you know it's going to be an intense day when you're plunging a toilet before 6:00 a.m. in the morning, right?
well, yesterday was a doozie.
i posted here about setting some boundaries with friends and beginning to reclaim pieces of myself i had let go of.
that post was soon followed by a phone call with my father to catch up. we're good on the phone, he loves to tell me about his basketball teams and how they're improving their shots and the chances they have for tournaments. he then told me about one of my cousins who has been single for most of his 48-50 years (i'm not sure of his exact age). my dad told me he had a girlfriend he was traveling with out west. he started to tell me about her and said something like "well, she's not fat, she's "big boned", she's a big girl" (she's probably 45, but a girl to my father...) and then he told me she liked it when he gave her fish he caught or venison from his hunting.
my heart fell. i instantly wondered if he described me that way to people "well, my daughter is big boned..." i knew he did, i've heard that all my life - that and SOLID, "you're solid". he meant it as a compliment of sorts, meant that i was good under the net at getting rebounds and holding my own in the lane.
i shut down, listened but didn't really interact with him for a bit. then i set it aside and talked about some other stuff. then from somewhere deep within me i said "hey dad, can i talk to you about something?" i told him that earlier when he described G's girlfriend it wounded me because i felt like he reduced her to her body size and i didn't like to think that people did that to me. i said "dad, every women you've ever loved was a large woman, your mother, your 5 sisters, your wife and your daughters - you know that we are all more than our body size. we have big hearts and care deeply for the people in our lives - i'd really appreciate it if you'd think about that before you use that kind of language to describe women like me."
where did that come from? wow. he heard me, received my words, owned them and apologized for them - and then said "you know i love you, i wish i could give you a hug." it was very special.
from there i went to my short scheduled doctors appointment (at the encouragement of my dear friend hope) to ask the doctor to run a test for me. this was big. i hardly know how to write about how i have shut down part of me - how i have closed the door to my physical body, both out of my food/size/sex issues, but also because every time i have ever talked to a doctor about my body when it's not working properly i have been made to feel crazy or like a hypochondriac. i hate it.
my breathing has been labored. i think i have found out why. i wanted a test to confirm/deny this - and the doctor pulled that "oh you people with the internet" crap on me. i stood up for myself. i didn't allow her to bully me and i said that i was going to push on this because i didn't think she was a very thorough. and i had evidence to back that up.
she sent me for a mammogram, but never once did a breast exam, she did a pap test, but never once did a pelvic exam. i have seen her for over a year now and never once has she physically touched my body. stethoscope to listen to my heart and lungs, the most basic of pap smears - but other than that she has rushed in and out and i felt her standard of care was lacking.
she did not like that one little bit. you see i've lived in about 8-10 different communities and have the best of care in each one. yes, some doctors made me feel like i was making things up at times, but the care i was given was always top of the line. i knew her care was not up to snuff and i told her, respectfully and directly. she didn't know what to do about that.
i really flustered her. she eventually said 'well then you should probably find another family doctor'. i said i had planned on it, her response to this visit was going to determine that for me. unfortunately we live in the most under serviced area of our province. there are no doctors here. i can't blame it on social medicine, the care i had in ontario was the best i've ever had.
it will be a chore to have to talk another doctor who isn't accepting new patients into treating me and my family. i have spent the morning on the phone with the bureaucrats and the watch dogs, they are toothless. i fear for the women in this community who have never had better medical care - i know they would never think of demanding better. i am not called to be an advocate, but i will if needed. it's just exhausting.
so, i guess that the small challenge of calling back my friend allowed me the courage to speak truth to my father, which allowed me to stand up for myself at the doctor's office. all links in a chain - small successes to enable me to not settle, not blame myself, not feel crazy or lost or powerless.
but now the work begins.
oh, by the way, i did get the order for the chest x-ray - i have no idea how i'll get the results, but i got what i wanted. (oh #2 - i also finished my collage - it's beautiful!)