Medical Prejudice Against Fat Women

Today I went to the Dr. and I realized for the first time how different I was being treated, and believe it is due to my current state of obesity.  In the past two years I’ve gained 30 lbs, mostly in my belly.  Since thyroid cancer I am heavy and tired and look the part of a frump. 

My husband went to the exact same walk-in day before.  He had same symptoms as I, completely drained of energy, weak, struggling to sleep and breathe.  I gave him the bug he was being evaluated for.  He’s 6’3”, a solid assuming sort.  With identical symptoms he returned home without ever having been given a chest x-ray, without the doctor hearing anything in his chest, no sign of the infection in his ears or face with the antibiotics needed to feel better within a few hours.  The inhaler, and another breathing aid. 

Next day hardly able to walk about the house, canceling my appointments as I couldn’t keep my eyes open and breathing shallow, Ted decided to take me to the doctor.  When I got there, they could see in a walking test that my breathing went down to 94.  The Dr. suggested an X-ray to my chest which I hesitated to have done as I have been through two cancers already and thought if we could do without another dose of radiation, I’d appreciate it. 

I left with a suggestion to return in a week if things don’t improve.  Its been 3 weeks already with two relapses.  I realized on way home that I was not taken seriously.  I’m think it’s because of my giant belly.  The fat on my body due to thyroid issues.  I walk 20 to 30 miles a week, and still have 30 lbs extra weight as my missing thyroid has messed with my life.  The prejudice was the first I’d felt in years. 

The last time I felt dismissed for being me was during a time we were building our house.  Hanging out at paint stores, places where trusses are designed, bolts are purchased, siding is ordered, a man’s world at that time had little space for a woman who was doing 90% of the buying for a housebuilding project.  Guys daily cut in front of me, the guy at the desk would look past me and ask to help the guy behind me.  When I finally got to the desk, I’d be ignored when asking for a part and was given what they thought I needed, only to have me hand back the part and ask once again for the correct part they said didn’t exist, only for them to find it and ring it up indignantly. 

I don’t like the feeling of prejudice.  To be a female in some places is uncomfortable.  To be a fat woman is almost unbearable.  Portly men, they are thought to be powerful and strong.  Not women.  I hope to shed this weight once I figure out how to be healthy without my thyroid, but I’m glad I’ve had a chance at experiencing what it’s like to be minimized and disrespected inside a body that won’t cooperate.  I don’t want to ever forget for the sake of others who are stuck in a body they can’t alter.

There was zero reason today why I was not treated and my husband was.  There is zero reason to take one person more seriously than another.  Except for prejudice.  It’s time to ask, when do I take others less seriously for no good reason?  I’m sure I do.  Growing curve, teach me more.  I want to be kinder and more respectful. 

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