Thursday, May 4, 2017

What Happens When One Fat Patient Sees A Doctor

On seeking health care for the first time in years.

I am very fat, and on Monday, I will face my first doctor’s appointment in years. I am calm when I make the call to request an appointment with a new doctor. The anxiety sets in with the silence that follows. In the days leading up to the appointment, I hardly sleep. The weekend is tense and anxious. I withdraw from friends, canceling plans, knowing how distant I can be in moments like these. I keep myself busy with long walks, housework, distracting movies, but no matter what I do, I can feel my heart beat in every inch of my body. My skin pulsates with tension, ready to react. Ready to run.

On Sunday night, I lay awake in a sleep mask, my eyes open in forced darkness. A tidal wave of memories crash over me, and I am submerged. The nurse who took my blood pressure four times, frowning, because she couldn’t believe it was healthy. The doctor who prescribed weight loss as after care for an ear infection. The friend whose OBGYN set a weight limit on the patients they would accept — more than 250 pounds, and you would not be granted the privilege of reproductive health. The doctor who wouldn’t touch me.
read more : Keep 'em Short and Sweet

The flush of my face when I say yes, I eat vegetables, and I cook my meals at home. The familiar look of skepticism that follows, often paired with a long sigh. Look, I can’t help you if you’re not going to tell me the truth. The providers who seemed so quickly certain that I didn’t want to be healthy, or was too stupid to know how.
The chilling likelihood that I’d be treated even worse if I’d been sick, or had made so much as one misstep in caring for my own health. If my practices are healthy, they are invalidated by my body. Who could be healthy and look like that? If my practices aren’t healthy, they’re proof of the deservedness of my size. Either way, I need health care. Either way, I don’t get it.

If my practices are healthy, they are invalidated by my body. If my practices aren’t healthy, they’re proof of the deservedness of my size.

The crushing disappointment that so often, the person I’ve trusted with my health believes I can’t be trusted with my own body. The dawning realization that even to professionals, my body reads as a foregone conclusion. The heavy sadness of realizing that if you can’t be heard, can’t be believed, seeking medical attention might be a useless exercise. The feeling of being so big, and still so erased, even in my own health care.
The doctor after doctor who denied even simple tests or exams for nearly every health condition until I lost weight. The prescription for anxiety or depression: Lose weight. Treatment for a hormonal imbalance: Lose weight. Intervention for endless bleeding: Lose weight. The frustration at being told I wasn’t worth caring for until I was thin. Basic health care was a carrot, and these visits were the stick.
baca juga : Cara Mengatasi Anak Susah Makan Sehinggan Nafsu Makan meningkat
The years of fear from not knowing my health. The momentum and pressure of that growing panic and dread. I wanted to know more about my health, wanted to do right by it, but so often, couldn’t get basic answers because of the barrier of my body. The rushing waters that built and swirled, held back by the dam of my skin.
The memory of my grandfather’s diagnosis, and my mother’s anger. Stage four, she cried over the telephone. They could have caught it. Why didn’t he just go to the goddamn doctor?

On Monday afternoon, I am ragged from lack of sleep. I walk into the doctor’s office, voice shaking and legs weak with anticipation. The medical assistant calls me behind the glass, into the depths of the office. She’s kind and outgoing, interested in engaging, and I’m grateful for the distraction. She measures my height: 5'10". She measures my weight. I look away.
In the exam room, she removes two vials of my blood, thick and blackish red, and takes my blood pressure only once. My vitals are, thankfully, taken without comment, just an extension of our upbeat conversation. She asks if I am sexually active, and about the gender of my partners. I say multiple genders, and her face breaks into a smile. “Hey girl!” she beams, holding up an ID tag marked with a rainbow strip.
When she leaves the room, I can feel my heart’s contractions in my chest, but the tight pulsing anxiety that gripped my head has faded. The water still rushes behind this dam of my body.
When the doctor enters, he meets my eyes, smiles warmly, and gets down to business. Smoke? No. Never? One cigarette in high school. Drink? One or two. A day? A week. I’ve never been much of a drinker. Recreational drugs? No, never. He smiles and nods as he notes it on my chart.
“I know,” I say. “I’m boring.”
“There’s another word for that. Healthy.”
He finishes taking my medical history. I answer his questions honestly, ask for the tests I think I need. He never objects, never contradicts, never rolls his eyes or heaves a sigh. He listens, and he might even believe me.

“There’s one more thing we should talk about,” I say, feeling my voice shake. “It’s just about my history with doctors.”
The doctor looks up from the chart, nodding. “I feel like I know what you’re going to say,” he offers. “Go on.”
The dam cracks as I begin to speak, little streams of memory rushing out. I tell him that I’ve only been to emergency care for years now, and I know that’s not helpful. I tell him that I stopped seeing doctors because doctors stopped seeing me. So many wouldn’t touch me, wouldn’t examine me, wouldn’t ask questions, wouldn’t refer to specialists or write prescriptions. Everything, I tell him, led back to the weight loss that years of dieting and disordered eating never delivered.

So many doctors wouldn’t touch me, wouldn’t examine me, wouldn’t ask questions, wouldn’t refer to specialists or write prescriptions.

I tell him I am happy to talk about behaviors, and I mean it. I will talk about practices and food, and I’m not seeking medication or kid gloves. But the answer to nearly every health problem has come without investigation, without curiosity, without anything but seeing the size of me. I tell him that my body casts a long and wide shadow, and that every doctor seems focused on its silhouette, not the body from which that shadow stretches. And if every prescription is to suddenly stop having the body I have always had, I say, that hasn’t happened in the last 20 years.

I tell him about everything I’ve done to manage the health that was so readily ignored by providers. I tracked my food and vitamins in a daily diary; used a nutrition tracker to calculate essential nutrients and amino acids; kept a calendar of exercise, to ensure I was regularly moving; maintained mental health care and kept going to the dentist; prepped meals at home from local produce. I tell him about hiring a personal trainer, and trying every diet I could for nearly a decade. The rushing waters build beneath my skin, turbulent with the force of experiences that have gone unheard for so long.

My body casts a long and wide shadow, and every doctor seems focused on its silhouette, not the body from which that shadow stretches.

I hear my voice crack, strangled, when I tell him that I have tried everything I can since my teen years. In that time, my body did not change. Neither did my health care.
He watches me warmly, attentive and sad while I speak.
“It sounds like your health matters a lot to you,” he offers, his eyes meeting mine.
And suddenly, I burst into tears. All the years of effort, all the machinations to avoid humiliation and erasure, and someone has finally noticed. Later that day, I realize that despite years of trying, no one has ever told me that I care about my health. And I do.
“I’m sorry,” I tell him. “I don’t know why I’m crying.” But we both know why. The dam burst.

In the coming days, I wait for test results, nervous as anyone would be. But my heart beat steadies. The blood calms in my veins. The waters have found their cadence, flowing easy and fast over the wreckage of the dam.
I don’t know what comes next, but at least I know I’ll be heard.

Keep 'em Short and Sweet

I finished God of War 3 awhile back. The game can be best summed up as “God of War 2 in HD”, which is fine with me. To my knowledge, God of War is the only series where you can kill a minotaur by stabbing it in the eye with its own horn, an experience more than worth of the admission.

The only problem with the game is the ending. It’s not that I was expecting Shakespeare, quite the opposite actually. It became clear a few hours in that the developers were writing themselves into a corner that wouldn’t leave them with much to work with once the adventure was over. But this didn’t stop the developers from attempting to shoehorn in some substance and weight during the final moments when (1)it wasn’t really necessary and (2) it didn’t make sense. As a result the ending was overly long and drawn-out.
Read also :  And now for something completely different...
It used to be different. Back in the 8-bit and 16-bit era, endings were mostly afterthoughts. Thrown-together and wholly unsatisfying. Sometimes you got a few lines of text and that’s it. Other times you might see one new sprite or if you were really lucky, some sprite art.

Many complained, but unlike movies and books, you frequently played the ending to video games. After the robot/evil wizard/veggie-hating frog went down, there wasn’t much left to see. Complex interpersonal relationships and political implications were (and are) practically nonexistent.

Game developers recognize this, and just as stories and characters have become more complex, so have the endings. Now the final battle is part of the ending. Now the villain must have dark revelations and surprising plot twists to unfurl before announcing that he’s had “enough talk” and a fight ensues. Then, having discovered the hero is more than a match for him, the villain taunts our determined savior before remarking that he’s grown tired/weary of this petty squabble/quarrel/game (never mind that he’s been aware of the hero’s doings from the beginning when he could’ve squashed him like a bug). Now the fight is REALLY on, as the villain has revealed a spell/attack/mech suit that shows his true strength.

Once it’s all over, the villain gives one final unrepentant/conciliatory speech before breathing his last breath and the hero dusts himself off while consulting/celebrating/reflecting with the sidekick/partner/cheap floosie who was on his side throughout the adventure. Sometimes during the ending there’s an interactive portion that’s supposed to make the player relate to hero’s plight. This is where God of War 3 (remember that?) goes way off track. The player is forced navigate Kratos’ most painful memories in an effort to understand his heart. But it’s a futile exercise. For a “hero”, Kratos is, to put it bluntly, an asshole. He just spent the last ten hours or so beating in the faces and snapping the necks of Olympian gods because he’s still pissed that he accidentally killed his wife and kid while he was in midst of slaughtering thousands of wives and kids. After witnessing (and relishing) the carnage he inflicted, trying to feel an ounce of pity for Kratos is pointless.

Not every game has to become all introspective and deep with its ending. Certainly not one whose appeal revolves around gratuitous violence and nudity. It's better to just get the damn thing over with.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

And now for something completely different...

I know it's been awhile, and after that last riveting entry you're anxious for more, but for some reason I can't come up with much to write. It's not that nothing's going on, it's just that I can't seem to find the words to make it interesting. Therefore, I present a hastily composed list of random items about my life.

1. I've become addicted to sudoku puzzles. In fact, last night I did one when I couldn't fall asleep.

2. I'm actually dating someone right now. I know, I'm surprised too. No, you're not getting anymore details.

3. Since I'm taking 12 hours of graduate courses, I'm naturally behind in all my classes.

4. In the next few weeks I have two exams and two papers due.

5. The picture is of Okami, a game so incredibly awesome I wonder why I even bothered registering for classes this fall.

6. I saw a very, very good movie called Big Eden recently. Definitely check it out if you can handle a little gayness in your films check

7. I tried composing a list of 50 interesting facts about my childhood. I don't think I made past it 20.

8. I haven't been home to visit my family in almost two months despite the fact they only live an hour away.

9. For some reason, I've been tired the last two days and have had to take a nap in the afternoon.

10. The aforementioned naps make me stay awake until 2 in the morning.

11. "Dontcha" by the Pussycat Dolls is my latest guilty pleasure.

12. I've been watching Firefly on DVD. Very good show.

13. I still have no idea what's going on in one of my classes. The professor is pretty much a whackjob.

14. I'm finally below 200 lbs again. I swear I never want to get up there again.

15. I could really go for fried seafood today.

Well that's all I have time for now. Leave me some comments!

Who's the Monkey?

Hey, it's time for another look into the cracked window that is my life.

I saw The Lion King off Broadway last Friday. Despite being almost as far away from the stage as humanly possible, I absolutely loved the show. Impressively ornate costumes hung on the actor's bodies and effectively conveyed which characters they were. I can only imagine the amount of time that the actors put into walking on stilts to similate a giraffe. Those things have to hurt. Equally astounding lighting and visual tricks enhanced each and every scene. Watching Mufasa's image slowly develop in the sky as he spoke to Simba from beyond the grave was especially memorable. And the singing! "They Live in You" and "Shadowlands" immediately found their way on to my iPod after I got home. I'd freaking marry the girl who played Rafiki, who's female in the musical. Her powerful voice just commands your attention whether you'd give it or not. Hearing the soundtrack does not do her justice. You have to experience it live.
read also : Pill me up.

Otherwise, classes continue to tighten their grip on my life while video games try to pull me away. Okami has proven itself surprisingly long and addictive. Every time I think I'm near the end of the journey a new part of the world opens up. And that sprite that rides on top of the wolf is hilarious. Now it's two weeks to Final Fantasy XII and another two until the Nintendo Wii and Zelda: Twilight Princess.

Well, that's it for now. Now I have to get back to page three of this five-page paper. :-(

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Pill me up.

Up until last Monday, I had been on Prozac since December 2005. I resisted the urge to share that bit of information since I'm not sure who exactly is reading this blog. Some people (and I'm definitely not referring to my mother when I write this) seem to think that taking pills to alter your mood is unnatural. These same people (again, I am NOT referring to my mother) will nag you to death about their position on the issue when you'd rather slit your wrists than be forced another second of their half-baked rants. Anyway, one week later I feel inclined to share my experiences during and after having taken the medicine.

Prozac is designed to "even you out". While it definitely did that for me, it also meant that my mood rarely hit any highs or lows. Consequently things that would've had an emotional impact on me before fell a little flat. Dramatic moments in movies weren't very touching. Everything just felt blah. I almost never felt my heart pounding. Meeting new people used to make me really nervous, now I barely cared. This backfired a little. A hopeless procastinator, I frequently relied on fear of failure to push me when a deadline was bearing down. With a heartrate that barely fluctuated, I couldn't tap into that anxious feeling to motivate me. Even so, my life improved. My outlook improved.

About a month ago, I discussed going off the medicine with my counselor. Things were better so I felt it was time to move forward. My last dose was last Sunday. The first week went pretty well. My emotions are back. When I was on Prozac, I could tell people about the saddest elements of my life without batting an eye. I attempted to do the same thing this week and voiced wavered for the first time in months. It's kind of annoying in that I want to be the typical macho, no-feelings American male. On the other hand, being so stoic made me feel like someone else.

Overall, I feel OK. Not particularly negative nor unrealistically optimistic. And that's the idea.