After reading fillyjonk's recent post over at Shapely Prose, and all the comments that followed, I realized it's time to say thanks to my wonderful internist.
So here's to you, Dr. Nancy Fuller, for being the kind of doctor who has never slapped the scarlet O on me. To you I am a patient, not an unacceptable number on the scale. I've brought all kinds of health issues to your office, from panic disorder to hot flashes to headaches, and never once have you said or implied that it's All Because I Need to Lose Some Weight.
Thank goodness you are not Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who writes in Time magazine, "Obesity, of course, means a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, hospitalization and early death, so how come doctors are so lax about putting the scarlet O on the chart?"
How come indeed, Dr. Gupta?
Could it be that some doctors look beyond the numbers on the scale to a patient's true health? That they know all too well that putting a patient on a a diet through scare tactics will almost always backfire, winding up with the patient heavier than they already are? That shame is not a good motivator, and neither is fear?
Could it be that some doctors are not as egotistical as you, who seem to to believe that those who are fat don't really know it until it's pointed out by a doctor?
Could it be that some doctors have gone a little deeper into the subject, and know that fat does not always (or even usually) equal bad health? That fat can be fit and healthy, and thin can be unhealthy?
I far prefer my good doctor's approach. She takes time to talk with me, listen to me, guide me toward healthy choices in all ways. When I walk in the door she sees me, not just my measurements. And so I trust her.
And that's the basis of a healthy doctor-patient relationship.
I thank my lucky stars too. My internist looks at my blood pressure values, my lab results, my overall physical exam and my current physical abilities- not some mathematical equation that is routinely debunked (BMI). Occasionally, she might ask if I would want to "do anything" about my weight- which I respond with a resounding no. Once a different internist covered for her when I had pneumonia- which of course is a perfect time to consider calorie restricting diets. He even went as far as to bring up WLS- to which I responded- "Why don't I just go on a 200 calorie diet and cut out the middle man? Does that sound appropriate to recommend to someone trying to fight pneumonia?" He had to admit it was really wrong- on all kinds of levels. I also made sure my regular doctor knew that whole interaction when I saw her the next time- to know what kind of a schmuck was in the practice. Eventually, he "moved on."
Isn't it interesting that Harriet and anonymous and I all three have internists who are fat-friendly, and all three of them are women? I am glad to hear that there are others out there. Mine is a blessing. Since I started going to her I have much more regular health care than I ever did before. I know that she will not suggest that WLS is what I should do for a sty.
Well said, Maya's granny!
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