Saturday, April 4, 2009

Obesity and Society

Voodoo Medicine Man got me thinking about this, and instead of posting pages upon pages of my comments on his blog, I've come out of hiding to make this post here.

I, as a fat girl, find it disturbing that it's more than appropriate to laugh about someone's weight than it is comment on the color of their skin, or the religion they follow. Despite the fact that the majority of overweight people (myself included) are where they are because of poor personal choices, doesn't make it any better, in fact, it makes it worse. But, is the individual solely to blame? Or does society hold some of it; as you suggested. I believe it does. You can't go more than a minute on any television channel without coming across a food ad; either for take-out, or something else. I live in Canada, so I'll give my thoughts on this from a Canadian perspective. Every time I go to the US, which is just a few minutes away from me, I am astounded by the food products you have that we, in Canada, don't. The amount of pre-packaged, pre-cooked meals just floors me. In some stores, there's enough of them that you could devote a whole 2 or 3 aisles to and still have some left over. Your fast food is ridiculously cheap and you have way more chains than we have in Canada. The ones we have are Arbys, Wendys, Taco Time, Taco Bell, McDonalds, A&W, KFC, and Burger King. I might be missing one, but I don't think I am. Going just across the border in to Bellingham and there's most of those I listed plus so many more I can't list them due to forgetting some of them. Different parts of the US have different fast food outlets, too - in Canada, we have the ones I listed.

Healthy food, as you suggested, is more expensive than the prepackaged variety, and even in Canada this is true. Despite this, I rarely buy the prepackaged food, in fact, if you saw my shopping cart most times, I'm sure it confuses people as to why a fat chick is pushing it around. Lots of vegetables, lean meats, no bread products, no sugary products, low fat dairy products, etc. But I know that if I gave up on that, I could buy my whole week's worth of meals in the frozen, re-heatable kind and safe myself a lot of money and time.

Do I think people should intervene? Yes. I do. I've had several physicians (walk-in clinic doctors, mostly and one gynecologist who I really wouldn't want anywhere near my vajayjay) tell me I have to lose weight. My problem is when I tell them what I'm doing to lose it, they poo-poo it and suggest something ridiculous like aquasize. The gynecologist I saw a few years ago wouldn't even let me finish my sentence before he started brushing my comments aside and telling me the benefits of swimming. I tried to explain to him the "Fitness Fantasy" contest I had just completed that summer (and won, by the way) but I barely got the words out before he made a snap judgement that it was crap and I should be doing aquasize and swimming, oh and yoga. I'm all for doctors giving me tools to further the knowledge I gained from that "Fitness Fantasy" contest and for encouraging me - but when I tell them that I lost damn near 30 pounds in 3 months, gained 10 pounds of muscle and lost 20 inches of my body and they brush it aside as though it were nothing even remotely beneficial: I get a little rankled.

I think, though, the WAY you intervene and how you speak to a person is very important. I, for example, am far more receptive to a physician telling me that I am over weight, that they're concerned for my future health, and they're going to help me find the resources I need (whether it's a nutritionist consult, or maybe a thyroid check, etc) to get healthy than to have a physician tell me "you're overweight, go swimming". I'm less likely to take them serious than someone who's being genuine and really reaching a hand out.

If you're the PCP for a patient who's overweight - moderately or morbidly, I think you have the responsibility and obligation to help them. Don't assume they DON'T know they're fat: we do have mirrors and society makes sure we're constantly aware of our behemouth size. Maybe they just don't have the education about what they're doing to their body. Maybe they DO have the education, and the knowledge and the awareness of what foods are bad but they don't know where to start with turning their habits around. Compulsive over eating is an addiction and a habit. I liken it to smoking. I was never addicted to smoking, but the habit would always get me. The need to do something with my hands, etc. I didn't crave the nicotine, I craved the action. Eating is the same. I can eat healthy (and I really do try), but you fall in to the habit of eating nonstop and it's incredibly hard to break. You feel like you always have to have something to chew on; gum works for only so long before you need something more substantial. So you eat. And usually when these cravings for the action of eating hit, you're no where near a salad bar.

For some morbidly obese people, there is a very deep-rooted psychological issue that they are medicating with food. It may not be classic emotional eater behavior, but there is something they are trying to drown out with food. My mother is this way, and only recently do I think she's realized it after I mentioned it to her. She was a gorgeous 120 pound 5'1 woman, with wicked curves, when she married my father over 34 years ago but when she had me 10 years later, she never lost the pregnancy weight. When my sister came along, she didn't lose that pregnancy weight either and since then, she's ballooned up to her current size. While she knows far more about nutrition and what's good than I do, she's still overweight. Granted, I don't think she really takes the information on exercise to heart and because I don't have a degree in it, she won't listen to me, but in her case I do believe there's more going on than simply bad personal choices. I know for a fact that she can't stop eating. She knows she's full, she feels full, but she still needs to eat. She'll be full from dinner and an hour later will be looking for something to eat. Not because she's hungry, but because she's just craving food. I have encouraged her to talk to her doctor about this, maybe get a referral to a psychiatrist - but in the meantime utilize the psychologist visits she can have through my dad's employee and family assistance program, or through mine (since dad and I are both unionized, different unions though) to maybe help her start to understand why she over eats. I have an idea about it, but the possibility may be too painful for her to hear.

Back on track though, obesity is such a complex issue that you really can't blame it all on one factor or another: either personal choices or society. There are so many reasons why there are far more overweight people today than 30 years ago and I don't see that changing in the near future. We've become a generation of instant gratification; we want our food and we want it NOW. We don't want to have to be in the kitchen preparing it. Over the years, we've killed our tastebuds and acclimated ourselves to the taste of McDonald's, to sugary drinks and treats, fattening foods, and chemicals in prepared/pre-packaged foods than home made stuff tastes "different" and "odd". Bad food is addicting, and I wonder at times if enough research has been done on the chemicals that are pumped in to it: could that, too, be a reason for our addiction? Is the aspartame in our soda the cousin to the nicotine in our cigarettes?

I really applaud your post and while it may not have been prudent for you to approach this woman with your concerns, feeling guilty about not approaching her is a start. Whether you're an ER doc or a family doc, I think physicians can have a lot of influence on patients whether they've known them for 5 minutes, or 5 years. Sometimes, hearing about a problem from someone with a degree is more of a wake up call than just admitting it to yourself.

Not to sound cliche, either, but change starts with the first step. If we, as a society, are going to change the obesity issue - we need to make that first step. Whether it's by educating people about nutrition and exercise, or starting off with a clean slate by way of our children, change isn't going to happen unless you take that first step. Likewise, changing someone's own personal battle of the bulge won't happen until they make that first step to a healthier future: whether that step is from you addressing the issue in a kind and concerned manner, or by their own personal revelation doesn't matter. Someone needs to make it in order to help direct them to a better track.

And now, I'm taking my fat ass out for a run. Thanks for the great post!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Continuing Education

So, lately I've been kind of miffed at the cost of living and how much I make. My mother always said when I was growing up, "If you want to afford nice things, get a $xx/hr job". I have that "$xx/hr" job and I'm living paycheque to paycheque with very little (if any) unnecessary spending. After realizing that it's going to take my almost month-long vacation of staying at my parents through November to get me back on track financially and get my credit cards at least half paid off, I've thrown in the towel and cried defeat. I need a new job.

But how can I get a new job? I'm trained for one thing and that is to type. I'm actually pretty lucky to have this job since I know of companies and outsourcing agents who pay way less with no benefits. That said though, all the other hospitals in our health authority and in Coastal Health pay the same wage I'm getting now so moving to another hospital would be redundant. That means I have to get more education.

For the past year or so I've been thinking about becoming a respiratory therapist. It's something that interests me, it has room for advancement, great pay, and a relatively exciting career with lots of job opportunities. Unfortunately, there's only 2 schools in Canada that offer the program; one in London, Ontario and the other in Kamloops. I would have to quit my job here, move back to Kamloops, park the car (because I wouldn't be able to afford the insurance), live with my parents, and study for 4 years then try to make my way back down here (there's no job opportunities at the hospital in Kamloops for an RT).

The other thing that has been of interest to me is cardiology technology. So I started looking around for job postings and found that they make $1/hr less than RTs. That's not bad! The course is offered through BCIT and is three 12-week terms. It's an online/distance education program. I don't have to quit work while doing it (if I'm disciplined; which I am) and graduates on average find work within a month after completing it. The only thing that I would have to do is upgrade my English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math courses.

So - that's what I did. I've just submitted an application to the VCC (Vancouver Community College) to be accepted in their adult upgrading (including high school courses) self-paced program. Yay me! I've been talking about it and thinking about it for at least a year now, if not more, but I've finally taken a step to bettering myself (again).

I am definitely looking forward to a brighter future and can't wait to get out of this typing gig.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

No good, very bad weekend

This is just to vent. I need it.. God save me, I need to vent.

My parents came down this weekend to take Shara to the SFU (Simon Fraser University) open house. Well, she was completely uninterested in it b/c she has her heart set on going to the Art Institute of Vancouver (though she refuses to admit it) which is a private college that costs $47,000 for a year and a half and all you get is a diploma; which my parents have already told her - they are NOT sending her too because it's too expensive and is not unlike Sprott Shaw or any other private facility; i.e. it's crap.

It took a while to find the contempary art display and they talked to the guy there about film and yadd yadda, what she needs etc. We then had to go back out to the main area outside where they were playing live band (reeaaallyy loud music) and talk to the admissions woman (the tent was right by the live band so you couldn't hear a word she said) about what Shara would need to apply for the film department. We figured out that if her Math 11 and English 12 weren't at 60% grade or better she would need to upgrade.

So then, it was almost 4 pm and the open house ended around 4 so we left to go get something to eat. On the way, we were talking to her about SFU and what they said. If her math and english aren't at 60% she has to go to TRU (TRU is in her home town) to upgrade. Well, she doesn't want to do that. She doesn't want to take that long to get what she wants. She kept saying that SFU is the only university we looked at and they're all different. No they're not.

We kept trying to tell her that no matter what university you go to, they'll all want the 60% grade in math and English, that's just how it is. So of course, she said 'well, I know one that doesn't want anything'.. which she was meaning the Art Institute. Yea, we said, they don' want anything but $47,000 for a year and a half. So then she's irked.

We get to Roman's, this little Italian place and she's arguing and we're talking about SFU and the course and etc. Then she pulls out with "Well, I kinda wanted to look around at the other options SFU had" when, up until now, she wanted NOTHING to do with any other course aside from video production and film making. Nothing else interested her and she made it very clear before hand. But now she was mad because she saw the display for archeaology and anthropology and she wanted to check it out but she didn't say that when she saw it.

So now she's pissed off at that and mom felt upset because she was kind of the leader of the day getting Shara to the area she wanted to go to. So she felt, you know, taken for granted. Anyways, then we kept talking about schooling and Shara kept saying she doesn't want to spend 6 years, 2 years upgrading, 4 years in the film courses, to get where she wants to go. She doesn't want to spend that long doing something in other words, she wants to take the easy way out.

So we told her that good things take time; if you rush into something you will lose out in the end and it's better to take your time. at least if she's in an actual university and she decides 8 months in that she doesn't like it, she could transfer to other studies. In a private college, you can't do that and youre paying almost double.

Every time I opened my mouth to say something, she kept giving me these looks that said 'shut the fuck up' or 'what the fuck do you know" and ignored me. So I was like 'fine, whatever'. Dinner went fine after we left the topic of school b/c she just won't listen. She has her heart set on taking the easy way out of something and she's done that all her life.

Anyways, we came home, watched the hockey game and all that. They went to bed. I slept on the couch and mom got up at like 6 a.m. Because I forgot to put the coffee out for her and all that and she couldn't reach it, she went to Tim Hortons and had a muffin and some coffee. Then dad gets up at 8 and they have a little squabble about dad training Maggie. He gets pissed off and starts smacking her with his hat (Maggie, not mom); well of course she wont come back to him

They didn't fight too bad and went out for breakfast at 8:30. They asked if I wanted to come but.. fuck it's 8;30.. I have to work in the evening so I said no.. I wanted sleeeep.

I slept until they got back at 9:30.. then I got up and gathered all my laundry and took it over to the laundromat. I was going to go to Dennys for breakfast and they'd meet me but it was too busy there so I went home before they took Zoe to Petsmart to get her clipped.

We went to Petsmart. I had to a get a new wheel for my hamster anyways and while we're there mom and I got into a little argument about how to train zoe to heel. Mom was taking the lead and swinging it in a loop, not hitting her but enough that if zoe walked into it she'd hit it. So I was going 'well yea, of course she's going to stay close when you have the leash real tight and she heels fine for me'. so mom got upset and said 'fine, you try'. I took zoe and she did heel for a bit but of course, mom goes 'that's not heeling' etc. etc even though the leash was slack in my hands and she was at my heel.

Anyways. She goes on and on about teaching the dog to heel and I kept going 'all right.. ok.. ya I get it".. not really wanting to go too into it. So we left, dad wanted to take Maggie for a quick walk to see how she would walk on a leash so I went to my car to read a book until he got back.

Meanwhile, mom starts bawling her eyes out in their car and when dad comes back he comes over and asks what I want to do.

I asked why she's crying. He said she was just frustrated and blah blah.. I get pissed off because he said she's mad at me for being mad at her and getting in an argument. I said we weren't in an argument and there's no need for her to get upset.

So anyways, I said I didn't know what I wanted to do. I wasn't hungry anymore so he went back to the car and asked mom what she wanted, she, of course, said 'i don't care what we do' so now dad's pissed off. I said 'i have to check my laundry soon and i have to go to work' I was crying by now, I floored it and went home even though dad was trying to calm me down.

I figured, fine.. I dont want to go to work tonight anyways. I e-mailed my boss, said I wasn't coming in. When they got back I told them.. look we can do whatever you want.. I don't have to go to work.. i just took it off. Now dad's upset with me because I took a sick day (I'm actually not feeling the best anyways) and mom's crying still so we all ended up getting into it

Mom said she didn't even WANT to come down here this weekend because she has so much house work to do at home. I told her, "I told you, send Shara on the bus and I'd take her to the SFU thing. You guys didn't have to come down" then she goes "I told dad that but he said 'no, we'll all go'".. and dad's going "I didn't know you didn't want to come down, no one said that to me!"

Mom's going 'yes I did tell you, i have stuff to do because you don't want to do the work so we can sell.. i want to sell the house.. we've agreed to it.. i have to do the work because you obviously don't want to and we had to come down because you didn't want to put Shara on a bus and I don't know why we even took her to SFU because she was completely uninterested' and now shara's yelling 'i wanted to go.. but i wanted to see other things too - not just film! maybe i should just keep my damn mouth shut then!?"and then it goes back and forth about how dad does this and how shara was making mom feel bad and how it all culminated when I got in a bit of an argument with mom over Zoe, who had a massive fucking seizure last night.

So we're arguing, everyone's crying.. dad's trying not to.. I finally freaked and said "i cant fucking take this. every time you all come down or i go up there, you fight. you're at each others throats and i cant take it anymore" and dads going "ok.. ok.. I know.. ya.." not saying much else. I got pssy said I had to go check my laundry and took off.

When I came back, they were packing up the car. I said 'you know, i don't know why you're leaving now, you won't get shit done when you get home you'll be too tired'.. dad's sitting behind mom waving his hands and shaking his head while she rolls her eyes and goes 'fine.. what do you want to do Larry?" and dad goes "We're going home... " so mom goes "See? We're going home"..

I said fine.. whatever.. went to my room and slammed the door to have a good cry. Dad came in and tried to calm me down.. but he ended up making me mad anyways by continually bitching about how he has to do all the house work and mom will just bitch and moan about it but I didn't say anything.. enough fighting for one day

Then mom comes in and gives me a hug, says she loves me, but it's a weak hug b/c she's still mad at me. So whatever. Then they leave.. mom would hardly look at me.

I seriously think mom needs to go back to the doctor and talk about how every little thing seems to set her off and she gets upset over everything. Lord knows she's been on Prozac for over 18 years on the same dosage to chances are VERY good it's lost its effectiveness but if I said anything to her, she wouldn't believe me OR get mad.

All in all, one shitty weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

MOVED! (again)

Thanks to the wonderful, lovable Moof, this blog has moved AGAIN. Please update your links or bookmarks:

Confessions of a Cube Boob

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What's your sound?

This is my sound, apparently. I quite like it to be honest. So go on - what's your sound?


Please change your bookmarks and/or links to this blog. I have moved.

That is the new site. Hope to see you all over there.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rich Bitch

I had the pleasure of almost being hit by one of these today and looking back, I kind of wished I had swerved into its path. Let me set up the scene for you:

I am travelling North East towards work and slowed down because the pedestrian controlled, flashing green light became solid and thus meant it would turn yellow. Yes people, I slowed down BEFORE it became yellow mostly because I have seen a few accidents where pedestrians walked out before the light was actually red. It turned yellow and I stopped. This particular place is on a bit of an incline and ahead of me, to my right is the hospital with the Emergeny Department entrance shortly after the lights. I glanced into my rear view mirror out of habit and noticed a large SUV (which I would later learn was a Porshe Cayenne) behind me. In the driver seat was a young woman, about 30-ish, large sunglasses with white rims. Someone with obvious money. The light then turned flashing green and I pressed on the gas.

Right after the lights that I was stopped at the speed limit is 30 km/hr due to the hospital zone and because there's doctor offices across the street on both sides of the hospital and in front of it it's very wise to be doing 30. Not to mention the amount of police that are usually around as we're a major trauma hospital in the area. I should mention that there's only 2 lanes; the one I was in and the oncoming lane. Directly after the lights I was at is the Emergency Department entrance which people pull in to, and right after that is a bus stop so naturally the street is a little wider. Right after the bus stop, are parked cars. Ahead of me, is a cross walk and a car in my lane turning left up the side street but waiting for oncoming traffic to clear. In front of him but in the oncoming lane, is an ambulance waiting for an opening to turn across my lane to get in through the ambulance entrance.

I had just passed the ED entrance and was just about to the parked cars when I had to hit the brakes.

Rich Bitch behind me gunned it, passed me on the right, and had less than 4 inches between my car and hers, and her car and the parked car to make it through then she was right on the ass end of the poor guy trying to turn left so she swerved, again narrowly missing the other parked car (ahead of the one that I was near) and into the line of travel of the ambulance who, until that point, had lots of time to go ahead and turn (as I was, like I mentioned, going slow due to the hospital zone). She narrowly missed the ambulance; he had to hit the brakes. I had to hit the brakes. If I had been another foot and a half forward, she would have hit me.

Naturally, when one is in such a situation you want to track the driver down and beat them senseless. But I had to get to work otherwise I most definitely would have followed, got the license plate and called the cops. If she would have hit me, I would have sued her for all she's worth (which judging by the car she was driving; was a lot). As it were, all I was able to do was lay on the horn as she swerved in front of me and just before she almost hit the ambulance. The whole incident probably took less than 4 seconds. She was going way above the speed limit (I was pushing it at about 35 km/hr); I'd wager she was going around 60 near the end.

Most of the time, I'm not usually angry when I drive. I get frustrated (like when the guy was doing 40 km/hr in a 70 zone in the left hand lane earlier today) but I rarely use the horn unless I feel I need to. I used it on the little Indian girl down the street as she was actively trying to get hit by my car (on her bike, swerving in front of me, pulling to the side and then shooting across the road again, riding up within inches of my car etc.); I scared her but obviously that's what she needs since her parents obviously didn't teach her road sense. I used it on another guy who cut me off in the middle of an intersection causing me to have to swerve into oncoming traffic so as to avoid being smacked by him. And I've used it to let a guy know it was a green light when all he did was just sit there. I don't get angry a lot when I drive. As long as I don't hit or get hit, I'm usually a level headed driver.

But today I lost it. I actually wanted to smash this woman's head in. Not only did she endanger my life, she endangered her own, plus the guy in the car turning left, plus the ambulance drivers plus any pedestrians that might have stepped out from between the parked cars. I wished I would have moved to the right just a bit, I wish I would have clipped her. I wish I could have tore her a new one. How irresponsible can you be to endanger so many lives because you choose not to obey the speed limit in a hospital zone. I almost wish this catches up to her, either with the police nabbing or her bad driving habits catching up. And I almost hope that I'm the typist who gets to write up the report. Bad karma? Maybe, but I'm willing to suffer through it this time.

You don't endanger so many lives like she did and get away scott free.

She of course, in reaction to my blowing the horn for a good 70 feet, leaned out the window and fingered me. Nice. Those are some nice manners your momma taught you Miss Rich Bitch.

Real nice.