Thursday, January 15, 2015

When You're Fat

I have a problem with the way my teeth align that braces couldn't fix. Years ago, my orthodontist told me that the only thing I could do was to get my jaw broken and re-set. It took me a while... maybe a decade... to gather the courage to finally gird myself enough for a consultation with a doctor who could do this procedure. I made my appointment and went in on my lunch break. I sat waiting for him to come in when I heard behind me, "Michael! What happened?"

He came into my field of vision, a concerned look on his face. I had never seen this guy before and had no idea what he was talking about.

"With what?" I asked.

"How's you get so big?!?"

At this point in my life, I was maybe 50 pounds overweight and, of course, self-conscious about it. Not sure how to answer I paused before questioning, "I like to eat?"

The orthodontist would have told me more about how I needed to change my eating habits except that, after a few minutes, his nurse interrupted us, telling him that he had a phone call from a former student. He excused himself to take the call as twenty more minutes clocked from my lunch hour.

Suffice it to say, I never went back to get the procedure done and my jaw has yet to be broken.

More flaws in my matrix come from the other end of my body. Both of my big toes have gotten ingrown nails over the years. I've gotten these worked on repeatedly over the last two decades. Each time, I've had both of them done at once and have seen different doctors. The last time, in 2013, the doctor I saw only decided to do one of them, even though both hurt. I nursed the other one along for over a year until I couldn't take the pain any more.

Before the podiatrist even looked at my feet he asked me, "When are we going to talk about your weight?"

I wanted to say, "I'd prefer not to." But, at seven o'clock in the morning, this unexpected question took me by surprise.

He started quizzing me about my eating habits and told me that he had a book to recommend to me. He asked if I already had diabetes and/or joint problems and promised me that I would soon unless I took steps to lose weight. After five minutes of interrogation, he finally started working on the toe. After numbing it up, he left the room, returning shortly with a list of several diet books and some additional handwritten recommendations. Surely this wasn't his first time presenting this list to his patients (and surely it wouldn't be his last).

Whether you're a dentist or a podiatrist, apparently you've got the right... or maybe it's a duty... to counsel (and belittle) any fat fuck who comes into your office.