I have been obese for about 12 years with a couple of years off for good living. I remember watching commercials when I was younger that featured formerly obese people holding up a pair their gigantic jeans. I couldn’t believe anyone could ever get that big. Now, I am that big. Unfortunately, I’ve met many people who are small. All men, though that may be meaningless. Here are my stories four:
1. I am in line at a local grocery store when the man in front of me turns towards me, gawks at me and then chokes out, “What’s it like being Khloe?” He was referring to Khloe Kardashian the supposedly largest woman of that reality tv family. Then he laughed and left.
2. I am boarding a plane on my way home from Winnipeg where friends threw me a really fun 50th birthday. I’d had a great weekend and was in great spirits as I found my seat. The guy I was supposed to sit beside switched seats with someone he was travelling with and ended up on the other side of the aisle. He runs a sport excellence program in Victoria near Elk Lake and the look on his face spoke volumes. Was I imagining it? No. When he told my friend that he was building a green building she immediately tried to get him to talk to me because, besides being obese, I am also a LEED AP and have long been a LEED educator. He wouldn’t even look at me. I said to his travelling companions that it was clear he wasn’t happy with my size and, in short, they agreed.
3. I am in the emergency room of my local hospital some years ago. I don’t remember the reason for the visit but I do remember the doctor coming around the corner of the curtain, stopping, gawking at me and then talking to himself. He looked up and laughed, then bent over and laughed. He shook his head, approached, and the rest was a blur because I couldn’t believe a professional could be so ridiculously unkind.
4. One day last spring, I arrive at work breathless and can barely walk up the stairs to my office. I do get up the stairs but I never make it to my office. I am cold and clammy and collapse into a chair. I have pain in my jaw and don’t understand how it came on so quickly. I am nauseous and confused. My co-workers see me and have no idea what to do. I can’t help much. One finally calls an ambulance and by the time it arrives, some of pressure I had been feeling has been relieved. I go to the hospital anyways. I’m not a doctor and nobody is going to appreciate me playing the hero by refusing care. I am woozy when we get to the emergency room but breathe through it to stay calm and answer questions. The nurses are fantastic, the technicians who come to hook me up to things are great, the dreaded IV goes in without too much discomfort, and my blood is taken quickly. Other than the suspected heart attack, there is no drama. Then the doctor arrives. He looks at me, shakes his head, and briskly asks me a number of questions as I expected he would. I describe what happened, mention jaw and back pain and after checking a number of test results he leaves the cubicle saying over his shoulder, “You should get into shape and not call an ambulance for a back ache.” Apparently, it was a massive muscle spasm that presented similarly to a heart attack. Again, I was struck by the unkindness and lack of professionalism. What was he thinking? Fat people should self-diagnose? That’s idiotic. If you think I should lose weight, feel free to refer me to a nutritionist but maybe tell me I’m not dying first.
Change of the Day: I want to change the callousness of random strangers but this blog isn’t so much about other people as it is about me. And, the only thing I can change is HOW MUCH BACKTALK I’M GOING TO ACCEPT. There. I feel better now.