Anyone who has read anything I have written regarding doctors appointments, knows my loathing of their condescending attitude. To be made to feel stupid or inferior just because you’re either unwell or hurting is just cruel. As a life long fatty, my distrust of all things medical is mostly because of whatever the problem is, it can be cured by loosing weight, and often I have had to fight for treatment. I therefore had got to the stage of not going to the doctor unless I really needed to and then, I will put it off as long as possible. All this was until I found the doctor I use now, who takes the time to listen, and because of her I have had my tonsils out, and she is looking for cause rather than excuse about my anemia – something I have had problems with for over 30 years!
D has never had a strong constitution, and in his short life time has probably had more doses of antibiotics than I have had in my long one! He has suffered terribly with his chest, and at one point they put him on an inhaler, which just resulted in him being rushed to hospital as he could barely get his breath! A couple of years back, the GP referred him to the hospital to see if there was an underlying problem that was causing all of this, but the consultant just passed him off as a fat kid, and refered him to the dietitian. He still gets the chest infections, but touching wood firmly, they haven’t been so bad this winter.
Having grown up being bullied because of my size, it brings me to tears just thinking of D having to go through what I went through and the mental scar that does effect your whole outlook on life. I therefore get very up set when he is called names, or people look at him as if he is some how less, just because he is big. Now, I am not saying he doesn’t like his food, because he most certainly does, and as a result, we do monitor what we put in front of him. If he has sweets, we give him sugar-free, if possible, and then he doesn’t feel left out. I have always had low-fat everything, so it is just something that is the norm in this household, fat-free yoghurt, 1% milk, it’s just what the kids have grown up with. I love to bake as you know, but I experiment with recipes, and adjust them so as to use sugar substitute rather than the real thing if at all possible. Again, its meaning the kids are getting treats, but they aren’t downing a load of sugar and fat they don’t need.
When we had the letter through for D’s 6 monthly check up with the school doctor, my heart sank, as I knew she would focus on his weight. At his last appointment with her, she mentioned it, but was more concerned with his mobility problems, and as a result of her referrals he had the operation on his knees, and had his appointment with O/T. I did however just know that this time, there was none of that to go through and so there was only one thing left to focus on.
I had to pick D up early from school to get to the appointment, and of course I hadn’t taken a spare shirt for him, and he was black – mud and paint all over him! I managed to get his face clean with wipes I keep in the car but the rest was just how a 7-year-old looks when he comes out of school! I had timed it perfectly but the doctor was running almost half an hour late, and so D was getting restless. He did his reading homework, and then starting getting irritable, but luckily we were then called in.
She talked through all that had happened to him since we last met, and then asked how the healthy eating was going! I went though what he does and doesn’t eat while she looked at me with a patronising smirk. I said we were waiting to hear about the Eat Well, Live Well scheme the local hospital run as we had been referred to it. She then started on about how active he was – by this time, he had explored every inch of the room, and was starting to open drawers and cupboards. I said that this was normal behaviour as sitting still was really difficult for him, so even when he was inactive, he was still on the go. I explained about the hour plus he spends on the trampoline every night. By this stage, she was beginning to lose the look and actually started to listen. She asked about the dietician we had previously encountered, and was quite shocked when I said we were accused of falsifying his food diary, and that if they were true we should not be feeding him! Her whole attitude seemed to change at this point, and she started asking questions about family history. My Mum and my Uncle have thyroid problems and are diabetic respectively. She asked about my weight – I saw red for a moment, but continued calmly. I explained that because of my weight, it was the last thing I had wanted for my son to suffer the way I had as I was fat from a very young age, as he has been. She then shocked me by saying that it sounds as if it might be genetic! What? A medical professional admitting that not all fat people can help it and it is just one of those things! In my head, I was punching the air. At last, someone was looking at the broader picture and not just making assumptions. She did say that if his genes meant he was prone to carrying extra weight, it would mean looking at his diet and see if certain things effected him more than others and when we see the nutritionist, she will go through how to move forward on this. I was elated that at last we were being taken seriously. Ok, this revelation isn’t going to stop the bullies, but it means we can help him more. I am now looking forward to seeing the nutritionist as no longer is the assumption being his only problem is he eats too much.
In the mean time, we will continue to eat as healthily as possible and hope we can move forward in a positive way.