Friday, June 28, 2013

JUNE 28th Compassion & Respect

I'm about to share one of the many MANY events that occurred in my life caused by me being Fat. 

Wait... no. 

Caused by the REACTION of others to me being Fat. It's a personal story, that I haven't told often. You'll soon know why. (If you are offended by a little too much information, please skip this post.)

And I have a reason for sharing... it has to do with a TED Talk I watched yesterday, given by a young doctor named Peter Attia. Here's the link  to the 16 minute video, but I know most are too busy to watch. So in a nutshell, here is my synopsis of it:

Dr Attia is a surgeon. Young, strong, healthy. Called to the ER to check on a diabetic woman who had an infected foot, to decide if she needed an amputation or not. He gave her quality medical care, but now admits that back then he judged her harshly for "being Fat", and basically bringing this on herself. 

Fastforward a few years.This strong, exercising, Food-Pyramid "healthy" eater started gaining weight and discovered he was Insulin Resistant. He finally started questioning everything he had been taught about Diabetes, and realized his lack of compassion and empathy for that diabetic woman and indeed, all those "fat people that just didn't care enough to take care of themselves better" (paraphrasing him).

The end of the TED talk touched my heart. He looked into the camera and said if that woman was somehow watching, would she please forgive him for his attitude towards her. For while he did his best as a physician, he had failed her as one human being to another.

This TED talk triggered a flood of memories for me. I've had my share of run-ins with doctors and so-called Experts over the years. I've tried all my life to get a handle on this weight thing. I've done what They prescribed, yet gained weight. I've gone to "counselors" who, as it turned out, were more messed up than I was. I've paid thousands of dollars over the years, trying this and that... I'm sure many can relate to that.

The event with a doctor that hurt me so badly happened when I was about 22 years old. I was trying to be responsible, so went down to the Free Clinic (I was low income) to get some birth control pills. They wouldn't prescribe them without an exam. You ladies know which exam... THAT one. For you gentlemen... it's where you strip buck nekkid, put on a flimsy paper gown open in the back, lay on your back on the exam table, put your feet up into stirrups, and open your knees apart to expose yourself to a total stranger. Yes.... THAT exam.

Bad enough for most of us, on any given day. But when one is already ashamed of their body, it's beyond humiliating. Got the picture so far??

The nurse had me all set up, then in comes a young male doctor, in a hurry, businesslike. The first time I meet him is in this exposed position. He says little, and starts. As he struggled to get the instrument inside me, he mutters loudly "you're just too damn fat"... and...  "are you sure it even goes in??" referring to my partners anatomy.

I lay there in stunned silence. On the outside, I just froze. On the inside, I was dying of humilation. He left, I got dressed. I left. As I drove home the dam finally burst, and I sobbed all the way home. I couldn't stop. When I got home my partner was alarmed and finally got out of me what had happened. It took all the persuasion I had over him to stop him from going down to the clinic and beating the s*%t out of that man, or worse. And yes, back in those days, that definitely would have happened if I hadn't been able to stop him.

My point?? Even if we think someone "brought this on themselves", they are human beings with feelings, hearts, hopes and dreams. No one wakes up each day thinking "oh boy, today I want to be hugely Fat and in pain, and have people treat me like crap and judge me". 

No... we all deserve to be treated with compassion and respect.

Maybe if I hadn't gone through a lifetime of my own struggles I would be one of those who looked down their nose on the "pathetically weak" people. I dunno. But what I do know is... EVERYONE deserves love, acceptance and forgiveness. Everyone can use some encouragement. Everyone has dreams and hopes and are worthy of our respect. Not for what they "do", but for the fact that they ARE. 

We tell ourselves we are "doing them a favor" by blasting others with what is "wrong" with them. Like a fat person doesn't KNOW they are fat?? Like that doctor was letting me in on some little secret as I lay there in that vulnerable position?? 

Well... everyone has a story. 

It sounds cliche, sure, but we ARE all fighting our own battles. I'm thinking if we tried to remember that, maybe we could muster up a little more compassion and respect for others on this sometimes rocky path we call Life... I'm sure those of us still on this journey to health would appreciate that. Well, for that matter, EVERYbody would. :-)

Enjoy the Journey,

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