The phrase “You are too much!” is usually used when someone goes out of their way to help you, or says something really funny, or does something out of the ordinary. “You are too much!” is typically a good thing, a compliment.
In our culture fat people hear that we’re too much all the time, but absent the complimentary nature. It’s not just those who describe our bodies as fleshy castles or whatever ridiculous fat bashing BS they’re saying. It’s ingrained in the language – overweight, extra space, plus size. The (massively mistaken) idea being that there are people who deserve to live in a world in which they fit, but at some point (a point which is pretty arbitrarily assigned and different based on who you talk to, or what plane you’re on) we lose that right.
I’ve talked about this phenomenon, including the fact that it’s acceptable for hospitals – which were built and stocked by people who knew full well that fat people exist – are allowed to simply shrug and tell me that they don’t have beds, or blood pressure cuffs, or equipment, or chairs, or crutches, or wheelchairs, or whatever, that fit me. In a fat hate forum someone said that my saying that fat people should have beds that fit us in hospitals shows that we want the world to “bend over backwards for us.”
I’m here to suggest that we do not have to buy into, or feel bad about, this bullshit argument. The question shouldn’t be “why does that fatty have the audacity to suggest that those who provide medical care to the community should have equipment to treat her?” The question should be “How come I can go into any hospital and expect that they’ll have equipment to treat me, but fat people can’t?” A nice follow up question would be “How can I help correct that?”
We are not too much. The world is not yet enough.
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15 thoughts on “We Are Not Too Much”
At one hospital I made a point of asking the receptionist to pass on my thanks to whoever made the purchasing decisions on the chairs as there were several sizes with and without arms so I had a chair that was comfortable in even though it was rather busy.
At other hospitals I asked the receptionist to suggest more variation in seating as even though there were very few people there I had to squish into a armed chair that was slightly too small for comfort.
In all cases the receptionists were very sweet and polite and understanding as to why I was speaking up.
Most of the equipment has been fine for me, but someone needs to design an easy gather gown that can be easily adjusted (possibly using velcro) for all sizes to make sure the hospitals are never short of larger size gowns.
As a matter of fact: on Friday we went to a chiropractor my wife been seeing to help my wife with some neck issues she’s been having. We’d had this appointment for weeks now so they can’t say they don’t know we were coming. My wife had a severe fall in 2015 and still has problems with her knees and ankles. The chiropractor’s office knows that she needs two people to assist her out of her power scooter and onto the adjustment table. Well despite knowing we had the appointment they forgot to schedule two assistants on Friday morning. We had an 8 o’clock in the AM appointment, we had to wait until almost 11:30 while they had to call a LPN from a temporary nursing agency (and no doubt our insurance will be billed for that, and no doubt our insurance will no doubt try to pass the expense on to us). It’s ridiculous. We both have been patients at this office for over a year. They know us, they know our needs. I simply do not care that they lost someone. They need two assistants FULL TIME to provide satisfactory care to my wife, if they lost someone they need to hire someone. If they can’t hire someone, they need to screen their appointments and get the temp in before we show up.
Of course the doctor lectured her on her weight, but little does he know that she (like me) has tried every diet on the planet and only gained more weight. So we should listen to his advise and actually be heavier the next time we come in because our bodies don’t react to diets like they “should?” Isn’t that making the problem worse?
It’s like they take that oath of harming no one and forget and cause more harm then what brought us to them in the first place!
I’m nine months pregnant right now, and it’s been an interesting experience. I no longer fit in booths at some restaurants. In some public restrooms I have to use the handicap stall because the regular stalls are too small or the doors are too close to the toilets. I’m constantly dealing with the possibility that a car will park too close to me and I’ll be stuck outside my car, waiting for that person to come back so I can get in.
It’s made me think about what it would be like to deal with this every day. I’ve spent most of my adult life in the somewhat-fat category, and since my weight is mostly in my hips and thighs I can maneuver pretty easily by turning sideways. But now that that’s no longer true, my life is harder (and it’s only temporary!)
Also, it’s 100% socially acceptable for me to be this size and have these issues. People are kind and sympathetic and eager to help. I’m not dealing with judgement and ridicule and people saying that these problems are my fault. I was already advocating for fat acceptance, but this experience has given me some pretty strong empathy for people who deal with this on a daily basis.
Oh, the parking issue! YES!
This is just one of many reasons that I prefer, if possible (and if I’m up to it), to park far out, usually under the farthest light pole in the lot, with no other cars around me.
I can’t do that as often, now, though, because 1) I’m not the one driving, and 2) all three of the drivers in my household have mobility issues, and need to park close-in.
When the world has no seats for you, no clothes for you, no space for you. When any request is greeted with hostility, veiled or not. When you know there are places “people like you just don’t go” dances, clubs, beaches, amusement parks swimming pools. It is pretty much telling you you do not deserve a full human life. To the edges and off side and out f sight for you! You don’t belong in MY WORLD. Women fought it, minorities fought it, ethnic groups and religious group fought it There are always gonna be people, places and organizations trying to make life and two party system” We get this” and “You don’t.”, Screw that. Buy your seats, take up that bench, eat that doughnut, swim in that pool, fly to that beach, dance to that music and who ever doesn’t like it…Can leave….
Love You Ragen!
You opened my eyes ages ago about accommodation of different sizes at public places. My insurance is through Kaiser Permanente, and our local offices and hospitals are well equipped, and ample seating choices are available. I personally like the higher chairs that are available so its easier to get back up (and they have these in different styles too, with arms and without, as well as some that are wider) Wide cuffs are the norm, and they usually have to switch it out for me as I have dinky upper arms. I can’t speak to weight talk for myself (except once while I was preggers), but my husband who is tall and fat hasn’t gotten “the talk”, although they ask after his stress levels and ability/opportunity to exercise. So props to them. Restaurants on the other hand are horrible, and airlines are worse.
A nurse in a hospital tried to excuse the incompetence of herself and several other nurses by blaming it on my size. They kept stabbing over and over, trying to find a vein. One of them said it was because I was too fat. I called her on that bullshit. She later apologized for calling me fat, but that’s not the point. No matter what my size, it shouldn’t take FIVE TRIES to put an IV needle into my hand or wrist. I have had bloodwork done in three different countries. It is not normally a stabfest.
I love my current phlebotomist. She only needs one stick, and I have gone for decades being “a hard stick,” that usually gets stuck three or four times, with veins in both arms blowing out, and bruises all over, including the backs of my hands, as they finally wind up using butterfly needles.
Every time, for decades, no matter how they started, I wound up needing a butterfly needle.
About ten years ago, knowing it would go to butterfly needle, eventually, I just asked for them to start with the butterfly needle. Well, THAT med-tech (I refuse to call her a phlebotomist), declared that they did not have any butterfly needles in the clinic. She didn’t check, she just said so. I said, “But this is a family care practice. What do you use on children?”
“Well, they get butterfly needles.”
“Well, let me have one of them, then.”
“But, we don’t have any on hand!”
“What if a child comes in?”
“Ummmm, we don’t have any children that come here. Nope. Adults only.”
Lo, and behold, five tries later, she asked for help from one of the nurses, who took one look at me, and got out a butterfly needle. The first one didn’t even apologize for poking me five times with a tapestry needle, and making me bleed all over.
My veins are easy to find, but tiny, so they need a tiny needle.
I just had blood drawn 3 weeks ago and the lady who did it had very little problem getting a sample — and I, too, am very large.
Ah the medical profession.. First Do no harm. Unless it is a fat woman then let her have it! I have the tiny deep vein thing too. Have yet to have that nasty a comment! You know when you get a pro they do it in ONE! Seen it!
Providing beds that fit fat people is not bending over backwards for fat people. It is providing beds that fit all their patients, including thin ones. You see, thin people can fit just fine into a wide, sturdy bed. They can also fit just fine into wide sturdy chairs, and wide, sturdy gurneys, and wide sturdy MRI machines, and other such things.
This is not a difficult concept to understand, or so I thought. But, gee whiz, people who are married to their prejudices are really, REALLY hard to educate.
“Married to their prejudices” That’s the way to put it. Truly it was love at first sight, all the future in laws agreed and they lived crabbily even after!
Wide, sturdy hospital beds have other benefits for thin patients, too – more room for moving around for comfort, for one, but also more space for service and therapy animals, and even spouses and children. Sometimes you need a cuddle, especially people in the hospital long term.
We deserve them obviously, but there’s lots of people they’d help.
Oh, yes! Cuddles are extremely therapeutic! For both the patient and the loved-ones by the bedside.
Wide beds are almost always a very good thing. Now, if hospitals had mostly wide beds, and a stash of narrow beds, for those particular patients who actually prefer them, this would be no problem, at all.
I suppose some will say that wide beds make it more difficult for the care-givers, because they have to stretch farther to reach the patient. Solution? 1) Lower the bed. Bending further means less stretching. And a care-giver who can’t bend over needs their own healing, before they can heal others. Alternately, 2) place the patient off-center, so they have room for cuddles on one side, and treatment on the other.
I recently had the experience of being too much for a chair when I went to get a mammogram. The gowns were of the perfect size (which is more than I can say for the one masseuse I went to. So uncomfortable…), but my hips didn’t fit into the chairs at all. I had to sit on the edge and pretend that nothing was the matter. Oddly enough the ones out in the reception area were fine, but when you went into the gowned waiting room, that’s where the problem was.