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Old 03-06-2009, 05:56 PM   #1
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Default Frustrated about my gynecology appointment today

So I went to my annual gynecology appointment at a local Planned Parenthood and one of the FIRST things that she says when she says is "We need to talk about something that you aren't going to be happy about". Take a wild guess what it was about? My weight, of course. I don't have any problems whatsoever "down there" and never have. I feel like I do all of the right things. I make sure that I have a pap smear once a year and I get tested before and after a relationship. I practice safe sex. Why does my weight need to be the first and biggest topic of the appointment? I also found it frustrating that the woman that gave me the exam is obese herself so I found her lecture to be very hypocritical. She's taller than I am and by looking at her I would guess that she weighs close to what I do. The most insulting part of it all is that she went on to tell me how I could lose weight, as if I'm not smart enough to figure that one out. It honestly makes me hesitate going to those appointments if I'm going to be lectured each and every time. I guess I'm upset more than anything because I didn't stick up for myself. I just sort of said "mmhmm" and "ok". Has anybody else had this problem and if so, how did you handle it?
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Old 03-06-2009, 06:02 PM   #2
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mhmm and okay is usually the way I handle it,too.I find it nearly impossible to argue with the doctor without screaming.I've heard it so much I just ignore them now.
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Old 03-06-2009, 06:27 PM   #3
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mhmm and okay is usually the way I handle it,too.I find it nearly impossible to argue with the doctor without screaming.I've heard it so much I just ignore them now.
Yeah, well she burned the inside of my thigh because she didn't realize she had the light up against it until I told her it was burning. Just think what she would have done if I had gotten her all riled up! Those appointments are uncomfortable enough as it is!
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Old 03-06-2009, 09:42 PM   #4
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Sounds like a great Dr. Can I have her number?
I'm aggravated just hearing your story and it didn't even happen to me. I guess I get that way because it has happened to me...time and time again.
And, many times, just like others I have just sat there and "mmm hmmm" and "ok"'d them to death. Meanwhile inside I was seething and filled with rage and I just wanted to scream and lecture them right back. But would that change anything? Probably not. So I'm usually quiet. Although sometimes I do say something, but we all have to pick our battles. I just get so sick of battling all the time.
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:37 AM   #5
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Yeah, heard "the talk" a couple times myself . It seems that according to generally accepted medical knowledge, if you're fat it's gonna kill you, so they have to lecture you on that, like you don't hear that everywhere else, right? In any case, having been to a few doctors, I find it's easier to let them have their say if it's a one-time visit. However, if I'm establishing with a new primary care physician, I preemptively inform them (not apologize for, discuss, admit to, etc.) that I know I am fat, I am not dieting nor will I listen to diet talk, and that I don't believe obesity is the cause for all medical problems. I'm blunt and declarative. If the PCP isn't a fit, I'll try another doctor. That's how I handle it.
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Old 03-07-2009, 11:19 AM   #6
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Yeah, well she burned the inside of my thigh because she didn't realize she had the light up against it until I told her it was burning. Just think what she would have done if I had gotten her all riled up! Those appointments are uncomfortable enough as it is!
That is the truth.I'm so sorry that happened to you.I hate going to the doctor for any reason but gyno is the worst.Nothing I like better than heaving my fat self on a table,spread eagle.

Then get the lecture that everything that's wrong with you is because you're fat.I hate going to the doctor.
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:06 PM   #7
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Yeah, heard "the talk" a couple times myself . It seems that according to generally accepted medical knowledge, if you're fat it's gonna kill you, so they have to lecture you on that, like you don't hear that everywhere else, right? In any case, having been to a few doctors, I find it's easier to let them have their say if it's a one-time visit. However, if I'm establishing with a new primary care physician, I preemptively inform them (not apologize for, discuss, admit to, etc.) that I know I am fat, I am not dieting nor will I listen to diet talk, and that I don't believe obesity is the cause for all medical problems. I'm blunt and declarative. If the PCP isn't a fit, I'll try another doctor. That's how I handle it.
Whenever possible, I try to do this. Actually, I "interview" them before going in for a first appointment or make it clear when I first get there that I know I'm fat and I do what I can to stay healthy but dieting isn't part of my plan. If it's a gynecologist, you should be clothed for your initial meeting with them, which makes it way easier than when you meet them for the first time in an ill-fitting paper gown.

The only time I didn't had much success was with the infertility specialist. When I first interviewed with the PA, and she was very understanding but I didn't meet the doc until the first insemination where she lectured me on losing weight and trying to guilt me into it "for my baby". Thank goodness for friends [waves at Rainy] I could call sobbing on the way home about that experience. Unfortunately, this doc was one of the few in the area that took my insurance at the time, and the others were much further away and male. I figured I'd tolerate it for a handful of visits if it resulted in a child. [It didn't.]

Anyway... point of this rambling... remember that, while they're the experts on their branch of medicine, you're the expert on your body and you're also a consumer. You get to choose if this is a doctor you want to continue seeing or not.
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:30 PM   #8
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So I went to my annual gynecology appointment at a local Planned Parenthood and one of the FIRST things that she says when she says is "We need to talk about something that you aren't going to be happy about". Take a wild guess what it was about? My weight, of course. I don't have any problems whatsoever "down there" and never have. I feel like I do all of the right things. I make sure that I have a pap smear once a year and I get tested before and after a relationship. I practice safe sex. Why does my weight need to be the first and biggest topic of the appointment? I also found it frustrating that the woman that gave me the exam is obese herself so I found her lecture to be very hypocritical. She's taller than I am and by looking at her I would guess that she weighs close to what I do. The most insulting part of it all is that she went on to tell me how I could lose weight, as if I'm not smart enough to figure that one out. It honestly makes me hesitate going to those appointments if I'm going to be lectured each and every time. I guess I'm upset more than anything because I didn't stick up for myself. I just sort of said "mmhmm" and "ok". Has anybody else had this problem and if so, how did you handle it?
I'm sorry you had to hear "The Lecture" especially since it was from another fat person. I've had to go thru that before numerous times and I have no problems arguing with doctors and pointing out the bullshit.

I once went to a clinic for a sore throat and a painful cough. The doctor I had was just a downright rude fuckwad. He tells me if I wasn't so fat I wouldn't get sick and then goes on to say "Well look, here's what you do. Instead of eating two loaves of bread, only eat one. Instead of eating two dozen eggs, just eat one dozen. Half a pound of bacon is better than one pound. You seem smart enough to understand that." Meaning I didn't sound ghetto so I must be intelligent. I had never been spoken to like that before and it made me so mad I started screaming at him. His intern rushed him out of the room and tried to calm me down by apologizing on his behalf but then tried to also justify his behavior by telling me I just had to watch what I ate, which made me even more mad. I was so mad I stormed out of the examination room and made a huge scene at the front desk demanding my money back and asking to speak to the head administrator who came out and apologized again for the fuckwad doctor, but then repeated that he was only trying to tell me I needed to watch what I ate, and that I shouldn't be screaming at the hard working doctors. I was just livid.

I didn't want to go back to that clinic, but at the time I didn't have insurance and it was so close to my apartment that I had to go back. I found out that doctor got fired later. I guess he was just a jerk to all his patients. I'm glad I said something even if it didn't make me feel all that much better. I don't think I have it in me to keep my mouth shut.

My last GYN tried to give me the lecture - after the examination - of course it started an argument and I haven't been back since. I'm over due for a GYN exam, but I decided next time to take the time to go thru the interview process before picking a new one cause it will save me the aggravation. I know if you're at a clinic you don't have much choice of doctors, but if you say your weight is not up for discussion before the exam even begins it might save you the trouble. I really wish I had done that before my last GYN exam.

I also really wish that healthcare professionals really understood that their attitudes can sometimes prevent fat people from seeking medical care. Would the rates for so called obesity related diseases be lower if we were more willing to seek out preventative care?
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:25 PM   #9
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I also really wish that healthcare professionals really understood that their attitudes can sometimes prevent fat people from seeking medical care. Would the rates for so called obesity related diseases be lower if we were more willing to seek out preventative care?
My jaw dropped when I read your story! It made me angry just hearing about it! The point you made above is exactly what I wish I had said to her. My primary care physician is excellent and has never brought up my weight as an issue. It's actually funny because I've heard more about my weight from gynecologists than from any other doctor!
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:31 PM   #10
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Whenever possible, I try to do this. Actually, I "interview" them before going in for a first appointment or make it clear when I first get there that I know I'm fat and I do what I can to stay healthy but dieting isn't part of my plan. If it's a gynecologist, you should be clothed for your initial meeting with them, which makes it way easier than when you meet them for the first time in an ill-fitting paper gown.

The only time I didn't had much success was with the infertility specialist. When I first interviewed with the PA, and she was very understanding but I didn't meet the doc until the first insemination where she lectured me on losing weight and trying to guilt me into it "for my baby". Thank goodness for friends [waves at Rainy] I could call sobbing on the way home about that experience. Unfortunately, this doc was one of the few in the area that took my insurance at the time, and the others were much further away and male. I figured I'd tolerate it for a handful of visits if it resulted in a child. [It didn't.]

Anyway... point of this rambling... remember that, while they're the experts on their branch of medicine, you're the expert on your body and you're also a consumer. You get to choose if this is a doctor you want to continue seeing or not.
I'm sorry that you had that horrible experience! That's really good advise. I think I'll do that before my next annual exam. I might also ask around to see if anybody has a gynecologist that they really like.

Talk about ill-fitting gowns, my paper gown ripped right down the front when I put it on!
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:14 AM   #11
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Those paper gowns certainly don't help any to boost self esteem and confidence during the gyno exam, that's for sure. For a while there, I would request two paper gowns, wore one on the front, other on the back, but I still may as well have been naked. I finally bought a cloth gown that I take to those exams where I have to strip down - dignity restored!
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:33 AM   #12
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My jaw dropped when I read your story! It made me angry just hearing about it! The point you made above is exactly what I wish I had said to her. My primary care physician is excellent and has never brought up my weight as an issue. It's actually funny because I've heard more about my weight from gynecologists than from any other doctor!
My pcp is great too. If I come to her all spazzed out about some thing I think is weight related she'll tell me to calm down and after talking about it she always says "Pfffft, you're fine, quit worrying"

I think medical professionals need a special class in medical school about how to give care to fat patients and just how to have a better bedside manner in general.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:02 PM   #13
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I whole heartedly agree Olwen!
Usually when one of my doctors go into "the speech" I cut in and give em a "yeah yeah yeah.. I've heard it all before.. let's not and say you did". Usually I get back an ok from them after that. lol on top of a smirk.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:37 PM   #14
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What is WITH Planned Parenthood? The worst gyno experience of my life was at one.

This was my experience:

I decided to go to Planned Parenthood because they offered sliding-scale rates and discount birth control. Also, I figured they'd be used to women of size.

I get there, and they have a bench in the waiting room - so far, so good. When the nurse takes me back, she didn't flinch when I told her the scale wasn't going to work. She had a large cuff ready to go.

Then, she showed me back to an exam room and gave me the instructions.

I disrobed, then went to climb up on the table - and the "step" at the bottom of the table would not pull out. It was only out an inch and a half. There was NO way I was going to be able to climb up on it. So I stood there, naked, with only a sheet covering my front (because no way was it going to wrap around me) and waited for the doc to come in. When she did, I explained the issue. She said "Let me see if we can fix this. Be right back." When she came back, she asked me to get dressed and come with her to another room where the step worked. So I did.

Of course, when I got up, the other end of the table went into the air and "crashed" a little when it came back down. Yeah, THAT's safe.

I was very disappointed in the exam itself. Unlike my previous nurse practitioner at the Health Service at my college, she didn't even make an attempt to palpate externally. At my old doc, they would have a nurse come in to hold my pannus. At another doc, they had me hold it (which hurt my back a little). This one didn't even try. She talked to me about BC, and I mentioned having been amenhorreic for six months after stopping birth control. She's like, "Well, at your size, you have to expect that."

She then later mentioned that any periods women of my size have aren't "real" periods anyway, though I have no idea what she meant by that and was too angry to ask. She said "I suppose you've had your thyroid checked?" and I said I had. She kept acting like she was going to say something, and then stopping. I strongly got the feeling she wanted to lecture me on my size, but was holding back. Also, she never asked me anything about my sexual history or even mentioned testing of any kind. Now, that COULD be because I indicated on my questionnaire that I always use condoms & birth control, but I still felt she really should have asked, and I can't help wondering if she just assumed something based on my size.

Oh, okay, so tell someone they don't have real periods but then don't talk to them about safe sex - yeah, THAT's a responsible way to be.

She also brought up my size during the breast exam, mentioning it must be hard for me to do a self-exam because of the nature of my breasts. And then she mentioned it again when doing the actual exam, that "because of the angle your cervix is at because of your size" it was really hard to get a cell sample from two places.

I am never going back there again.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:49 PM   #15
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What is WITH Planned Parenthood? The worst gyno experience of my life was at one.

This was my experience:

I decided to go to Planned Parenthood because they offered sliding-scale rates and discount birth control. Also, I figured they'd be used to women of size.

I get there, and they have a bench in the waiting room - so far, so good. When the nurse takes me back, she didn't flinch when I told her the scale wasn't going to work. She had a large cuff ready to go.

Then, she showed me back to an exam room and gave me the instructions.

I disrobed, then went to climb up on the table - and the "step" at the bottom of the table would not pull out. It was only out an inch and a half. There was NO way I was going to be able to climb up on it. So I stood there, naked, with only a sheet covering my front (because no way was it going to wrap around me) and waited for the doc to come in. When she did, I explained the issue. She said "Let me see if we can fix this. Be right back." When she came back, she asked me to get dressed and come with her to another room where the step worked. So I did.

Of course, when I got up, the other end of the table went into the air and "crashed" a little when it came back down. Yeah, THAT's safe.

I was very disappointed in the exam itself. Unlike my previous nurse practitioner at the Health Service at my college, she didn't even make an attempt to palpate externally. At my old doc, they would have a nurse come in to hold my pannus. At another doc, they had me hold it (which hurt my back a little). This one didn't even try. She talked to me about BC, and I mentioned having been amenhorreic for six months after stopping birth control. She's like, "Well, at your size, you have to expect that."

She then later mentioned that any periods women of my size have aren't "real" periods anyway, though I have no idea what she meant by that and was too angry to ask. She said "I suppose you've had your thyroid checked?" and I said I had. She kept acting like she was going to say something, and then stopping. I strongly got the feeling she wanted to lecture me on my size, but was holding back. Also, she never asked me anything about my sexual history or even mentioned testing of any kind. Now, that COULD be because I indicated on my questionnaire that I always use condoms & birth control, but I still felt she really should have asked, and I can't help wondering if she just assumed something based on my size.

Oh, okay, so tell someone they don't have real periods but then don't talk to them about safe sex - yeah, THAT's a responsible way to be.

She also brought up my size during the breast exam, mentioning it must be hard for me to do a self-exam because of the nature of my breasts. And then she mentioned it again when doing the actual exam, that "because of the angle your cervix is at because of your size" it was really hard to get a cell sample from two places.

I am never going back there again.

I think it's easier for them to just blame any problems on weight because it's easier than trying to figure out what else could be causing a problem. She told me that she was going to write on her notes that while doing the pap smear, it's pretty much a "blind path" to my cervix haha. I wondered if the woman giving me the exam was ever lectured because of her size. I bet she wouldn't enjoy that too much. Honestly, whenever I've had a gyno exam done by a male, it's much quicker and less painful. I hope you find a better place to go for your next exam!
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Old 03-08-2009, 07:08 PM   #16
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Thanks. You too! The next doc that tells you that, you can say "I have a friend who's 485 pounds, and she's had succesful pap smears. What skill do YOU lack that you can't get it done on ME?" Hahaha.
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:02 PM   #17
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God reading this makes me just furious. I am SO sorry you ladies have had nasty gyno experiences.. these appointments are humiliating enough, to add insult to injury? Jesus.

Honestly.. if my gyno would have (at our first appointment) tried to give me the weight lecture, I would have (politely as possible) interrupted her and said "Pardon... but I'm here to make sure my girly bits are in order, I am in control of my weight." And left it at that. Because as far as I know, fat or not, we're all the same on the inside.
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:21 PM   #18
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When my wife was pregnant she went to a OB-Gyn (up until then she just used her family doctor). The first thing the Ob-Gyn told her--before talking to her, looking at her charts, or anything--was that she was not to gain any weight while pregnant.

Then the same lovely lady was surprised later when the only time my wife's blood pressure read high was at her office
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:11 PM   #19
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Wow, reading all your experiences makes me so outraged! The interview is a great idea, but I do wish there are more fat-friendly physicians around and that something can be done about their appalling attitude. :/
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:02 PM   #20
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I had an appointment at planned parenthood about 4 years ago. I was without insurance and i didn't want to get pregnant. The nurse sat me down and before asking me anything, she asked me if i ever considered wls. Then when i said no, she asked me if i would like to get sterilized. I said no, i want more children just not now.
THEN she took my BP. She didn't even consider finishing the exam because i had sky high BP and wouldn't give me birth control. GEE i wonder why?! (I am someone who throughout my entire 9 months of pregnancy had 115/80 or less even during an unemployment/stress time)
I hate when docs only see the fat instead of the fact that i'm there for something not-fat related.

I'm sorry you went through that and I would lodge a complaint about the burned leg
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:09 PM   #21
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Wow, I think there's a name for when you're bp only goes up when you're at the doctor - White Coat Syndrome or something like that. I mean if it has a name you'd think more doctors would be aware of it. What would make it worse in the past for me was when the nurse who went to take my bp didn't know what she was doing and would get frustrated and flustered and her body language and her verbalizations would make me really nervous and fidgety, and of course my bp would be high. After I found out that name for some reason I finally was able to calm down during the bp portion of the exam and of course it was never high again. Makes me wonder how many people will get false high readings because of how the medical professionals behave.
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:09 PM   #22
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It happens a lot, Olwen. That's why I tell people who have high blood pressure that's borderline or maybe being considered for treatment to go by the fire station or a drug store and have it taken that way. Keep track of the dates and results and give them to your doctor. Usually it's the top number (the systolic) that goes up in the presence of stress, but even the diastolic can go up. My BP is nice and low now, but it was high today after getting an injection; in retrospect it would have been better to take it before giving me the shot but they weren't really worried about hypertension but it was one of those "We have you here, we have to take a set of vitals" kinds of thing.

It's really important to look at circumstances when evaluating blood pressure, but it seems like the medical community is treating hypertension at lower and lower levels because the potential to do damage to the small vessels is enormous.

As for the original OP, ouch. That's awful. On the one hand, when they do our yearly visit they usually do a pretty complete physical, which is nice since you can get it out of the way. But the fat phobic "chat"?? Not so good.
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:55 PM   #23
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Ugh. I have had the weight talk happen to me many times before. I even had a male doctor be very rough with me when doing a pap smear. When I cried out in pain he said 'A big girl like you shouldn't feel any pain"

Ahh. Doctors.

Sorry that you had to be given the lecture again.
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:03 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Vickie View Post
It happens a lot, Olwen. That's why I tell people who have high blood pressure that's borderline or maybe being considered for treatment to go by the fire station or a drug store and have it taken that way. Keep track of the dates and results and give them to your doctor. Usually it's the top number (the systolic) that goes up in the presence of stress, but even the diastolic can go up. My BP is nice and low now, but it was high today after getting an injection; in retrospect it would have been better to take it before giving me the shot but they weren't really worried about hypertension but it was one of those "We have you here, we have to take a set of vitals" kinds of thing.

It's really important to look at circumstances when evaluating blood pressure, but it seems like the medical community is treating hypertension at lower and lower levels because the potential to do damage to the small vessels is enormous.

As for the original OP, ouch. That's awful. On the one hand, when they do our yearly visit they usually do a pretty complete physical, which is nice since you can get it out of the way. But the fat phobic "chat"?? Not so good.
I have an AMAZING Doctor and feel very fortunate. When we do my blood pressure now it's on a machine that takes it 6 times and gives an average reading. I can go in there stressed out of my mind but she takes me in her private office, hooks me up to the machine and leaves. When she comes back my blood pressure is perfect. Plus we have a rule, no talking about my family while I get it taken. Haha.

I swear, having a caring physician is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
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Old 03-11-2009, 11:27 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surlysomething View Post
I have an AMAZING Doctor and feel very fortunate. When we do my blood pressure now it's on a machine that takes it 6 times and gives an average reading. I can go in there stressed out of my mind but she takes me in her private office, hooks me up to the machine and leaves. When she comes back my blood pressure is perfect. Plus we have a rule, no talking about my family while I get it taken. Haha.

I swear, having a caring physician is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
No talking about the family while you are having your blood pressure taken? Haha! Yes! That is the one thing that is guaranteed to raise my blood pressure.
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