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,



M Pax said...

I hate going to doctors anyway. Judgment makes it all the worse.

And I don't think most people bring it on themselves. Even if they do, so what? They're still people, still worth attention and respect.

The Brown Recluse (TBR) said...

I'm sorry you endured that. You should have let your partner go punch him once for all of us. Uh-huh, I said it, and I meant it, and I'll ask God for forgive me for it later.

Losing Shorty said...

This brought tears to my eyes! I am so sorry you had to go through that. I have had some hurtful things said to me about my weight (by family especially) like I could magically fix it! However, that Doctor is not human as you say. xo

Anonymous said...

I`m afraid i dont believe that everyone deserves compassion and respect. I`t up to you to find it, and show love to those that help you!

Retta said...

I agree with you, Mary. I think we make a lot of mistakes, yes, but so much is just not "our fault", in that sense. We don't blame a baby for getting sick, or an adult for being attacked by a nutjob... or a jillion other examples, which includes adults. But yeah... my main point you got... about treating people right. :-)

Retta said...

You gave me my first belly laugh of they day, BR!

Retta said...

Thanks, LInda. As bad as it is to get it from strangers, I think family comments can cut even deeper, since we feel like they are supposed to "be on our side". I'm sorry you experienced that with your family.

Retta said...

You know, Choppy, I actually thought of your point as I wrote this post.
About the horrendous acts committed by truly evil people in the world... but being a blog, the nature of the beast is brevity. I guess I tried to cover it by mentioning the difference between what we DO and who we ARE... and I believe we are children of God, and have intrinsic value for that reason, and have potential to do good. But some choose to do bad... and I would agree that respect for DEEDS is an earned thing. I kinda think you and I are closer in what we think, than we are different, Choppy. :-)

MargieAnne said...

Thanks for telling the whole story. I was in tears listening to Dr, Peter Attia and in tears again reading your words.

Compassion is a strange thing. It's possible to feel some compassion even for the worst person when you consider the possible path that took them on their cruel and evil way.

At the same time we should feel angry when someone is subjected to cruelty. It's a dichotomy which has to be worked on every day and sometimes one has to dig deep and it can take a long time to find compassion.

Compassion is willing to forgive but it also respects justice. To not confuse compassion and forgiveness with the need for discipline is a difficult line to walk.

I know .... I had murder in my heart for one perpetrator. It doesn't matter to me now and I hope he found healing and restoration somewhere along the way. In the same way I hope that young doctor came to a place where he understood the need for compassion. Otherwise he would have made a lousy doctor.

And yesterday's post about your pool was truly inspirational... What a great place you have this summer and the hottest weather still to come.

On that note I must end this comment and get out into the sun and do some weeding while we have sunshine.


Retta said...

Hi MargieAnne,
It seems like it's taken me a lifetime to learn to distinguish between what a person DOES and who they ARE, as a human. A human with a story, a history, stuff that happened to help mold them into the person they are now. Yeah... I totally agree with you about forgiveness, justice, and struggling to have compassion for those that hurt others. Agree with everything you wrote!

I hadn't thought about it, but now I wonder how that young doctor turned out. He was barely older than I was back then, so he would almost ready to retire now. Hmm... I'd like to think that Life softened his attitude and he turned out to be a caring doctor. Sometimes WE have to be kicked around a bit, to learn how it feels, and then we can offer compassion to others.

Enjoy your sunshine!

Unknown said...

Hi Loretta! That was pretty mean of that doctor. Women are quite vulnerable feeling about themselves up on the table like that. But, we aren't going to fix the un-compassionate people, and can only deal with ourselves. We can only fix how we view them and us. I hope that we view themselves as spirits within a body. How we look is not our spirit. I learned that at my father's wake, where the body did not look much like him without his spirit there. So I remember that. Our bodies are vessels for our spirit.

:-) Marion

The Brown Recluse (TBR) said...

Hey Choppy T...there are days that I sure don't feel like showing respect to certain folks, much less show them any kind of love. But then I remind myself that I don't have to answer for anyone else's actions, only my own. It's a hard choice at times (and I don't always make the right one) to be nice to someone who's not being nice to you.

That being said, I don't think we should be doormats to anyone, either.

The Brown Recluse (TBR) said...

PS Loretta...I wanted to say those pics of you in the previous post and as cute as can look like you must be the sweetest lady on the block!

Retta said...

"Our bodies are vessels for our spirit."
That IS a good way to remember it. Thanks, Marion.

Retta said...

haha, BR, don't ask my Husband about that on my cranky days!

debby said...

LOVED seeing your pool fixed up and how much you are enjoying it. With this heat wave we are having down here, I wish I had one! Its too hot most days to drive down to the pool.

And this one about compassion. I couldn't agree with you more Loretta. And especially what you said in one of the comments about each person having some intrinsic value.

Retta said...

Hi Debby! You need to put in a little pool near that pretty garden area... ha ha, I just had visions of Noah deciding it was HIS pool to cool off in. :-D

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