I am Une Femme d'Un Certain Age (woman of a certain age, it just sounds better in French, everything does). What does this mean? Well, it means I can walk down Michigan Avenue in Chicago in November in shirtsleeves and be really happy. It means that I carry a fan AND a spritz bottle in my purse (much to the dismay of my daughters). It means that every calorie I consume likes to stay with me and every calorie I burn (and dammit, with this 'internal summer' I have there should be SOME burning) doesn't seem to have any impact.
Such a joy, let me tell you.
So, recently the lovely spousal unit and I went to Washington D.C. (yeah, cuz that's where a woman who runs hot belongs in July). We walked 8-9 miles/day, ate really healthfully (they have some great and healthy restaurants in D.C. like Sweetgreen sweetgreen.com/ and Protein Bar http://www.theproteinbar.com/ with very few snacks or unhealthy food (okay, there were a couple of iced mochas consumed, but it was frigging DC in frigging July!)
ANYWAY, I thought, "Well, even though weight loss is not the reason for the trip and I never want to obsess about it (I have two daughters, I try to be sane about that kind of thing) there's NO WAY I won't have lost weight from this trip." Apparently, "NO WAY" does not mean what I think it means, because not one pound had left me (I guess it's so faithful to me that it will never leave, but honestly, my feelings would not be hurt if some poundage and I parted ways).
Before my trip I had seen my doctor and talked to her about the extreme fatigue I had been feeling, probably due to perimenopause, but I wanted to check. She also said that I'd feel better if I dropped about 20 pounds, which I agreed with in theory, at the rate of about 1 pound a week.
So, when we got back, I e-mailed my doctor and said, "Oh lovely, young slender Dr. X, here's what happened on my trip. How the heck am I going to lose weight?" She said she could give me a referral to a nutritionist, but that she and I could also discuss surgical options. SURGICAL OPTIONS!??!?!?!? Are we talking lap band surgery? What the Heck?!?!?! Even discounting my lovely lying friends aside who say, "Oh you look fine." my DOCTOR friends all said, "Um, you are not badly overweight. You would NEVER be a candidate for that kind of surgery. It's shocking she would even suggest it."
So, am I being punished, mistreated (not as in 'beaten' but as in getting bad medical treatment) because my doctor is in her 30's and seems to be naturally slender?
If this were an isolated incident, I wouldn't be writing this blog (venting, yes, venting is also an apt word) but it's not. So let me tell you about the other incidents (interestingly enough, these are all at the same large medical entity).
About two years ago I went in because my knee hurt a LOT and it made what I call 'crunchy granola' noises when I squatted down and then stood up again. I went to the orthopedist and he did his thing (x-rays, manipulation, etc.) and said that I should exercise 1. 5 hours 2-3 times a week. I said, "Low impact? Swimming?" "Nope", he said, "anything" REALLY? Cuz you know, my knee really hurts (I didn't say that, hence the lack of quote marks). His assistant asked why I didn't exercise and I said, "Because I'm a slug." and she said, "Well, at least you admit it." Wow, nice bedside manner. I did go on to inform her that I am LITERALLY (and I ALWAYS use that word correctly) allergic to exercise, having exercise-induced anaphylaxis, and no, you DON'T want it, believe me, it is not nice having an 'excuse' not to exercise.
I did take the Rx for Physical Therapy, I did NOT take the advice to do aerobic, high impact exercise 2-3 times a week. When I talked to my PT, he said that was HORRIBLE advice and would definitely do more harm than good.
So, was it because my doctor was very fit? Was I running (well walking) into fat bias? Probably. I was being treated based on who HE was and his judgement, not MY reality.
But the most invasive (and I mean INVASIVE) episode happened a few years ago. While leaving out details, my urologist felt there was some irregularity in my urine. He said given my age, I should get images of my bladder interior. When Ismayil (lovely spousal unit) and I showed up at Stanford (which was NOT the entity that had made the initial diagnosis) the doctor who was to do the imaging said, "Why in the world did they send you in for this?" and I said, "My doctor said given my age, I should get checked." THIS doctor (who was probably about 60) looked at 45 year old me and said, "You're a baby, you're not at higher risk for this cancer at all." But, of course, since the 'C' word had been dropped and I was already there, we went ahead with the imaging. Given the 'path' that needed to be taken, not only was it uncomfortable, I told the doctor that after that he owed me flowers and dinner! :-)
Yes, everything was all clear (and the images once he got in the bladder were REALLY cool, the ultrasound engineer husband was fascinated) and the test was unnecessary. So, my medical treatment was based on the fact that my mid-30's doctor saw mid-40's me as old.
Am I venting just to vent? No (although venting is fun). The medical industry needs to realize that this is going on and address it, because it adds up to bad medicine. Do I think that MY posting about it and my 39 regular subscribers reading about it will make a difference? Well, as one of my heroes, Pete Seeger said, “The world will be solved by millions of small things." So, if nothing else, it's a start (and hey, maybe by next week I'll have *40* subscribers!)