The Doctor, Part 2

In this episode, Marianne and I continue our discussion of last week on The Doctor. Marianne answers a listener question, we regale y’all with more amusing personal anecdotes, and we also offer some Helpful Tips to healthcare professionals on dealing with fat patients.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Fat-Friendly Health Professionals List

The music used in this episode is by Alo Django.

10 Responses to “The Doctor, Part 2”

  1. Lizalou Says:

    Hi Ladies,
    Just a comment about whether doctors are trained to have a bedside manner… they are, in a sense. My cousin is currently in Med School and was just telling me that they have situational evaluations regarding how they deal with informing patients that are, for example, terminally ill. I don’t know if they are trained to be all accepting, though. I think that has something to do with the personality of the person who is the doctor. I have had good experiences and bad. I am currently training my new doctor and she is coming along nicely.

  2. janO Says:

    I love, love, love your podcast. Its great to have YOUR lovely voices encouraging me to feel good about myself (and to get on with my life) to counteract all the other voices in my head 🙂 Please make thousands and thousands of shows. Quickly.

  3. janO Says:

    Oh, and here’s a story that goes very well with your topic:

  4. Leah Says:

    I’ve never had a pelvic without a second person there. Usually they are doing something like warming up the speculum and handing the other instruments to the doctor, but it’s typical.

    Then the debriefing after is with just the doctor.

    For full context to the anecdote, my doctor is a woman and I’m not fat.

  5. Danielle Says:

    I love the Fatcast, but this episode was a little upsetting – I guess the whole pelvic exam thing was kind of triggering. I was glad to hear that the whole ‘feeling icky after one’ wasn’t just me (even though I felt icky x 100000 and cried after both)

    Another thing that was a little frustrating is that, well, I’m not in a position to dump my current doctor and switch to another one. I live in a tiny village with one of everything (doctor, supermarket, bakery, hairdresser, etc) and because of my chronic illness I can’t drive. Getting another doctor outside of town is a luxury I can’t have; I frequently need to see them and be able to see them fast, as well as pick up my medication every three/four weeks. And I doubt I’m the only person who’s in a situation where they just don’t have the option of going to another GP.

    I know my luck’ll change – once I move to the big city I’ll have a lot more freedom of choice. But in the mean time, it didn’t seem like the Fatcast paid a lot of attention to those less privileged in the ways of choosing your own doctor. Not that I believe there is any fat-positive doctor in my country at all, but at least trying to find one is better than not being able to choose at all. (And when I do find one in my country I’ll be sure to have them added to the listing.)

    But other than all that, I LOVE the Fatcast.

  6. Quill Says:

    Hello! I love your podcast but I’m just catching up on episodes now. You may have addressed this point in one I haven’t heard yet, but regarding someone else in the room during a pelvic exam–I’m betting it’s not just for the patient. Having a witness, as it were, can also protect the doctor from false charges of molestation, which could apply across all gender lines.

    I expect instances of such, both actual molestation and people lying about it, are pretty rare, but one frivolous lawsuit could end a doctor’s career. Having another person there may even be a malpractice insurance requirement. That doesn’t mean one can’t request privacy, of course!

  7. Molly Says:

    Hey, y’all! Been catching up on the podcast (and mostly loving it), but I wanted to drop a note and say that there was a point in this episode where I actually had to turn it off…and not come back to the podcast for a couple of weeks. The continued amusement and laughter about the need to have another person in the room during pelvic exams was pretty offensive to me. While I have never had an abusive experience at the doctor, MANY women have. If I did not live in a big city and have health care which afforded me the choice of seeing a female practitioner, I would very much need to have that second person (female) there during a pelvic. Given the statistics on the number of women who have had experience with some kind of sexual abuse in their lives, having a second person present at these exams is not a laughing matter. It’s the thing that makes them feel comfortable enough to risk going to the doctor at all. It’s the thing that allows them to take care of their health. I was shocked to hear you both laughing about it, because you are generally some of the most aware folks on the ‘net, who I feel I can always rely on to keep in mind the complexities of experiences other than your own. So, this is just a little check in, to let you know that for me? That part was a big fail.

    All that said, I think it would be immensely helpful to have a podcast, or tip-sheet, on a fat patient bill of rights. I know that’s something I’d like to be able to give to health care providers.

  8. Lesley Says:

    Hi Molly! Thanks for your comment. In our hilarity, it probably wasn’t clear that we do understand the general reason for the pelvic chaperone. If I were seeing a new doctor, I would absolutely be glad to have that second person present (weirdly, for me they only started appearing after I’d been seeing my doc for years), but I would still find it hilarious, because their occupation there really is just to serve as an audience.

    It’s just my weird sense of humor, I guess.

  9. Molly Says:

    And, Lesley, this is why I <3 the both of you. You are open to hearing feedback, and you hear it calmly and non-defensively. That's such a rare and beautiful thing. 🙂

  10. Deborah Says:

    Thank you so much for these podcasts! I’ve had one experience with a doctor that I have happily “broken up” with. I needed to go in for a procedure to have some cells in my cervix frozen off and she was called in to do the procedure (she wasn’t my regular doctor). For some horrible reason they could only use a speculum that was designed for women who have already given birth, which I haven’t. So while she was rather harshly trying to shove the speculum inside of me, my mom who was holding my hand during the procedure asked her if she could be more gentle as I was starting to cry with the pain. She told my mom that I was being uncooperative. At this point, I demanded that she stop and decided not to have the procedure done. She would not leave the room while I was getting dressed to go, and as I was walking out the door she then announced to me that the speculum didn’t fit because I must have a “fat vagina”.
    Flash forward to my next regular girlie exam. My regular doctor had left the clinic and I had asked to see whoever was open for a female exam. I was really surprised when Miss “You must have a fat vagina” walked into the room. Even though I didn’t like her I went ahead with the exam. Big mistake. I’m pretty sure that she remembered me and she lectured me on my weight for an abnormally long time. We also had a detailed conversation about how I have a latex allergy and couldn’t have latex gloves used in my exam. I laid down before I saw her put on the exam gloves. She was rough with me and when I left the exam room I noticed that there were the white latex gloves rather than the blue non-latex gloves in garbage. I was cramping and bleeding for several weeks afterwards. Needless to say, I haven’t gone back to that clinic since. I know that I should have filed a complaint but felt too violated at the time to do anything about it. I’m really glad that your podcast has covered this issue….because it is really nice to hear someone else say that being treated this way is not ok. Thank you!

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