Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Idiot Doctors and the Patients who Apologize to Them

Last night I was having trouble falling asleep despite being totally exhausted. As I was tossing and turning and cracking fingers and toes to the background noise of Aaron's sleepy admonishments I realized I was clenching my teeth. Really, really hard. My jaw was immovable. Because I was thinking about this maxi skirt I saw at the grocery store yesterday afternoon. She was in front of me in line. So, so skinny. So skinny so skinny so skinny. She was buying french bread.

A couple of weeks ago I had an introductory appointment with yet ANOTHER primary care doctor, my third in about six months. I have not been having luck with primary care doctors. I was more nervous for this appointment than was reasonable. Sweaty palms, the whole nine. But in I went! Hi! I'm Maria! My stomach hurts sometimes. Will you give me my prescription?

He was a strange little dude, pretty old, and with lots of snide, meant-to-be-witty comments about his 'battle-ax' wife. (I'm never sure how to take those.) But he listened to me. For a whole hour, he sat there entranced by my medical history, making lots of notes, lots of sympathetic little noises, predicting symptoms before I told him about them, etc. I was encouraged. This dude lived and died for my colon!

When we got to the gall bladder part of my family medical history (seriously, the Fishers are a circus, starring Mom, hi Mom, love you) he said ohhhhhh, the gallllll bladderrrrrr. Just like that, very romantically. He said "well, doctors refer to the "F's" of gall bladder disease risk: Forty, female, family, and fat."

Then he said, "and you've got three out of the four, so." (Disappointed clicky sound of mouth.)

I literally had to bring out my fingers to count. "...but I'm not forty?" I reminded him.

He said, "Yep, that's the fourth one."


A few months ago, I went to see a nutritionist named Brina. She is just many kinds of wonderful and her office smells like lilacs, which should be a rule for medical professionals. She used all kinds of contraptions on me. A scale, and then several small metal instruments that pinched and measured me in several questionable areas, leaving behind awkward red marks looking like an angry father had dragged me by the arm to the car, but I forgave them for the job they had to do.

After her measurements she gave me the gist: my BMI is 19. That means I have 19% body fat. The "normal range" is 18 - 25 for women. Above 25 is overweight. Under 18 is underweight. She was very proud of me, judging by her tone. Immediately I tunnel-visioned the number 18, feeling chastised and a little embarrassed to be above it, but Aaron was there so he offered a quick reality check. Then she told me that I was in the 90th percentile for muscle mass for women my height. (But I don't want to be Serena Williams, my mind said. Then: Aaron's face. Exhale.)

I told this to the doctor. "My nutritionist says I'm right where I should be, maybe could stand to gain a little more." He did that really horrible little shrug thing people do, where they lift up their shoulders just slightly and lean their head to the side, eyebrows raised, non-verbally saying "sorry, don't know what to tell you!"

But he did know what to tell me, and here's what he said: "Well, if you can pinch it, it really shouldn't be there."

1. Have you ever met a female human before?
2. Can I please see the medical journal from which you are surely referencing that brilliant diagnosis?
3. Do you do a lot of pinching?
4. Is there a medical term for "girl got some extra cushion, if ya know what I mean"
5. .........(this is me walking out the door)

1. Oh, I'm sorry.


Honestly, I should be the subject of a medical study, regarding the psychological effects on the human confidence by white coated primary care doctors. I am not shy and I am not meek. I have a hard enough time in real life apologizing for things I SHOULD apologize for. But when I get in a room, with a licensed professional who presumably knows more than me, about important things, I am a wide-eyed doe. A frightened, guilty little girl. Who knows nothing and has ruined everything and feels really sorry for it.

It's been about a month now and while I'm still apparently clenching my teeth, and frantically trying to fit at least one vegetable into every single meal I can think of (a worthy cause, but neurotic nonetheless) I have come to terms with the ridiculousness of this strange, little man. I am still going to keep him on file as my primary care doctor for now because I DO NOT HAVE THE ENERGY TO TRY AGAIN. But he is an idiot, and I can say that with confidence now. Telling me I was fat was borderline malpractice, and just because he is a doctor doesn't mean he knows what he's talking about.

So for now please raise a can of Diet Sunkist with me, and let's eat a big dinner, and let's NOT do tai chi "with at least 3 or 4 friends to create a good energy;" in other words let's bask in our absolute refusal to abide by any of his recommendations. SODA FOR DAYS, GARY.


  1. Dude. That doctor can eat runny donkey shit, straight up.

    Also, you have a lower BMI than I do. I can grab a biiiiiig ol' pinch of my breasts, butt and the "gentle swell" of my belly. I really want to punch your doctor in the testicles and tell him "PINCH THIS, ASSFACE."

    Also, also, BMI is totally, totally, totally worthless. As is that doctor. Not on the worthless scale is you.

    MAN. I'm angry. I also just found a tick crawling across my foot. Gross.

    Additionally, I managed to lock myself out of my gmail account and can't sign in. Sigh.


    1. I love you.

      Not ticks, though. Not ticks.