Culture, health, and fat

I went to the doctor’s on Thursday morning for my pre-op physical. (The biopsy I have scheduled for February is apparently done under general anesthesia. It seems that even under semi-conscious sedation, human beings react poorly to having a vast array of equipment stuffed down the throat. General it is. The actual procedure, I am assured, will take under fifteen minutes. Ah, well.)

Now, I am a fat person. You look at me and I register as fat. Yet, weird throat thing aside, I am generally a healthy fat person. (Low thyroid, chronic sinus infections, other trivialities. Generally healthy.) Yet, every time I go for medical care I feel a pressure to PROVE that I am not killing myself slowly with SHEER FATNESS.

I’m not saying this pressure comes from my R.N., specifically, or her staff. It’s just a vast all-encompassing cultural THING. Fatness equals diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

Except, well, when it’s totally correlative and not causative, dammit.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I got my papers updated. You know, the Healthy Fat Person Papers, the tests that prove in language doctors understand that I am NOT pre-diabetic, I do NOT have metabolic syndrome, I do NOT have high cholesterol. I had the tests done, and the results came back, and, yep. I don’t have any of those conditions. Thyroid, iron, fasting glucose, HDL/LDL — ALL FINE.

I’m vindicated.

Except for that awful feeling of being a collaborator in the system, for being complicit, for playing by the cultural rules that require me to justify my body to strangers. I know, I understand, that my accepting of this system is contributing to the notion that there are Good fat people and Bad fat people. I understand that I am judging and policing other fat people, however unintentionally, by my participation. I fight against this. I try to consciously avoid this sort of thinking.

And yet.

And yet, there I am, at the doctor’s, eagerly pointing out that My Numbers Are Good! I am a Good Fat Person!

Ugh.

Just, ugh.

If there’s a way out of this cultural quagmire, I haven’t found it yet.

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One Response

  1. Aargh, yes. Yes!

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