I don’t call this behavior a version of “fat-phobia.” In reality, this is yet another example that the obese are the last group that it is still considered socially acceptable to abuse. I’m not discounting the issues that feminism is still fighting, nor the issues that those of color are experiencing, nor the issues of the LGBTQ or those who are disabled are facing.
But, for all of these, we have growing numbers of supporters for those issues. People who won’t ignore those -isms anymore. People who acknowledge that human beings have a right to be treated equally, even if their own point of view disapproves of the chosen group’s behavior or choices.
While there are people who will stand up and choose not to ignore someone being raped, stop someone physically abusing someone else or fight for someone who is disabled (mentally or physically) to receive accommodation, most people still stand there and watch while a fat person is verbally attacked and abused again and again.
Sadly, the medical industry is a cesspool of such behavior.
The writer’s list of grievances against the medical industry (because it is “NOT” just the doctors, but the nurses or PSAs or anyone else who gives medical advice or diagnosis.) includes the very items that support me in confronting such behavior when I am in a medical situation.
I’m told I have “a chip on my shoulder.” I’m told (or had it written in my medical records) that I am supposedly “non-compliant” because I’m willing to confront my doctor(s) with peer-reviewed research to point out issues that they may not be aware of. A perfect example of this was my first report on the cognitive testing. I was told that because I tested as invalid on the MMPI, that I must therefore have somatic symptom disorder. The issue is that as a postdoc, the individual that was in charge of the testing was not aware that patients with chronic pain or fibromyalgia (or both) did not have the experience of dealing with someone with either of those two medical issues. And even when I brought in medical journal articles that supported that information, I was blown off and treated like I was attacking the postdoc’s abilities. This attitude is not supported by the experienced specialist I met with recently.
Doctors and researchers don’t want to admit that a good portion of the non-compliant patients are non-compliant because patients are frustrated that their doctor will not be a partner in the patient’s own health. Too many doctors set themselves up to be “little gods” because that’s how they were taught. Doctors are taught that they must be confident when speaking to a patient, even if (or perhaps especially if) they are not completely 100% sure of their diagnosis. You follow up that thought process with dealing with patients who want their doctor to play parent (tell the patients what to do, rather than working with the patient), and it is no surprise they become like Kipling’s “tin gods.”
It is an issue that needs to be focused on by BOTH the medical industry and patients. Patients MUST learn to self-advocate strongly. I know how hard it is for me to do so, because of my frustration, resentfulness and sheer rage at the industry as a whole. I can’t imagine what it is like for someone who is fat and also conflict-avoidant.
For years, my evolving issues with arthritis and chronic pain were blamed on my weight, by both the medical industry AND by my nearest and dearest. Why? Because the prevailing assumption during most of my lifetime has been that someone is fat because they have no discipline, no self-esteem and no self-will. If I would only “try harder” the pain would go away.
My issues with my reproductive organs were given the exact same treatment.
Now, I’ve had to have a hysterectomy, deal with constant pain, and have been told that my ingestion of supplements has absolutely no effect (even when those same supplements enabled me not only to lose weight and have a higher pain endurance, but also supported controlled blood sugars [at the height of me taking them I had gotten my A1C to 5.7 – not something expected of someone my size or shape]).
I’m still going to self-advocate. I’m still going to challenge my doctors to work WITH me instead of lecture or order me. I’m still not going to put up with being treated as either a child or a mentally disabled individual. And I’m still going to encourage others to stand up to this bullshit.
NO ONE should ever die because the medical industry didn’t do their jobs.