10.02.2007

#84 - Specialized Medical Equipment

In the past I've talked a bit on the embarrassment of going to the doctor when you are heavy. The paper gowns don't fit, it's hard to "hop" up onto the table, the embarrassment of the scale, etc., etc., etc. One other thing that has really gotten to me in the past is the need for specialized medical equipment for the super sized. It's not bad enough we're fat, but now we need to be reminded of it when they have to pull out the special equipment.

Last year I needed to have an MRI done. When I called for the appointment, they asked me a series of questions. Are you claustrophobic? Do you have any metal implants? How tall are you? What do you weigh? Upon answering the height and weight questions, the woman on the other end responded with a "hmm.... we might have a problem." That didn't sound good. I asked what the deal was, and she replied that she didn't think I could fit into the tube of the MRI machine. OMG how embarrassing. At least I was on the phone, and not sitting and talking to someone in person. Then she went on to ask me my measurements... a little more embarrassment. She wanted to double check the size of the tube compared to my measurements. I told her my measurements, to which she then asked, "did your doctor take these measurements?" I replied that no, I took them. She said that wasn't good enough and said I needed to have my doctor's office measure me. Dear God, here comes the embarrassment I thought. So I did as told, and went into the doctor for my special measuring appointment, which I must say was just a joy to make over the phone, attempting to explain my situation to the receptionist. "Yes that's right, I need to have someone in your office measure me, cause they don't think I'll fit into the MRI machine..." Wow. It stings just remembering this situation again! So I got my measurements done and called the MRI tech again. Apparently one of my measurements was the exact size of the tube. Great. Was I gonna get stuffed into the tube? I just imagined the horror of sitting inside a giant tube, not being able to move at all, arms pinned to my side, yikes! But when all was said and done, they decided that this wasn't a good option. Instead they sent me for an open-sided MRI. How sad, so fat I actually needed a special machine for the MRI.

But it doesn't stop there. Then my doctor wanted me to have 24 hour blood pressure monitoring. I had to go to this satellite cardiac clinic to get fitted for a blood pressure cuff to wear all day. They tried one, then another, then another... No luck. Too tight. They finally found one in my size, but it was broken. They sent me home, telling me they needed to special order a cuff in my size (embarrassing!). Why is it when you want to be discreet, that's when people shout? The nurse helping me opened the door to my room and shouted out to the other nurses, "do you know where the extra large cuffs are?" The nurses proceeded to shout back and forth about the blood pressure cuffs, other patients watching and listening, as my face began to take on a new shade of pink. Finally the nurse shouted back, "can you special order a big one for me?" Some people just have NO idea! Anyway, a few days later I got a call back... They didn't make the cuff in my size anymore. So I was never able to even have the test done. On a side note: my blood pressure was high due to a medication I was on, I went off the medication and now have totally normal blood pressure, so all was OK. :)

But even going to my routine appointments at the doctor require special equipment. Every time I have my blood pressure taken they have to pull out the big cuff. I have to wait while the nurse unhooks the standard cuff and plugs in the giant sized cuff. This little pause always embarrasses me. My mind races, thinking about my super sized arm. Ugh, I hate being fat!! But... something miraculous happened the other day. I went in for a routine girly doctor appointment. I hopped up on the table (which didn't seem like such a chore this time, btw) and rolled up my sleeve, awaiting the big cuff for my blood pressure reading. To my surprise the nurse grabbed the standard cuff out of it's holder and started fitting it on my arm. I almost stopped her and told her that it wouldn't fit, but who am I to tell her how to do her job, right? Anyway, I waited for her to try in vain but was shocked when the cuff fit. OMG are you serious? The standard blood pressure cuff fit? Was it gonna pop off my arm as she pumped it up? Nope, it seemed to work just fine. I just couldn't believe it. You mean I didn't require a special fat cuff anymore? Wow! I can feel the weight come off, I can see my clothes shrinking, but it wasn't until that day that I could use the normal blood pressure cuff that I was tickled with joy over my weight loss. It felt like such a major day for me. Somehow I equate normal blood pressure cuff with normal size. If I could use the normal blood pressure cuff, it truly meant I was getting closer to a normal size. I was utterly delighted! Sure I know I have a long way to go, but this was a major milestone. I'm am leaving all that special medical equipment behind as I journey forward to normalcy.

Update: Cool news! I woke up this morning, stepped on the scale, and smiled. Today I reached 250. I'm now down 65 pounds and falling! Woo hoo!!!

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am sooo happy for you. I just started my weight loss journey with Weight watchers and 5 day a week exercise one month ago. I only lost five pounds but I am going to deep going because I want to celebrate little things like blood pressure cuffs fitting which are really big things. 120 pounds to go....

Robin Bayne said...

Also happy for you! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LisaMM said...

Good for you! How motivating for you to see some progress. That's great.

Jill said...

Hi! Lurker here, but just wanted to chime in and say good for you!! Keep up the good work - I'm doing a happy dance for you!

Kat E said...

That's a pretty cool milestone!

Michelle said...

Another lurker wanting to say... "CONGRATULATIONS" You are doing so well!!

soap box girl said...

Just stumbled onto your site. OMG. I am so mad at the doctor's office and MRI clinic for putting you through the humiliation of it all. So are all people who weigh over 200 lbs just out of luck? How many people do you think they encounter in that weight range? My guess is that it's not all that uncommon. And not to mention the fact that if you're getting an MRI you're worried enough about what's wrong with your body, you sure don't need the extra stress of that other crap, too! (ok-rant over!)

Congratulations on your hard work. That's fantastic! 65lbs! :)

EC said...

Ouch! I have been there - especially with the blood pressure cuffs! In fact that was one of the reasons I started doing my weight loss - because of all the medical problems I was having and the fact that going to the doctors was becoming a complete embarssement! That is great that you are down 65 pounds - WTG!!

I just started my own weight loss blog (I've had my other blog for years) but I wanted to do something just for peoepl looking to lose weight - me included! I have about 80 left to go myself - it's a long road ahead! I hope you stop by and add yourself to our growing list of women who are looking to lose weigh together!

www.ourwickedweighs.com

Angie said...

I haven't been around in a while and I am so thrilled for you!! 65 pounds!!! That is awesome! Congrats!

I have ALWAYS hated the switch to the big cuff ritual at the doctor's office, but luckily the girls in the office don't usually say a word. Even worse is standing on the manual scale and having to tell them, "No, move it over more." Or just doing it myself.

I hate being fat. You are such a motivator to me!! Keep up the good work!!

By the way, it's Delurk day according to some bloggers, so that is why I made it a point to comment today. :)

Chubby Chick said...

Congrats on another weight loss! Having 65 pounds off is an amazing accomplishment! Good for you!

And congrats on the "normal" bp cuff fitting! Good for you!

I've had many humiliating experiences at the doctor's office, too... so I feel your pain! I always wondered if the skinny nurses ever made fun of me after I left. :(

PastaQueen said...

Wow, I can't believe they made you get measured at the doctor's office. That's...bizarre. I'm glad I never had to get an MRI when I was at my heaviest because there's no WAY I would have fit. I remember the first time I used the blood pressure machine at the grocery store and it didn't feel like it was squeezing my arm off. It was fantastic! Congrats!

Urban Chick said...

Nobody deserves to be treated like that - very rude.

But on the upside, congrats on the 65 lbs!

The Pound Slayer said...

Congrats on the milestone!

I dread going to the doctor's office because I don't think they will have a scale that will weigh me anymore. It's a shame because I am neglecting my health by not going for regular visits. And all to save myself some embarrassment *sigh*

Oh well, at least I am finally on the road to a slimmer me. I hope I can catch up to you someday! 65 lbs WOW

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know that I really love reading your posts. Congrats in losing all that weight and keeping it off.

Btw, I saw your photo and you're an absolutely lovely young woman.

Stephanie said...

I cannot begin to explain what an inspiration you are to me. I have about 80 pounds to lose and following the story of your weight loss has made the prospect of losing this weight seem possible and not hopeless.

Your 84 reasons have had such a profound impact on me. For years I've been kidding myself, trying to convince myself that I'm not that overweight and that being overweight isn't so bad. It's amazing to see that I'm not the only person whose enjoyment in life is being serverely restricted because of my weight.

I am so keen to get started on losing weight and to chronicle my weight loss and issues, too. I was wondering whether you recommend creating a new blog for that. I'm not sure how secure I feel about talking about my weight on my current blog which family, friends and colleagues read. On the other hand, I'm worried that if I start a blog exclusively dedicated to my weight, I will become too obsessed about what I look like and my diet.

Kriss said...

Congrats on the 65# loss! That's like the weight of a small child!!! :)

And they shouldn't have given you a hard time about the MRI. Why the eff didn't they schedule you for the open machine right away? If you're even a teensy bit claustrophobic, you'll freak out in the enclosed machine. It really isn't a big deal to use the open one.

Ugh. I hate rude, ignorant medical "professionals".

Katie said...

I just have to tell you that you are SUCH an inspiration to me!!! I love your blog, you're an amazing writer, congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing it!

Janak said...

Best surgical instruments medical supply in all India- Delhi based surgical medical manufacturer and suppliers company provide all kinds of medical equipment on wholesale like Sterilization Equipment, hospital furniture, suction unit, baby care products and many more.