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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quiet prejudice

The introduction and conclusion: Ladies and gentleman, I have a hip condition. I am overweight and I know that. I'm also a human being, and endure pain, agony, and sadness especially when faced with a crisis. In this case, I'm faced with a health crisis. The worst part (and many don't know this) is the response I receive from medical staff. Some just assume that I'm making more out of the problem. I was once accused of being "mentally stressed," and needed to see a psychologist. Maybe I do, but not because I'm "making more" out of what I have. The interesting part of this story is I've been to 2 hospitals, a dozen doctors, had 2 MRIs, physical therapy, X-Rays, taken multiple types of medication, and spent more time in doctor's waiting rooms than needed to be. After all of that, am I still making more of what I have? MRIs don't lie. Then there's the growing discussion of how "fat" I am, and it's the reason I have this condition. Unbeknownst to many, my condition was brought on from years of wear and tear, and a slip and fall on ice. I'm not in denial. I'm not afraid to admit that I am overweight, or that weight isn't a contributing factor, but it isn't the cause of my condition. Sorry to disappoint you Dr. So and So or anyone who thinks otherwise.

The cane and the response: Sometimes I think we as a society is so vain when it comes to looks. I've been walking with a cane on and off for a year now and it's been a frustrating and life-changing experience. I say "life-changing," because the cane, a tool to help one walk, can become the topic of discussion, snickering, or outburst of laughter. It can also make some people angry. For instance, I've had a woman look at me as I got on the bus and said, "Don't expect me to give you my seat!" I was surprised by her attitude and comment, because I wasn't thinking about sitting down. I just wanted to make my way to the back of the bus. When walking the busy streets of New York City, it's a bigger challenge. Some people make no qualms about pushing you out the way, or cursing under their breath because you can't walk faster. Here's my favorite, when people who know you suddenly treat you differently because, as they say, "You look different." The cane and the response can be very negative. It's something I'm still adjusting to.

The emotional impact: This experience can be depressing, frustrating, and damaging to the ego. The negative comments, assumptions, changes in attitude, fat jokes, hurts, plain and simple.

Quiet prejudice is just that, quiet but the impact is louder than words. 


  1. So sad, yet so true. Unfortunitely, a medical or health condition will be overlooked as a main cause when you're overweight; which is ignorant because it happens to all weight brackets. The world can be a cold, cruel place, but peoples hearts can be colder than the artic caps

  2. Shame on the "doctors" for their medical attitude. Shame on the ignorant people who brown nose the disable and equate weight with their medical condition. It's disgusting! One day the table will turn and let's see how they the "vain" or "perfect" will feel.