Category Archives: Shrink Me

Patient Rights Note

I lead a discussion on Twitter yesterday and learned that many people are unaware of their rights as a patient, and that some people avoid going to the doctor due to being put on a scale.

 

You have the right to refuse to be weighed at your doctor’s office.

You can also ask to be weighed without looking at the scale and ask not to know your weight.

 

Personally, because I am usually wearing heavier clothes, and I am required (for medical reasons) to weigh myself daily, I tell the medical assistant my weight. If they argue, I tell them they are making me uncomfortable, and they stop.

Generally, I am coming to see my doctor about an acute illness, not my weight. My doctor does not need to know my weight to order a blood test or many medications.

 

Times when your doctor may insist on a weight and you should probably comply:

  • If you are at a hospital, about to have surgery or need antibiotics – proper weight = proper dose
  • If you are at a hospital and are not eating or are on medications, they may want to weigh you daily to check effectiveness.
  • If you are coming in to specifically talk about weight loss or gain.
  • If you are coming in for a physical (although still, you can refuse, but I would suggest weighing yourself at home).
  • If you have had weight loss surgery, you can expect to be weighed at each appointment before and after.

 

Your doctor can refuse treatment if you refuse to be weighed. You can fire your doctor. You can call your insurance, report your complaint and find a different doctor. You have rights, and I want you to know what they are.

 

Nurses: Remember it is our job to advocate for our patients. If a patient is not coming in for a weight related problem, we may not need to know their weight. Ask yourself if insisting on a weight is going to cause the patient stress.

Food Anxiety Chat

Today at 5 PM EST on Twitter, I will be hosting a chat on food anxiety and the different forms it takes. Please join! If you want to send questions anonymously, please email me questions to GrimalkinRN@gmail.com

 

We will be discussing what forms food anxiety takes, how it develops, how we cope, and what happens when we can’t cope.

 

Please share this post if you have a moment!

 

 

250

I’ve been on steroids and sick since the beginning of February and it’s added 10 pounds to me. I am at my highest weight ever.

250 pounds. I’m going to have to buy some new, bigger clothes at this rate. I already bought scrub pants, but my bras are tight and everything is tight. I tell myself I can lose weight, but I really don’t think I can do it fast enough. I have an interview today and I’m just praying my jeans won’t be too small. I’ve been living in yoga pants since I got over 230.

I feel so ashamed of myself. I tell myself I couldn’t help getting bronchitis. I can’t help that I got pleurisy and I have tried to exercise but it’s also difficult to go out when I have asthma and it’s cold. I tell myself steroids make you gain weight, and I needed the steroids to breathe. This is all true.

But there’s another problem.

I have an eating disorder. I binge eat. I particularly binge eat when I lose any weight at all. Seeing the scale drop makes me want to eat. Seeing my clothes get looser makes me want to eat. I see a doctor about this but haven’t had much success with the anxiety that comes with weight loss.

I grew up very poor, and we didn’t always have food. My mother always praised us when we gained weight. She was probably relieved that we weren’t starving. We didn’t always have food when we were growing up. This lasted from the time we moved to Nashville, Tennessee, until the time she met my first step-father, Merritt, when I was about 7 or 8. After we met him, we were abused, we were hit and emotionally tormented, but we were fed.

We also had plenty of food in the Summer when I visited my grandparents. There were snacks and my grandparents always made sure we had plenty of them. I wasn’t hungry for most of my childhood, just a small part, but it has stuck with me.

I remember once, I was hungry and there wasn’t much food in the house. My mom was at work. I found a can of tuna and ate it. When she got home, she was furious. She said “that could have fed us for a week!”

Of course it couldn’t, but I remember that. I remember her yelling at me whenever I ate something that wasn’t specifically for mealtime. Snacks weren’t really something we had around the house, even after we were better off financially, and oh my God, I felt hungry all the time.

I won a scholarship to Germany my senior year of high school and it was the first time I really was offered enough to eat for a long period of time. I didn’t react appropriately. I started buying food at the local market and hiding it in my room. My host mother really didn’t understand and I know her feelings were hurt. But the sight of the food in my bedroom cupboard was comforting. I didn’t know it, but I had started to hoard food. I didn’t know it was a psychological condition at the time.

Then I got home. Shortly after arriving back in the States, my mother and step-father kicked me out. Then I really didn’t have enough food. I literally would count change to buy a can of soup or ravioli. When I got paid, I would go to the store and buy as much food as I could. I would buy so much food that I could barely make rent. The food hoarding got out of control. I put food on credit cards. I would buy and buy and buy food and not eat it. I’d stock my pantry and fridge and then go get fast food. None of it made sense.

When I moved to Colorado, I tried to change. Several times, I took my load of food to a food bank, only to buy another hoard with my next paycheck, putting myself at risk of homelessness again. I didn’t have a great job, but I had a job that paid enough for an apartment, bills, and a reasonable amount of food. But I had to have more. I had to have cans and cans and cans of food. To preserve the hoard, I’d still go to restaurants and get fast food, so I wouldn’t have to touch my hoard.

Eventually, I got into therapy, but I never really talked about food hoarding. As my anxiety lessened, I was able to give away food a little bit at a time and now while I do have more food on hand than my husband and I need, I don’t have so much food that I regularly throw it out. I have started making recipes out of the things I keep in the fridge. I keep food in the freezer, but I eat it. And when I went gluten free, I went through my cabinet and donated things I could no longer eat.

But what I can’t seem to do is stop eating. Whenever I lose any weight, I feel a compulsion to eat. I have to eat. I can’t not eat. I eat until my stomach hurts, and then as soon as the pain lets up, I eat some more.

I gave up soda, I gained weight because I replaced the soda with other food. I gave up gluten, I gained weight because I found lots of substitutes. Last year, I tried to become a vegetarian and gained weight so fast it was alarming.

My doctor doesn’t really get it. I used to take Wellbutrin and that was very helpful for appetite control. Then I started having hand tremors from Wellbutrin and I’m on a different medication for depression that is really not helping my anxiety.  I honestly don’t know what to do. When I think about looking for a support group, I feel so embarrassed. When I think about dieting, I want to eat. When I think about exercising, I want to eat.

I really can’t throw all of this blame on my mother. She was a single mom, and we were incredibly poor. My father didn’t pay child  support until she managed to have it removed from his paycheck. But things happened when I was a child, and these things make me prone to hoarding food. I’ve managed to stop hoarding food in cabinets, but instead, I now hoard weight on my body.

If I can’t stop doing this, I’m going to get diabetes. I’m going to get joint issues, I’m going to get high blood pressure. I already have slightly elevated blood pressure.  My asthma is getting worse. My clothes don’t fit. They are painful, and I really can’t afford to buy new ones right now.

This isn’t about accepting my body as fat and loving it. I don’t feel good at this weight. I feel awful.

I’m not asking people for solutions, I’m just getting this out, writing it down. I’m going to try to find help for my specific problem.

I don’t blame my mother for being hungry but I do blame my childhood for these habits I have now. I hope that by writing it down, admitting to the world I have a problem, I will be able to start changing my habits and my body.

I want to emphasize here: I do not want dieting advice. I do not want to hear about Paleo or veganism or anything like that. I have learned that restricting my diet triggers me to binge eat. I am going to work at exercising more and learning not to go eat when the scale goes down. That’s going to be my first step.

Thanks for listening.

Yes, You Did.

My mom likes to keep tabs on me online. All I need to do to know she’s watching is mention her on Twitter.

Today my mother denied ever abusing my sister or myself. She denied ever hitting us. She denied ever hurting us.

So let’s be clear.

My mother neglected me to the point that I got a 3rd degree burn. Afterwards, her neglect continued until I developed a massive infection and lost most of my left breast. It’s already covered in this blog.

My mother HAS hit me, although mainly just across the face. She preferred the neck splitting slap to the face. Did I mention I had a massive scar on my neck? Any smart mouthed word was enough to earn the slap, which at times was enough to split my burn scar open. My step fathers (both) were fans of whipping you with a belt on bare skin.

I’m a smart mouthed woman. I was a smart mouthed child. This is something you deal with, not something you beat your child about.

Over the last few days, I’ve been binge watching “Orange is the New Black.” It was funny, it was serious, and then, it was triggering.

Woman on woman violence will never stop triggering me. I will never stop being afraid of other women. Even though I still consider myself bisexual, I know that the choice to be with a man and not a woman is still at the back of my mind. I am afraid of other women. It’s hard for me to be friends with other women. I have very few female friends. I’m sure my husband thinks I’m exaggerating. He’s never met her, or dealt with her hoarding and filth. When I see another woman get angry, I get scared.

In nursing, I primarily work with other women. I’m a crier. I get shaky and scared if another nurse gets mad at me. Slowly, I’m getting tougher, but I know I would have calmer reactions if I wasn’t so terrified of another nurse  getting violent on me.

My mother has called the President of the United States the N-word. She has called him an idiot, and other degrading terms. She considers herself a Constitutionalist, but I seriously doubt she’s ever read the Constitution. She has changed religions with her husbands. As much as she likes to deny that she is a racist, she told me to “stay away from black men, because every black man wants to fuck a blond woman.” Seriously, mom? So very untrue.

She denies ever hitting me. She denies neglecting me. I have two surgeons who have told me the same story that I’ve written about before. My mother neglected me, she was threatened with social services, and finally I got treatment. I also have my grandparents and father to reiterate this story.

If 5 people tell you one thing, and one person tells you something else, who is the liar? When there are copies of medical records to back it up?

Doctors don’t get in touch with social services unless it’s a last resort. It’s a huge pain in the ass.

My mother thinks I judge her because she has medical conditions. I don’t judge anyone for that. If she really hated having children around so much, she should have given us over to social services. Yes, it would have been horrible. I have no doubt. Instead, I got to hear that she should have had an abortion, that I stole her youth. I got to deal with her attempts to rope me into Amway and steal my identity.

After I started consistently calling out her bullshit on Twitter, she cleaned her feed up. She stopped calling the President nasty terms. She started complementing black people. She has an ulterior motive. She always has.

She WAS abusive. She WAS neglectful. Children learn what they are taught, and all of that is inside me, even after years of therapy.

I will never have children because I know I have it in me to abuse a child. I met a man who doesn’t want children. I think I would love to be a mother, but I will never deliver a neck splitting slap to another human being.

I am a good person. I am trying to be a better person. This struggle will never end, but I know I will never be you.

Gaining and Losing

Last year I lost 30 pounds.

For a year, I worked out on a regular basis, saw a personal trainer, but the real way I lost weight was by decreasing eating to once a day, with maybe a snack or two unless I was at work.

Since then I’ve gained 40 back.

First, I got diagnosed with Morton’s Neuromas. They are fibrotic growths in between your toes. I have them on both feet. They cause searing nerve pain through your feet. Because I’ve been warned to avoid surgery at all costs due to benign hypermobility syndrome, so I ended up getting 3 rounds of injections into each foot, between my third and fourth toes.

Drug users don’t even go in between the toes, you guys.

So I had to stop working out. The pain was too much. I got depressed again, I started eating too much again.

Then I agreed to have some corns removed from my left foot. This was before my primary care diagnosed the hypermobility syndrome. The corns took 3 months to heal. Working was excruciating and I still get nerve pain where they were removed. Never again.

A few weeks ago I started trying to walk more to drop weight and hopefully not starve myself. I had to walk 15,000 steps a day, work out for an hour every other day, but I finally started to lose weight.

Then my foot gave out. I’ve been getting steroid shots into the arch of my foot and once again I’m under instructions to walk as little as possible.

I hear people talking about fat acceptance and learning to love your body, but I truly hate my body. I’m already covered in scars, and while I got thinner for a little while, now I’m fat again, too. I like my body better when it’s thinner. I feel like I’m never going to be able to lose weight. My metabolism is so slow. I literally have to barely eat and workout daily as well as take an hour or two hour walk daily on the days I don’t work to lose weight.

To add to it, I have anxiety related to dieting. Even though I’m more comfortable in my body when it’s thin, when I start losing weight, I start to have huge amounts of anxiety and I want to eat. I mean, I want to eat until I feel like I’m going to explode. It’s not that I don’t have the ability stop feeling hungry, I just feel the need to constantly be eating. I wish it made sense.

This fight with weight and depression. I see a shrink. I take my meds. They help more than they hurt.

I don’t have to go to school full time, I have 3 part time semesters left. Hopefully not having as much school work will mean I can dig out of this awful place I am, get some weight off, and get it to stay off. I think it could, if I didn’t feel so anxious when I feel the slightest bit hungry.

I really, truly, wish I understood my brain. I know that part of my food anxiety probably comes from not always having enough to eat when I was young, and when I was out on my own. Knowing why something exists doesn’t really make it go away.

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