Archive for January, 2011




I am very busy tonight with things of a chore-like nature (cooking, doing dishes, laundry) and thus have no real post. However, I did finally get offered the full-time position that I’ve been working at on a temporary basis, which I am THRILLED about. Huzzah! Hip hip hooray! And all that jazz. ;D


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On Doctors

Still feeling quite icky.

I slept in very late this morning, and I think it threw me off, because I'm also very sleepy.

So yesterday, when I mentioned going to the doctor, I also mentioned, in parentheses, that I am leery of other doctors. And I figured, since I can’t remember if I made a “real” post about that before, I would make one today. My feelings on doctors and medicine in general, especially as a fat woman in modern culture.

Firstly, many (if not most) of you are aware that my father is a doctor. A very good doctor, in fact. He’s got the fancy job name of “pediatric intensivist”, which translates to “very important guy who works in the hospital with very sick children”. This means he is not a “family doctor” with a practice and a waiting room. He’s one of the doctors you hope you’ll never have to talk to, but are very grateful for when you have a really sick kid. He’s very good with kids, and exceedingly gentle. He can intubate a newborn (which is really, REALLY hard). I am quite proud of his profession and general speak glowingly about it, if you hadn’t noticed.

However, like most doctors, my dad has a few flaws. He has often had trouble keeping emotional distance from his patients, which means he gets very frustrated when a child gets sicker or dies under his care (even though 99% of the time he couldn’t have possibly done anything to prevent it). He also has a bit of the intellectual superiority thing going on, which is understandable because he is a very smart guy, but can be frustrating when you attempt to engage him in conversation about something he is absolutely certain of (like, oh, perhaps, Fat Acceptance).

Still, my dad is a good man and a good doctor, and he’s helped a lot of kids in his time, and intends to help many more before he retires. That is something I’m proud of, and I tend to hold him up as a standard against which I measure any other doctors I meet. Sadly, most of them fail.

The sad truth about doctors is that while there are some good ones out there, there are also a lot of bad ones. Like any other profession, there are those who excel, and those who barely made the cut. And trust me, you don’t really want the guy who made Cs in every subject in medical school to be your doctor. Sadly, because of the dearth of qualified people who want to go into that profession (mostly because malpractice insurance is freaking ridiculous now that everyone has become litigation-happy), they’ve pretty much got to take anyone who isn’t utterly hopeless with a stethescope. Of course, any doctor who wants to have any sort of specialization (surgery, gynocology, ENT, etc) has to have additional schooling, and often even more schooling after that (my dad spent, I believe, 4 extra years after medical school doing his residency). That means that the majority of the GOOD doctors end up being the ones you turn to when you’re really sick. It also means that the majority of the bad ones end up as “general practitioners”, colloquially “family doctors”.

Now, it’s fair to say that I have a much better knowledge of how the medical world works than the average able-bodied person (people with terminal illnesses or handicaps are exposed to it enough that many of them know more than me). This, unfortunately, means that I am more leery of doctors in general than the average person. Add into that the factor of my weight, and my anxiety, and you have a recipe for disaster.

You don’t really need to look very far to find stories of mistreatment of fat people (especially fat women) by the medical community as a whole. First, Do No Harm is a blog that exists specifically to gather these stories via submission, and share them with the internet. There are some absolutely horrible things on that site, including diseases that went un-treated for so long that they created chronic problems or even led to death, simply because doctors were unable and unwilling to look beyond the patient’s weight to find the real problem. There are horrendous stories of doctors bullying fat patients, verbally abusing them, and even sometimes physically abusing them (the second story on the page is a good example of this, where a pregnant woman actually had a doctor push so hard on her during an ultrasound that he split her skin). Most fat people have their own stories of medical neglect or bullying, and many of us thusly have very little interest in going to doctors, or hospitals, unless we feel in real danger for our health (being unable to breathe, perhaps, or having a stabbing pain that makes it nearly impossible to function). Many of us (and I won’t pretend I haven’t done this) will ignore minor issues, hoping they go away, in favor of avoiding the doctor rather than being forced to listen to another lecture about how “everything will go away if you just lose weight, including your broken ankle, sudden mysterious back pain, and any other symptom that suddenly cropped up yesterday and has never been an issue in all your life as a fat person before”.

When we find a doctor who doesn’t treat us this way, who acts like we’re a real human being with thoughts and feelings and viable opinions on what is causing our pain/discomfort, we cling to them for dear life. We fear the day they retire, or move, or we move, because the odds of finding another one are so incredibly low. I adore my doctor, as she’s only made vague reference to my weight once or twice (she has tested me for diabetes more often than necessary, but otherwise she never tries to talk to me about exercise or weight loss, as so many doctors have over the course of my life), and is generally willing and eager to listen to what I feel and think about whatever issues I may be seeing her for. And she always greets me with a smile, which some doctors don’t deem necessary at all. Hello, if I am already scared and anxious that you won’t treat me like a real human being, it wouldn’t kill you to smile and say “hey how are you?” when you walk in the door! I understand that being a doctor is stressful, but there are lots of other stressful jobs that pay a LOT less where people manage it (waitress immediately springs to mind), so I think you can fucking muster some human sympathy too, jackass.

My doctor’s office does not have a digital scale. It has one of the old fashioned “weight balance” scales, and it only goes up to 350 lbs. Since I am over that, if the nurse attempts to weigh me, I simply tell them it’s not possible because I weigh more than the scale goes up to, and they shrug and move on. NEVER has it been an issue. Not once has anyone said “well we really need your weight, can you please try?” They either mark me down as 350 for the sake of writing something down, or they move on to taking my blood pressure.

Yeah, I am afraid of what will happen when I move away from here, as I intend to do in a few years. I will hate to lose her as my doctor, and I will likely go a few months without one rather than attempt to find one who treats me like a person. And yet no one seems to think there could be a correlation between “fat people have poor health” and “doctors treat fat people like shit”. If you had to fight to be treated like a fucking human being, how often would you go to the doctor? It’s all well and good to talk about “preventative maintenance” and an entirely different thing to have to face up to what is, for some people, absolutely crushing fear and anxiety of being belittled based on a number on the scale/how they look.

The truth is, I’m really fucking lucky that my dad is a doctor. Both he and my mother are extremely vocal about medical advocacy as a result of it, and neither of them will take any shit concerning their health from asshole doctors because of it. I learned that from them, and I’m not afraid to stand up for myself if I think a doctor is being an asshole to me for no good reason. That doesn’t negate the fact that it’s normal for me to want to avoid putting myself in a situation where I might encounter that, as it would make me very angry and stressed, which aren’t going to help my health either. Being able to stand up for oneself and wanting it to be necessary are two completely different things. Sure, if I go to someone and they’re a dick, I’m going to defend myself. But it shouldn’t be necessary for me to. It shouldn’t be necessary for any person, regardless of why the doctor is being a dick to them. It should never be necessary to tell the person who you are going to for the purpose of being healed, that they should treat you like a goddamn human being.

And that’s all I have to say about doctors. Thank you.

P.S. Completely unrelated, but a very good link so I am putting it here because I’ll probably forget it tomorrow: How to Care for Introverts.

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Stupid bugs!

This is an unhappy face!

So I was supposed to go down to Lexington to meet the guyfriend this morning. My body, however, had different plans. Last night I started having really bad stabbing pains in my lower back, in the kidney area. There was also nausea and dizziness, and overall it was a rough night.

When I finally dragged myself out of bed this morning, things had not gotten better. I ended up going to my doctor’s office (blessedly she was there and not another doctor, I really like my doctor and am leery of others) and she told me there was a stomach bug going around. I had had some other *ahem* intestinal problems, but I had thought it was because I’d eaten Mexican food several nights in a row. XD Nope! Just a stupid bug. Probably got it at work. That is the worst part about working in a large building. Everyone spreads everything around.

I had originally thought it might be a UTI, so they tested my urine. My doctor told me she hoped it was, as that was easy to treat, but when she came back from testing it, she told me my urine was, sadly, “beautiful”. XD This is why I like her so much.

Anyway, needless to say, I didn’t go down to Lexington. I have been feeling gross and stomach crampy all day, and besides, I don’t want to give him my virus. A fine way to treat the person I’m dating!

Mostly I’ve been sitting and playing video games all day. I am pretty useless when I’m sick. XD

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A thought-provoking thing, apparently.

A few years ago, as my biological clock began ticking in earnest, I started thinking about children.

Now, don’t mistake me. This doesn’t mean I changed my mind about having them, or am still on the fence. I am pretty firmly in the child-free camp, and this entry is not a “change of heart” entry or anything like that. It is, however, an entry about what I imagined children of mine would possibly be like.

I think every woman, and a good deal of men, have had thoughts about potential children at least once or twice in their lives. Even if it was with a sinking sense of dread at the possibility, or a way to convince themselves further that it would be a bad idea, the thought was still there. And I’m no different.

I decided, a few years back, what names I would use for my children. Margaret is the name I would give any female child of mine, because that is my best friend’s name and she is the non-family person who is most important to me. I also like that it means “pearl” (keeping in the same nautical theme as my name) and that it’s easy to make nick-names from (I’ve always loved the nickname her mother calls her by, but I dunno if she is okay with me posting it, so I won’t). I’m still 90% sure that I want to use Nicole as the middle name for this potential girl. Originally that was because I had another friend in high school named that, but now I think I just like how “Margaret Nicole” sounds (and I have a different Nicole friend now, and she is also worthy of being a namesake).

For a boy, I would have a hard time not using my older brother’s names. Dylan and Gregory are both good, honest names. I despise the recent trend of naming children “unusual” (i.e. incredibly stupid) things. I also despise the stealing of names from cultures that one is not from (okay, it’s great that that word means “strong” in Swahili, but YOU ARE NOT AFRICAN). So there will be no Ashlynnesleigh in my family, thank you very much. It would be slightly weird to use both my brother’s names for the same child, however, so I would likely choose one and give them a different middle name (perhaps John or Nathaniel) so that they could be differentiated at family gatherings. I can never abbreviate Dylan, however, because I always want to say “pickle” after “Dyl”. XD

My mother’s name is nice, but it would be strange to call anyone by it because she’s always been “Mama” to me. Same with my father. I have no affection for my grandparents or their names, although my surrogate grandmother would definitely be in the running as a namesake, both because I like her name and because she is worthy of it.

Part of me would like to have a daughter, if only because I’ve always felt the mother-daughter connection is a special one. Of course, with my luck, I’d screw her up badly and she’d end up hating me, and I’d really rather not take my chances.

I don’t think I could stand a boy unless he was really, really quiet. XD Rambunctious girl children are bad, but rambunctious boy children tend to be more destructive in general, and I like my things and have no inclination to have them destroyed (which is a large part of why I’m not going to have kids in the first place, along with the “not screwing them up” thing). Plus, I have a harder time relating to men, despite having two older brothers. I didn’t have male friends growing up, and I’m just now dating a guy seriously for the first time, and sometimes they really are kind of a mystery to me (no more than I am to them, I’m sure). Women are easier for me to deal with. I can relate to them a bit more. It’s all mental, and I know in practice I would love a boy as much as a girl, but I’d want a girl nonetheless.

I don’t imagine an actual living child for all this, really. The thought of a real child, a real baby, is so anathema to my existence that I don’t want to imagine it. Based on my genetics I could extrapolate what a child of mine might look like (assuming the father isn’t insanely different from me in every way), but I don’t want to do that either.

What will most likely happen is that, down the line, I will name characters, designs, songs, or other works of art after the people who are special to me. I have a small and sadly underdeveloped interest in fashion design that I hope to explore further someday, and I think the idea of naming outfits after people is kind of cute. XD Names are important, at least in my humble opinion. I think it would be neat to name humans after people I love, but since I don’t really want to put the time, energy, and money into raising said humans, things it will have to be.

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This is what I look like when I make a high-pitched "eee" noise at something.

This is my "freaky serial killer" look.

Oh my gosh guys. I am having so much fun with my life right now. For serious. There are so many new things happening and people and jobs and projects and holy crap it is amazing. SERIOUSLY AMAZING.

As always, however, having a life FULL OF THINGS means I have very little time for this here blog. XD

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Hello thar, caterpillar-brows! XD

Just under the wire. ;D I was a bit distracted earlier. This whole dating/having a life thing is hard, I tell ya! Not that I’m complaining.

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Ice cream

Enjoying my after-dinner treat.


I adore ice cream. Not just ice cream, but just about any frozen treat. Milkshakes, sorbet, sherbet, italian ice, frozen custard, frozen yogurt, gelato, and so on. ;D I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth (although I like salty stuff too), but if it’s sweet AND cold, I’m in heaven. ❤

And that’s all I have to say for tonight. ;D

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Continuous happy!

Holy crap teeth! XD

I am still really damn happy. Like, to the point where I’m kind of afraid of my bubble being burst in a bad way. But whatever! I will enjoy it while I can.

So in lieu of a real post, here are some really good links for you to check out!

Post-Con Musings on Gender – A good, plain post about respecting people’s wishes to be called what they want, as well as their self-identity. It really is as simple as that, guys!

Do you use Boy Words or Girl Words? Or the other words, but I can’t ‘amember them. – If a three year old can understand that gender isn’t always binary, then fuck yes adults can. And should.

Athletic Body Diversity Reference for Artists – A really cool post about a collection of pictures of Olympic athletes of all kinds, and how extremely different their bodies are shaped. Really worth looking at.

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A Sunday Evening

I has a happy.

And a silly, apparently!

I have had a lovely weekend, and I can only hope that this week proves to be equally awesome. ❤ There were many friends, some family, some warm fuzzies, and overall just a feeling of happiness and contentment. Right now I’m spending the last of my weekend playing Dragon Age and basking in my happiness. I will try to have a post sometime this week.

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Honey and Wine

My performance today was lovely. I was slightly more nervous than normal because it’s the first time I’ve performed in forever, but since it was just a little community thing I didn’t put a huge amount of weight on it, so I wasn’t horrifically nervous (as I would be for, say, an audition). In fact, I was slightly embarrassed after because it was largely piano students performing (like, kids ranging from 8 to 12) so I was obviously outshining everyone else, but thankfully no one seemed to resent me.

Several people thanked me or told me what a lovely voice I had after the fact. As I mentioned, it’s been so long since I performed that I forgot how warm and fuzzy it feels to have people tell you they enjoy your efforts. As I was driving home, I had a thought and remembered something I had once said in an old blog post on my private blog.

I believe it was sometime around my senior recital, when I was pondering the difference between compliments I got from people in my family/random strangers and the ones I got from my voice teacher. At the time I talked about how much better it was to get a compliment from someone who knows the technical work that goes into singing, but I don’t feel that way anymore.

Compliments from people who don’t know about singing are like honey. Simple, sweet, and enjoyable, mixing well with my own feelings about my performance. By contrast, compliments from those who are also singers or musicians, who understand the work that has gone into your performance, are like wine. Subtle, complex, and just as enjoyable, but in a different way.

Today I got a lot of honey compliments and one wine compliment. One mother stopped to ask me if I was fluent in German (Cincinnati is a very heavily German area). I admitted that I wasn’t, but hoped to be someday, and she told me that my pronunciation of my German piece had been very good, ever word clearly understandable despite the fact that I was singing. And that was a very nice compliment, to me, from someone who knew the language.

Neither type of compliment is inherently superior. I enjoyed the honey compliments just as much as the wine compliment, although they don’t always stick in my mind as well because they aren’t as specific. But if I only sang for people who knew the technical process of singing and general musicianship, I would have a very small audience. Even if someone doesn’t know how the sound is produced, how many hours a week I practice, or how well I know the words I’m singing, if they enjoy my performance, that’s enough. That’s what I’m doing this for, after all. I want to spread my love of music this way. And honey or wine, all compliments are welcome. Just don’t give me too many, or they’ll go straight to my head.

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