Five months ago, I experienced an astounding scenario that I’ve wanted to share with you ever since. I thought about posting the story when it first happened, but time got away from me. I suppose I got caught up in seasonal posts about the autumnal landscape, comfort food recipes, and the holidays, and I just never took a moment to circle back. Now, several months later, I think it’s high time we laugh about it together.
Because this story has been brewing for a while now, it has already made the rounds amongst my family and friends. People have had varied reactions to hearing it, which tend to range from shock, to anger, to fits of giggling. I’ve felt all three at one time or another, and I am now comfortably resting in the “laughter is the best medicine” category. Suffice it to say, this is one of those experiences I will not soon forget. Without further ado, here’s my tale of a very “unique” doctor’s visit…
Back in September of last year, when Gray had just turned four months old, I decided it was a good time to find a primary physician for myself. Sure, I’ve been to the doctor a zillion times in the last year. Hell, I even went twice a week for ultrasounds in the months leading up to Gray’s birth. In fact, I’ve been such a staple at the Chiropractor and OB-Gyn offices, they are thinking of giving me my own parking space. That said, I’d not seen a primary care physician in over seven years. I don’t get sick often (except, apparently, this past January…), and when I do, I generally feel it will run its course. However, after having Gray, my husband and I came to the conclusion that we should have all of our medical practices in place, in case of an emergency. We asked for recommendations, and we chose a place we felt was appropriate. It was still fairly new for me to be getting out of the house much at that time, since Gray was still quite young yet, but I packed us both into the car and drove over for my first check up. I guess this is a good time to interject and say: I gained 40 pounds during my pregnancy. You may or may not find that to be too much, and I won’t defend it either way. Everyone is different, and I was quite happy and comfortable with my pregnancy weight. (Granted, I was equally happy and comfortable when the weight started to come off. It’s amazing what breast feeding can do to shed the pounds!) But back to the story… So I got to the doctor’s office, and they handed me a mountain of forms to fill out. You’d have thought I was buying a house. And, as we mothers know, it’s so easy to handle paperwork with an infant in your arms, isn’t it? But I digress. After spending a lifetime answering questions about illnesses and symptoms I never knew existed (and never wanted to), I was brought back to the nurse’s station. A tiny woman in her late 60’s took me over to the scale and measuring chart. Height first. I removed my shoes and stood with my back to the wall. God bless this lady– she was shorter than I am, and had trouble reaching around me to move the sliding marker into place above my head. As I stepped away, so she could read the chart, she inadvertently dropped the marker by an inch and declared me 4 ft. 11. Now, I’m no doctor, but I’m fairly certain I didn’t shrink during pregnancy. The poor lady needed to get a step stool. Or better glasses. In reality, and according to every doctor I’ve ever seen before, I’m somewhere between 5 ft. and 5 ft.1. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but when you’re short, an inch makes a significant difference. Knowing the nurse’s mistake, but not wanting to point a finger, I asked if she wouldn’t mind measuring me again. Of course, the same damn thing happened the second time around. I watched her accidentally readjust the gauge as she struggled to peer at the results. This time, however, her hand didn’t move quite as much. She conceded half an inch more, and declared me 4 ft. 11 ½. I’d like to think the fact that I’d suddenly grown half an inch taller in the last thirty seconds might have given her pause, but such was not the case. I opted to leave well enough alone and allow her to continue thinking I’m shorter than I am. I mean, what harm can that do, right? It’s not like I was at basketball tryouts, or trying to get a contract with Ford Modeling Agency. Perhaps she wanted company in her Napoleonic stature. Regardless, it was time to be weighed. I took a deep breath and stepped onto the scale… drumroll, please… 130! I was silently jumping for joy. In the four months after giving birth, I’d managed to lose 37 pounds! I was pleasantly surprised and pretty darn proud of myself. My pride and I followed the little nurse back into the exam room. She took a seat at her computer, and then we spent the next ten minutes verbally addressing every question I’d already answered on the aforementioned waiting room forms. Don’t you just love that? If I’ve already answered the questions on paper, why do I need to answer them again while you type them in? Are you afraid I lied the first time around? Regardless, we eventually got down to the height and weight section of the questionnaire, and she turned to address me. Her expression was abruptly solemn, and I started to get nervous. “You’re four foot eleven,” she stated dryly. Inwardly, I rolled my eyes. Outwardly, I nodded in mock agreement. “And you’re one hundred and thirty pounds,” she finished. “Ok,” I mumbled in confusion. “Is there a problem?” And her next words blew me away. “I’m obligated, by law, to tell you you’re obese.” Um… Excuse me? I stared at her with a dumbfounded look on my face, and then I started laughing awkwardly. So much for that pride. “See that little girl down there in the infant carrier?” I asked. “I just gave birth to her four months ago, and I haven’t lost all of my pregnancy weight yet.” “Yes, you look great,” my elfin friend responded. “But I’m obligated to tell you you’re obese. Would you like some brochures on that?” Brochures??? Is this lady serious? In all honesty, I’m just weird and dark enough that I immediately found the situation to be hilarious… but only because it was happening to me. If another woman had been standing in my place, I would have been profoundly angry on her behalf. I immediately thought of friends who have experienced post-partum depression, or battled weight insecurities. Not to mention, if I were four months pregnant, would she have had the audacity to say the same thing to me? I thought for a moment and asked the nurse an honest question. “How overweight am I?” She checked the chart and answered, “Point one.” I looked at her incredulously. “Let me get this straight, I’m only point one over the standard weight measurement for my height?” (In other words, if she’d measured my height properly, I wouldn’t have this story to tell…) “Yes,” she replied simply. “Are you sure you don’t want those brochures?” I smiled in a way that I reserve for overzealous mimes and lecherous men at bars. “No thank you,” I said. “I think I can handle it on my own.”
Yep. Welcome to the wonderful world of absurdity.
Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,
Jenna von Oy
PS. In retrospect, I’m slightly sad about turning those brochures down. They would have been the cherry on top of this blog post.
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