I’ve already shared my “aha” moment with you all, so you’re already familiar with the “Epic Aha,” and how it happened at the doctor’s office. With a person who didn’t know me, or my story—a person who made rash assumptions about me, just by looking at me.
I’m not going to lie: While this experience ultimately drove me to radically change my life, it also did a number on my self-esteem. I mean, think about it. How would you feel if someone whose job is to be supportive, compassionate, and sympathetic, acted like you were a disgusting piece of crap? I’m sorry to say it, but I wasn’t one of those fat girls who didn’t care what people thought. I was really, really good at acting like I didn’t give a crap about what anybody thought, but I’ve always been fairly sensitive deep down. Especially in situations like that. You go around all day thinking that everybody is judging you because you’re fat, that nobody will love you because you’re fat, that you’re ugly because you’re fat, that you’re worthless because you’re fat; it only compounds those self-loathing feelings when they’re essentially confirmed by your doctor.
Needless to say, I’ve avoided the doctor for almost two years. Mostly because the thought of seeing her made me ill and angry. Beyond angry. Filled with rage!
Unfortunately, though, this week I had to go back.
Part of me was relieved and part of me was disappointed when I found out that the doctor I saw last time would be on vacation. (Although I’m mostly filled with rage and have avoided the doctor’s office, a very large part of me wanted her to see me now just so I could wave my middle finger in her face.)
So I went, and I waited, and my name was called.
The experience was initially different because they had just switched into a brand-new building. It wasn’t shoddy and low-rent like the last building, and it definitely didn’t feel like a frickin’ homeless shelter anymore. It now looked and felt like an actual doctor’s office, despite the construction guys still running around and installing wall-mounts for TVs and stuff.
First things first, the nurse brought me to a little alcove, stocked, of course, with a scale. I had a feeling it was coming.
“Go ahead and step up on the scale,” she told me, surprisingly, kindly.
I didn’t even protest like I normally do.
“Do I need to take off my shoes or anything?” My only regret was that I was wearing jeans and had just eaten a yogurt, and was downing water like there was no tomorrow. Anyone who’s gone through Weight Watchers knows how this will affect your weight. Every weigh-in Thursday, I wear the SAME über-lightweight dress, with or without NYLONS (because leggings are too heavy), take off my shoes, wear no jewelry, and don’t do so much as take a sip of water until I go on that scale. I also learned that the scales will register breathing, so a nice breath out will do just perfectly.
I got none of that the other day, but it’s okay. Even after all that, I still weighed a whole helluva lot less than I did last time.
I wasn’t even going to say anything.
I stepped on the scale, and she recorded the number, and she had me take a seat. I waited, and she stared at her computer screen for a second, before turning back to me and saying, “Have you lost a lot of weight recently?”
“Because it says here, you came in at [insert big number here] pounds back in 2010.”
“Did you have bariatric surgery, or did you do it by yourself?”
I was kind of surprised at the question, but in retrospect, I really shouldn’t have been. Surgery was something I had thought about multiple times, and it seemed like the “easy” way out (although bariatric surgery isn’t easy, either), but it had never been offered to me, and I doubted my insurance would cover it.
“Um…all by myself.”
“Well good for you!”
Ha! I almost laughed. It’s true. I guess it’s pretty good for me. Although I’m not sure what I expected. For her to broadcast it through the entire building? To have a little parade in my honor? Oh, hey there everyone! This chick lost like 80 pounds! Woo-hoo!
She then took my temperature and my blood pressure. For the first time in a LONG time, the response to the blood pressure was, “That’s very, very good.” HOLLA! (I never had really high blood pressure, but it was never “very, very good,” either…it was usually chocked up to stress.)
And then…she showed me to the exam room.
I was pretty nervous.
And I waited.
And the motion-sensor lights turned off a few times.
And then in walked the doctor.
…she was awesome.
What. A. Change.
Not only was this woman way more personable and much closer to my age, but she knew EXACTLY what I had been through; come to find out, she is currently doing Weight Watchers herself, and she’s even lost 70#. I was floored. I could not believe how this panned out.
We also had a nice chat about my last brush with that office, and she was stunned that anybody treated me the way they did, but understood when I told her who I saw.
Perhaps preemptively, I asked if she would be willing to be my new doctor.
She said yes.
I’m not really sure what the point is in me writing about this, but I thought that it should be shared. I spent MONTHS…okay YEARS…being just pissed off about this one horrible excuse for a human being that it made me afraid of ever going back to the doctor, even when I needed care. Obviously, I’m glad now that I returned, because I was able to connect with someone who understands me infinitely better than the last person I saw.
But more importantly, she didn’t make me feel like crap about myself. Because that’s not what a doctor is supposed to do.
So, I guess, if there’s anyone out there who has been in a similar situation, or has had a bad experience at the doctor—don’t let that stop you from going. See someone else. Try to connect with someone else. Maybe you can get your Epic Aha in a much kinder way.