Whenever the red mist descends upon me, I remember an article that Stephen Fry – a talented lad – once wrote for The Listener about losing his sock. I haven’t lost my sock – on this occasion, at least – but my personal DEFCON is fast approaching pushtheredfuckingbuttonandtohellwith’emall.

‘I am angry. I am really angry. I am so angry I can barely go to the lavatory. I am fuming. I don’t think I’ve ever been crosser. If you poured boiling jam down the back of my neck, set fire to my trousers, defecated on the back seat of my car and forced me to stare without blinking at the cartoon of myself that accompanies this article I couldn’t be more furious. Hopping mad about sums it up.’

I’ve managed to empty my bladder, but it was touch and go for a bit.

I fought my way into Coventry during the rush hour this morning for an appointment with my consultant. She gravely thanked me for sending her my back-to-front heart report, and told me that I definitely do need a laparoscopic exploration. I nodded expectantly, waiting for her to announce why she had summoned me back to her clinic instead of simply noting the whole peculiar heart-thing and rescheduling my (postponed-because-of-said cardiac-weirdness) operation.

But there was nothing of the sort forthcoming. She merely started to write out another surgery form, identical in every way to the one she wrote out last September… when she cheerfully bunged me on her laparoscopy waiting list.

I furrowed my brow. She’d forgotten – evidently – that we’ve already driven round this particular roundabout.

I had been scheduled for the knife on the 1st of February – and made that fact clear in every piece of correspondence. I had only agreed with her secretary to postpone the surgery (this was during Consultant’s extended holiday: I was the first case upon her return) because – and feel free to call me cautious – I had thought Consultant might like to be aware that my abdominal arteries and veins are probably somewhere fairly unusual. Her secretary had assured me that she had spoken to her, and simply re-scheduling the Lap was not an option: she wanted to see me in clinic. Furthermore, it has only been by utilising a judicious mixture of furious complaint and wheedling charm that I am not waiting until the end of April for today’s appointment.

I toyed with the idea of remonstrating loudly about the pitiful miscommunication, the complete waste of her time, my time, my diesel, a morning’s childcare costs, and five months of my dwindling amount of child-bearing life, but I couldn’t see much actual benefit in it. I’ve always been a firm believer in making the person cutting your belly open (whilst driving a camera up your fanny) like you as much as humanly possible.

So I sat schtum, and grimly waited to be handed another form. ‘Her list’s only a couple of months,’ I thought. ‘You can cope with that. Cool blue oceans!’ or some such shit.

She stopped scribbling away and looked up.

‘Last time you were here we spoke about your weight. (We did. She told me it would be good to lose some. I agreed. I know an anaesthetist well. I know how tricky it can be to knock out fat people safely. I am totally on board with the losing-weight-is-good concept. But I… didn’t. She hadn’t seemed quite rabid enough about it, I suppose.) Now, before I put you on my waiting list, I think we need to get your BMI down.’

‘Wh… what?’

‘Just hop on these scales, please. I’ll take a kilo off for your boots.’

They were kind scales. Even in my boots, I weighed 4lbs less than I did 3 days ago standing stark naked, having squeezed out every drop of pee I could.

She stabbed around on a BMI chart and merrily announced that I would only have to lose a stone before she would accept me for surgery. Or, to put it another way, I’d only have to lose a stone in order to return to exactly where I was last September, when I weighed exactly the same as I do now.

I’m never wearing this skirt again. It obviously does nothing for me.

‘It’s only a stone!’ she said, evidently noting that my features had clouded over. ‘But you need to get down to at least 88kg please.’

She tucked my surgery form firmly back into my folder, ignoring my outstretched paw.

‘Give (secretary) a call as soon as you lose the weight; she’ll find this form in your notes and put you on the waiting list straight away!’

I thanked her through gritted teeth, and marched out of clinic.

And came home.

And examined a BMI chart.

Her chart must have been as kind as her scales, because 88kg is still a BMI of 32 and unless I insist on using her set of scales again, I have to lose two stone, not one.

I am now a sobbing, angry, frustrated, premenstrual fat woman with a growling empty stomach.

Do Not Approach.

26 Responses

  1. WTF? Are they unfamiliar with consistency? Maybe you could (anonymously) firebomb her car?

    • Whatever I wore last visit was obviously slimming!
      I’m not cross with her for wanting to operate on a vaguely healthy person; I’d rather not die on the table, after all.

      But… yeah. Galling.

  2. oh man, that’s really rubbish, I’m so sorry they have messed you around like this. Is there nothing you can do? Can you not talk to her about it?

    • I could… but I’d ultimately be doing myself a disservice, because the fact is: I really do NEED to lose that weight. Before surgery if she says so (she didn’t weigh me last time, but she did know my BMI was 33) and definitely before pregnancy.

      It’s just so galling to fight my way to the top of a ladder and slide back down a snake to further down than I started from! And the next ladder is called the Gym and No Nice Food and it sucks.

  3. I…well…that is…there are no words. I can only imagine how furiously frustrating this must be for you; there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LIKE having someone tell you something about yourself that you already know and feel bad about…and to have it be someone in a position of authority, withholding something you so badly NEED in order to accomplish a major life goal…oh honey. I wish there was something I could do other than be absolutely fucking furious on your behalf!

  4. I am upset right alongside you, and also at about the same BMI with a stint as my sister’s matron of honor hanging over my head for September. Count me in as a gym and no nice food buddy.

  5. Gah.
    (I seem to be saying that a lot these days)

  6. Oh buggering bollocks. Are you prepared to lie to the secretary in a vaguely realistic period of time and get back on the list so you in fact dont waste time waiting after you have lost what she wants? If that makes sense.

  7. This is really, really bad of me, but I have this vision of you stuck like Winnie the Pooh in the rabbit hole and Christopher Robin shaking his head saying you’ll just have to wait until you slim down. Tra la la. That episode always annoys me- I keep thinking, get a damn shovel and dig him out, already.

    An occasional smackeral of honey at least!

  8. Aaaargh! Aaaaargh! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!

    What else could I say?

    I am ranting and raving about something annoying here, totally unrelated to anything to do with your situation. Not medical, not to do with babies, not to do with weight, not to do with doctors. BUT reading your post has allowed me to flip my own lid, and I know I needed to do that. I have been ranting in symphony with you. Against the injustice of the world.

    Does that make you feel any better?

    Aaaaaaargh for us both!

  9. I have to say I ranted and raved about my doc cancelling my lap for no good reason (he wanted to go to a conference) and he reinstated it. So I am generally a fan of not sitting and taking it but kicking up a fuss. May I make a fuss on your behalf? Happy to draft the right stroppy letter or call the secretary and pretend to be you?

    And yes, I would do as betty suggests and call in about a month to say you have lost the weight.

  10. I’m with Betty M myself. Even down to the buggering bollocks. Not surprised you’re hopping mad.

  11. I have to say– I would have gone absolutely MENTAL on her. It is unfair from every possible perspective. I would have flattened her tires on the way out for good measure.


  12. OH NO. That is SO maddening. ARG. ARG. ARG!

    Yes I think lies are called for. For the greater good, you see, as per Betty’s plan..

  13. Like she couldn’t have told you in September!
    Like she thought it would melt by itself during winter?
    Shall we all aim for that Dublin Womens Mini Marathon this summer? (I was so looking forward to brownies, but we still have time to work on our spicy Thai celery surprise recipe)

  14. PS. I loved your contribution to the xbox video!

  15. Fuckity fuckity fuck fuck,, arse tits and bollocks.

    I am sorry, my friend.


  16. I could scream on your behalf. How incredibly head bangingly frustrating and maddening.

  17. that’s…incredibly annoying. as Valery said, if the weight needed to be lost anyway and she knew that, then she could’ve bloody well told you before. a phone call is not a difficult thing to make.

    Off topic, but Harry looked very cute in Xbox’s video. Bless:)

  18. NO! How incredibly frustrating.

    Bastards. (The world in general).

  19. BMI is scientific bollocks….. any doctor that relies on it solely to judge a person’s health….

  20. What bullshit.

  21. You are so patient. I would have stabbed her with her pen and then danced about in her entrails. Really, how utterly totally frustrating for you in every way. How miserable.

  22. Ah, it’s so sweet of you all to be cross!

  23. I’m so cross because DEAR GOD BUT I EMPATHISE.

    But seriously, her problem with telling you this in September was? AAAAAAAAAARGH.

    Never mind the whole ‘it’s quite hard to diet and exercise with all this effing bleeding and pain and suchlike being so knackering and disruptive, don’t you think?’ part of it.

    Did I say AAAAAAAAAARGH? Oh, yes, so I did.

    Hugs. Wish this was easy. Wish this wasn’t miserable and depressing. Wish lettuce was more satisfying, somehow.

  24. […] from her following the previous clinic appointment that had incensed me so much (upon re-reading that post, I see that I expressed myself about as badly as usual. My frustration was predominantly directed […]

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