In my adult life, doctors, bless them all, have blamed every complaint I’ve ever had on one thing: my fat.
As a child I was round enough but my complaints were viruses or common illnesses that could be vanquished by a quick application of Vicks VapoRub, old socks warmed in the oven and pinned around my neck or chest over the Vicks, chicken soup, poached eggs, aspirin, angel tea, and water. If we happened to be at Grandma’s house when we got sick, it was a mustard plaster, instead of Vicks. You didn’t want to get sick at Grandma’s; she was downright aggressive against those nasty viruses. Grandma was my mom’s mother and she’d always had to be the family doctor. They didn’t have money to pay doctors, so she doctored and nursed the children, the animals, herself, and Grandpa. Mom used many of her mother’s methods before a doctor was called in our house.
If the home remedies didn’t work the doctor was called and a brief powerful antibiotic was usually the order of the day. Because Mom always continued her other usual home remedies we’ll never know if the viruses ran their courses or if the antibiotic worked. I’m still here so both methods could have done something.
In my twenties and early thirties, my income did not allow for doctors and health insurance was barely even a concept, so I had to take care of myself. I’d had three incidences of hepatitis when I was nineteen; my doctor then told me I’d have to take care of myself and stop drinking or face early cirrhosis or liver cancer. I stopped drinking, quit partying and lived my life for work, barely getting by supporting a disabled partner who had no doctor and no diagnosis with which to qualify for disability insurance. My liver function tested well after that so no consequent doctor believed I’d even had hepatitis let alone the story of my exposure at a party. No needles, no “drugs”, I was exposed through a shared wine bottle by a girl who had an active fever and inflammation of hepatitis. She openly bragged about exposing all of us. Get Real Clue: alcohol is the most easily obtainable and share-able, widely accessible, and socially condoned, acceptable drug in common use.
My parents smoked all my growing years and I will not say the second hand smoke is responsible because I smoked from the ages of fifteen to twenty-two, but I had also developed chronic bronchitis. I knew how to deal with that; called for a doctor and requested antibiotic only when I was coughing colors; lung muck should be clear, not yellow or green or brown or red. It was easy for doctors to diagnose when I was coughing up a lung or two.
Once I had some office surgery on an infected ingrown toenail, which the doctor said was because I was fat. I needed antibiotic and pain pills after he cut on my toenail; he told me I was looking at surgery in the future. He never asked about genetics. My grammy had ingrown toenails; she was not fat. Three of my siblings get ingrown toenails, one of them is not fat. My sister, like me, has struggled with weight issues after her pregnancies. My brother, bless his heart, has recently stopped drinking and smoking and has put on a small tummy finally.
More was revealed to me about doctors when I became pregnant at the old age of 38. Welfare stepped in, as I was a poverty level working woman supporting a disabled husband who never had, i.e., we could not afford, a doctor so he never qualified for disability insurance. The [female] “counselor” recommended I terminate the pregnancy because I was old and fat. The [male] obstetrician said large breasted women have a harder time breastfeeding. My delivery obstetrician, (the doctor who tended me through eight and a half months neglected to tell me he was going on vacation when I was due to deliver – like you don’t know an overseas trip is on your calendar) as he was tending to the grape-sized blisters of the allergic reaction to the surgical adhesive placed over my Cesarean incision, blamed the crooked incision he’d cut into me on the “overhang” of my fat belly. I’d given birth the day before. Yes, I had overhang. Now with a hand sized mass of huge watery blisters under it.
I had a great baby nurse who taught me how to breastfeed before I left the hospital. She assured me the only thing that made breastfeeding a little harder was having major surgery to birth my child, nothing to do with the size of your equipment. We were very successful, in spite of the big tits. I never had sore nipples or mastitis; he never drooled and he never had to take a bottle.
Definitions bother me. Dentists are called doctor; they don’t treat your body, only your mouth, but if anything is wrong with your mouth other than your teeth they ask you to see your doctor, as if your teeth have nothing to do with your mouth. If you complain about pain in your mouth the doctor wants you to see a dentist first to make sure it’s not a toothache. Then you owe two people money and do not have an answer for the pain.
I dislike the terms “health care provider” and “primary care provider” because my doctor is neither. I provide my own health care. I am my primary care provider. I manage the wellness of my health, body, and mind. I serve this capacity for my family as well and I call in a medical consultant, doctor, or physician when I cannot solve the illness, or disruption of wellness. Health insurance paid through my job and automatic deduction makes a difference in how I now choose to buy medical consultations.
My health really went downhill after six new placements of silver mercury amalgams in my teeth. I’d gotten a new job with health insurance and wanted to have my teeth mended. I began to experience daily headaches, face pain, fatigue, muscle spasms, and the inside of my mouth top palate would blister and peel cyclically. I began my research. My very gentle dentist assured me several times through several sets of questions the silver mercury amalgams in my mouth were perfectly safe. Research easily reveals mercury to be toxic to the human body. I’ll cover mercury poisoning in another post.
As I consulted doctor after doctor not one of them recorded any of my dental history. Lifetime history of childhood illnesses, duration, extremity, and/or resolution was always cursory. My mention of having had hepatitis when I was nineteen went unrecorded and unacknowledged because of good liver function tests. In every case every symptom was blamed on my fat. Now, yes: fatigue, leg pain, even headaches I can understand to be a result of fat, but why would your fat make your mouth blister and peel?