One Size Fits All

I was in TK Maxx the other day. I know some people worship the place, but how come every time I rifle through those bulging racks it’s all lime green capris and Michael Jackson leather jackets? I was, however, very tempted by the glorious range of exercise gear. Check out these Sauna Exercise Suits.

Suit_2It says on the box:

"Shed water weight effortlessly! Wear it while you work, play or exercise. Body heat is sealed in to help muscles stay warm and keep you in top condition. Easy to carry and store. Hand washable. Elasticized – One size fits all."

Elastic at the waist AND neck… now that is sexy. Kind of wish I’d bought one now; I feel all desperate and lardy after two weeks without exercise.

I went to the doctor yesterday and I’ve got some antibiotics. Or andybiodics, which is how Dr G alleges I pronounce it. The ear pain has subsided but I still can’t hear a bloody thing. 

My doctor has a set of scales sitting right beside the desk. Why do doctors always have to put the scales, right there? I still have a residual fear that no matter how ill or injured I feel, they’re going to oh so casually ask me about my weight. I don’t see a doctor very often, but the last few times – shoulder injury, dodgy knee, Sinus of Doom – I held my breath waiting for them to say, "I’ll just get you to hop on the scales." Even yesterday when she stuck the ear-thingy into my ear and declared it severely inflamed I sighed with relief.

When I was seriously obese I avoided doctors because of that fear of not being taken seriously; that any ailment would be blamed on my size. And you know what? Part of me actually believed that was true. Part of me didn’t want to bother the busy doctors with my bulky presence. The only time I saw a doctor was in 1999, at The Mothership’s insistence, when she figured out about the depression. I was desperate to reach out but somehow felt it was my own lardy fault that I felt so shit; that somehow I deserved it.

I remember the doctor didn’t mention my weight. She just said she’d help me get help. I felt relieved, but I also like I’d gotten away with something.

She sent me off for some blood tests too, since I’d been feeling so run down. And this is the only real Fat Girl Horror Story I have. I was such a hermit at my largest, so I never had an opportunity to break chairs or to be yelled at by a carful of teenagers. All I have is a trip to a nurse for blood tests and they couldn’t find a vein. They wrapped my arm in the extra large cuff and had me squeeze my fist harder and harder. Then they tried the other arm. On and on it went for half an hour. The nurses frowned and clucked and said don’t worry dear, but I almost felt too numb to feel the humiliation. There was numbness and this low, rumbling anger directed at myself.

They told me to come back tomorrow to try again, and to have a really hot shower beforehand. And they managed to find the tiniest wee speck of blue that time. The tests came back perfectly healthy. I was always good on paper: perfect blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar. No bad knees.

I’m really wandering all over the place tonight, aren’t I? I guess it still scares me how much I used to hate myself. I read lots of fat chicks on the internet, all loud and proud and confident and and unapologetic and I feel jealous and ashamed that I wasn’t like that. I just hid from the world and wished I could rip my flesh off. But maybe half the reason I keep writing is just in case there is anyone out there that ever felt like I did. To show that is possible to crawl away from that feeling, even if it takes an age. Even if you still second guess yourself at the doctor’s surgery and sometimes find it hard to believe the feelgood is for real.

25 thoughts on “One Size Fits All

  1. Shauna, let me assure you there are many skinny people out there with crap veins! I am a master of finding the invisible vein and squeezing blood from it, and if anything most of the people attached to them are normal or indeed skinny!

    Don’t let the bad vein experience get you down babe!

    I agree about the rest though – I always wait for my weight to be raised when I see my GP, and when i was pregnant it seemed to be assumed that I would have problems since I was F.A.T. but hey, I proved them wrong and sailed through it, and nah nah nahnah nah to them!

  2. Those silver suits scare me. I used to date a wrestler who would wear something similar. Disturbing.

    As for the scales, I was just at the doc today and they weighed me again. The way things have been for me the past few years, I am bouncing around from doc to doc with new insurance and whatnot, so I don’t see that my weight is indicative of anything really, since no one person is tracking me.

    It just serves to annoy me.


  3. I want to second the crap veins at any size. And also, why is TK Maxx over there and TJ Maxx here in the states? Is it Narshalls instead of Marshalls too.

  4. When I read the first bit of your book about how you hated yourself so much I got all teary and sniffy and wanted to hug you and tell you it would be all right.
    BTW my husband (not much of a reader) has finished your book and has a big crush on you now! In a non-creepy way.

  5. I just wanted to agree with what a couple of others have said about veins not only being hard to find in a fat person. I am really upset at how bad you felt when the nurse tried to get your blood all those years ago. Surely they could have gone for a vein in another part of your body rather than carry on stabbing away at your arm. I’ve had blood taken from my FINGER, my ankle and my neck before now when there have been problems with my veins in my arms.

    I’m sorry you have been in so much pain with your ear, I hope you are feeling a lot better now and that you can hear some more too πŸ™‚

  6. Hah I love those Sauna Suits! I want one!

    Just coming out of lurking to say aloha; I just discovered your blog about a month ago Shauna and I think you’re fab!

    I’ve also lived the Berra and loved reading all your archives. You are a funny chickadee, you’re basically what I wish I were! Can’t wait to read your book!

  7. God – I can totally relate to that. Just last week I came away from the doctor’s feeling really low and as if I had wasted her time despite the fact that I’d injured my back in a car accident. I haven’t been to the doc’s in over three years and she still treated me like a time-waster. She barely asked about my injury and just went on about my weight.
    Since January I’ve lost a stone and have been working out with a personal trainer twice a week so had started to feel really good. My trip to the doctor, however, left me feeling fat, ugly and horrible. I don’t think I’ll be going back for a while – I’d rather be in pain!!

  8. I’m also a fat hermit… I have a feeling there are more of us than the loud an proud variety.

    I remember when I lived in Vegas, a car cut me off and I honked at them (2 guys in there late 20s). At the next light, they pulled up next to me and started yelling at me, telling me how ugly I was and look at that double chin, etc! And this was after I had lost 40 lbs! I cried for 2 days, even though I know they were the losers and I was a good person. Some people just always want to blame themselves I guess.

  9. I went to the doctor recently about vision disturbances. I told her I’d already been to an optician. Without looking at me she said “We’ll have to get your eyes checked out because of your obesity”. It’s used as an excuse for everything. And I had to point out to her that I’d actually lost 4 1/2st since her records were last updated and if she actually looked at me she would see that. Not to mention that I’d already seen an optician – perhaps she assumes all fat people are also stupid! Grr my blood is boiling anew….

  10. Godalmighty, the DEHYDRATE YOURSELF AND FAINT WHILE EXERCISING suits frighten the wits out of me. As my Hub is a devotee of reality shows dedicated to mixed-martial-arts fighters, I’ve seen those suits in use whenever they need to “cut weight”, i.e. dehydrate the shit out of themselves for getting weighed the day before the fight, so that they can rehydrate after and actually fight 10-20 lbs heavier than the weight limit. Sometimes they put them on while in the sauna. Sometimes they put them in while in the sauna ON AN EXERCISE BIKE. Someone’s gonna die from it someday, I swear.

    Re: your poor ear, I send trans-Atlantic hugs and coos and “poor dear, let me get you some tea, would you like lemon or honey or whatnot in it?” You’re not half wrong in your fear of doctors referencing your weight, although it sounds like you’ve had a blessedly jackass-doctor-free experience throughout. Lots of people are less lucky and encounter real bastards; I’ve heard so many horror stories about asshole doctors via First Do No Harm ( that I cringe every time I see the Weight Watchers brochures in my doctor’s office. (I will say something at some point. I will. I will.) God bless every doctor who treats every patient as a human being, regardless of weight.

  11. First, that suit–I can’t believe those are still around. Weren’t those popular back in the 70s? Holy cow.

    Second, so glad you got some meds for your ear. You needed those badly.

    Third, I am so impressed with your honesty and continued care for how you treat your former self. You aren’t scornful or hateful towards who you were, even though that’s how you felt back then. You are careful and caring, and I think that says alot to anyone reading your blog or your book–that it’s OK to love that former (or current) fat self even if there’s anger and fear and other scary stuff that is too painful to name.

    Great stuff, Shauna. Keep on keepin’ on!

  12. I have large and quite prominent veins in the crook of my elbow where they put the needle and they can STILL miss! Hehehe – I think I must always get the student nurses. ;D

    Get well soon, Shauny. Don’t let any form of delirium change your mind for one of those suits. XXX

  13. I’ve been reading for a few months but have never commented… Hi.

    Anyway. I recently had a trip to the doctor, hopped on the scale to discover I’ve almost GAINED 10 lbs.. (which I’m sure is muscle.. but disappointing nonetheless since I’ve been really really working out lately), and I also have issues with blood draws. I have “spidery veins” which means they basically roll around against the bone, and when you try to poke it, it moves, and the needle misses… Not that this has anything to do with anything, but I once was poked 3 times in each arm before they finally got blood from the back of my hand.

    I feel your pain.

  14. Hi
    Last year I admitted that I had depression and went to the doctor – he was really good and also referred me to a dietitan – that was Aug 07 and I just got to see the dietitian LAST WEEK. Grrr.
    She was really nice, but didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know already so I just got the Pull-your-socks-up-and-get-on-with-it talk. Not very inspiring at all.
    So I’m just doing the sensible eating and exercise when I can be arsed thing. I would love to have your love of exercise, Shauna – maybe I just haven’t found the right exercise for me yet?!

  15. Hi everyone.
    In answer to the above question about TK Maxx, I think it’s called that because in the UK we have a store called TJ Hughes and everyone gets confused between them!
    That’s just my theory though so might be wrong.
    Katy x
    PS> loved the book Shauna – well done!

  16. I just got your book in the mail! I’m so excited, I’m glad I have nothing on today because I’m tempted to just sit and read it straight through.

  17. Sauna suits! Are you serious? I can’t imagine anyone actually buying these but then, I’ve been shocked before.

    I hope you feel better soon hon and hey, I was the same kind of fat person as you and still go through the crazy thoughts. I just don’t write about it because someone I think it’ll give it more power.

    You’d be a hopeless junki! LOL πŸ˜›

  18. One day, when I was leaving my Dr’s office after getting blood tests, this Dr. or Nurse guy gets in the elevator with me and notices the bandage on my arm and comments ‘You look like it would be hard to find a vein on you’ W…T…F!! BTW, it’s true.

  19. The doctor once made a comment to me about my weight …..and yes I could stand to lose about 20 pounds. However, what I said to him was something in the vein of ” My blood pressure is perfect, my cholestoral is perfect. Everything you have ever tested has come out on the best side. so what the hell do you want from me? Lay off already!” And you know what? He did.

  20. Thanks for being so honest in your entries, especially about your past depression. I know that’s not like the focus of this blog, but when I was feeling similarly down, it really helped me to read about others facing the same feelings, especially because I was too afraid (then, not now!) to talk about my depression with anyone else.

  21. Hiya,
    I have been reading a couple of weeks now so thought I would come out of lurkdom and say hi from the east coast of scotland. πŸ™‚

    My doctor’s surgery call antibiotics andybiodics too. They have posters up all over the place in the waiting room and a little character….maybe its a scottish thing? πŸ™‚

  22. You know, this kind of hit home for me, because this is how I spent my adolescence, hermiting in my bedroom away from the catty girls at school eating a bag of Cheetos and playing my guitar (the one and only thing that kept me sane and let me know that there was one thing I could do that they couldn’t).

    Because of this, I never really figured out how to dress myself, talk to people, or carry myself until I was in my 20’s and I realized that I actually had breasts and other girl parts and wasn’t the freak that all those dumb kids tried to make me think I was. Then it was more like, “Hey! To HELL with you assholes! I’m going to have a blast while you all get barefoot and pregnant! (which they did, to my amusement…)” Sure, I was big, but I had decided that the kids from high school were fucktards and hell if I was going to let that stop me from enjoying myself and making friends.

    I guess I just had to find my “groove”, just like everybody eventually does in life.

    You shouldn’t be ashamed that you weren’t “loud proud and confident”, because you are NOW, due to eventually finding your “groove” as well πŸ™‚

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