and are quite adamant that your weight did not cause the rash. Actually, weight is a predictor of…..”
I interrupt, “I never said my fat didn’t cause the rash, I just asked to be heard, have my chart read and get a prescription for some relief.”
Dr. Powerasshole replies, “Yes, of course, we just want to make sure you know about the risks of diabetes,,,,,bla…blaa…bla…”
I tune him out, realize my position in all this, evident by my lack of clothes, their button up shirts and ties, the sterility of the room and their gazing down at me. I sit and nod for the next 20 minutes, my fingers ripping holes in the paper that protects me. And I walk out with my little prescription prize. I got it because I became a good patient, feigning interest and enthusiasm at the mention of “eating healthy” and losing weight.
Stopping at reception with my sign out sheet, the fat woman behind the counter leans in and says, “Dr. (Powerasshole) has referred you to the weight management program. What day is good for you to do your preliminary tests?”
I smile and say, “Actually, I don’t need to schedule that. They already have the tests and I am not going to enter the program. I just said I would to get my prescription”
She laughs at my honesty and says “good call, I have been in the program for four months and I’ve lost twenty pounds. And gained depression, anxiety disorder and an overwhelming desire to kick Dr. (Powerasshole) in his fat ass (she said that one too).”
Shell Feijo is a fat mama writer with a day job. She has been published in Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class, Motherverse Magazine, Hip Mama Magazine, and a journal for the Association of Research on Mothering. Shell has guest blogged for Kris Carr (Fat Vegan), and is finishing up a collection of her own, Pigs Are People Too: Experiences of a Fat Woman in America, forthcoming 2013. You can find her on Facebook, often obsessing about her next tattoo.