Weigh-Ins are on MONDAYS - Updated July 3, 2017

Surgery Date: October 20, 2009:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Calling Out the Medical Professionals

In the past three months, I've had a few blood draws for some follow up lab work resulting from vitamin deficiency issues. (Take your vitamins people...seriously) 

This has involved visiting two different labs and three different blood taker people (ummm....I think that these folks are called phlebotomists?) 
Anyways, none of these three people had ANY PROBLEM getting access to my veins or ability to fill up those little vials these past few months.  NO ISSUES WHATSOEVER.  One stick and they were done.  What a completely different experience than when I was fat.

When I was a fatty, the phlebotomists always had such difficulties getting access to my veins, I was the human equivalent of a pin cushion by the time they were done.  They used to say "it's just that your veins are really deep."  Stupid me, I never put two and two together to realize that they were really saying "you're a fatty and there's a lot of fat between us and your veins."

Also, I never really had a medical professional (doctor, nurse, etc) ever say out right..."You're obese/overweight and should do something about it.  Here are some suggestions on how you can lose weight."  The topic was always danced around and mentioned between the lines of the usual patient/doctor discussions. But NEVER said completely and directly.  The discussions were all solutions to the symptoms of obesity like "you can take this pill for your high blood pressure." 

So, I am reaching out to any medical professionals who read my blog, please be upfront and have that "come to Jesus" talk with your obese patients.  If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it's a DUCK (a fat duck actually).  I understand that it is a sensitive topic and that you may not ever see that patient again due to their embarrassment or that they heard the ugly truth. Yeah, I also get that you'll probably make less money, too. But by you not being direct and to the point only continues the extreme denial that so many obese folks continue to experience. 


  1. Interesting post!!! I was very fortunate in that the Drs. I have had as an adult have been pretty straightforward about my weight issues (but, maybe that is because I have been, too?)

    After college, I was probably 30 or 40 lbs overweight, but overall very healthy. I remember my Dr. suggesting a few books, one of which was Fit or Fat. FWIW, I gained weight during the time I saw her.

    My next Dr. would always mention the weight when we would chat during my annual exam. It was never judgmental, but probably not as aggressive as it should have been. Of course, I gained 20 or so lbs. in the several years I saw her.

    My current Dr. obviously on board. At my first visit with her in 2010, I was at my highest weight and told her flat out I was thinking about banding. I needed a Dr. who would support that. Thankfully, she did. :)

    Maybe the fact that all my GPs have been women plays a role, too? Hmmm.....

  2. I have several similar experiences. My veins were "rubbery" and "deep" and my legs swelled up because of "pregnancies". None of this ever addressed the fact that I weighed 300 pounds. Ont he other hand I am not sure if they had said anything if I would have been ready to hear it or even if it would have been taken in the intended way.

    I am glad I know now though.


  3. As someone who treats children, it continues to amaze me how obese our children are becoming. I meet so many moms who tell me their pediatrician's say their child is "chubby" or " husky". They get really upset when I inform them that their child is morbidly obese and all of the potential complications that can happen because or their obesity. It's hard to tell someone that they are sick from being fat, but the truth is always best.

  4. I also had "hard to find" veins. LOL. Now, they stick out and there is no issue what so ever in find them! That's one of the plus's of losing the weight. LOL. I don't have to get stuck so many times before they can find a vein!

  5. LOL. i can so relate. Same thing happened to me when i was bigger. In fact my friend just shared with me her experience with blood draws and was told she had "deep veins."

  6. Here Here!

    When I was 40lbs overweight, depressed and sick all the time, all my docs did was shove a pill down my throat. Not on dr said, "umm, your ass has doubled in size, maybe you should make friends with a treadmill."

    It's amazing that almost all my physical and mental issues are non-existent now that i'm treating my body right. Just craziness!

  7. OMG, I never associated the two (hard time drawing blood and being fat)! I use to go home with a bruise for an arm after having blood drawn! I also agree, be upfront!

  8. My primary care doctor actually mentioned the option of me getting lap band surgery when I was in the 330s. I had thought about it on my own for several years previously, but she gave me the push to actually seriously consider it - and I did consider it.

    Ultimately, I've lost almost 100 lbs without WLS and now I wouldn't qualify since I do not have any co-exisiting issues but I found I actually trusted my doctor MORE after she mentioned the option of Lap Band to me.

  9. As a medical professional... The reason why a phlebotomist, medical tech or even a nurse does not say, you should consider this or that treatment for your obesity is because it lies outside of the scope of their position. Legally we have to be careful not to recommend or suggest any treatment. That is the position of the physician and you can get into big trouble for suggesting treatment. I agree that people could or should be made aware of why it is difficult to treat them when they are obese, but it would be irresponsible to make suggestion when you are not educated or knowledgable of the patients health to make any such recommendation.

  10. I will have to respectfully disagree, only because there is a fine line between a caring "we need to address your obesity" and a condescending "hey, fatty, are you too stupid to realize you're fat and that's causing these problems?". When a very large percentage of obese people completely avoid health care until they can no longer avoid it anymore, that's a sign that the medical community has a history of coming down on the wrong side of that line.

    I've known I was obese for a long time, but I had to be ready to change and believe that I could change before treatment was effective. If my doctor had been relentless about it, I would have stopped seeing her and never would have had the courage to say, hey, what do you know about the lap-band? But, she cared for me non-judgmentally and knew I was intelligent enough to understand that I was obese without condescending to me about it and I trusted her to help me when I got motivated.

    Obviously your mileage varies! Just another perspective.

  11. Have to agree with Lyla, a dear friend of mine was being seen by a physician for a condition (not weight loss surgery) and the Dr. said that due to her weight that the procedure probably wouldn't work for her. She was so upset and discouraged that she nearly didn't seek out another opinion. She found someone else that did the surgery for her and now she's enjoying the benefits of that procedure. I am glad she did it, but she nearly didn't due to the way it was presented. I think that a physician talking gently and with compassion about it is a good thing, but being bare bones blunt isn't a good way to go about it.

    I do understand what you're saying though. Thanks for this thought provoking post.

  12. I also have to disagree. Didn't you realize that you were fat before you lost the weight? Did you really need a doctor to tell you that? I am like you and have lost most of my weight. I still find it very offensive how you use the word "fatty" over and over again. I would probably not want to see a doctor again if they harped on me about my weight. I will say that I think that a doctor should offer up advice and support when a patient requests help losing weight.

  13. As a microbiologist I have had a terrible time drawing blood from obese patients. Overly thin folks are probably just as difficult as well. I do wish more physicians would have that "Come to Jesus" talk with their patients - for so many reasons..... However, it is not the role, or scope of responsibility of the nurse, technician or aide to make such a recommendation. That is solely the responsibility of the Physician. Sadly though, most Physicians are more likely to push another pill or seek other treatment rather than get to the root of a patient's problem - such a weight loss. Or Heaven forbid, refer their patient to another surgeon, a Bariatric surgeon...

  14. It seems like an OBGYN would be the perfect doctor to discuss this. The GP is frequently rushed and only deals with the basics. The OBGYN though is dealing with sensitive issues (even if one is lucky enough to be free from 'problems') from the beginning.

  15. Hmm, very interesting, I wonder if I will be an easier blood draw after I've lost more weight. They've had such trouble with me in the past, but I have been overweight for most of my blood draws. Very thought provoking!

    BTW, I don't take offense at your use of "fatty." I thought it was a funny way of distancing yourself from previous unhealthy behaviors.