The MRI I Almost Had, And the Rape I Almost Didn't Mention

They weighed me at the hospital yesterday. I'm 283 pounds. The lightest I've been in a year, by at least 30 pounds.

The nurse congratulated me when I mentioned the weight loss. I said, "That's not worth celebrating. Relief of my symptoms would be worth celebrating".

"I'm sorry for snapping," I apologized. "It's just... Every medical professional I've seen has focused on my weight instead of how I feel. My weight is one of my symptoms, not the cause of my problems. I don't care how heavy I am. I like how I look. I hate how I feel".

He nodded, trying to avoid angering the fat lady any futher. 

After asking a few routine questions about whether I'd eaten in the last 10 hours, whether I was wearing anything metal, the usual, the nurse informed me that we'd have to do a "dry run" to make sure I wasn't too big for the MRI machine.

"I thought the weight limit for these was at least 400 pounds?"

"Your weight won't affect the machine. It's your size".

This hadn't occurred to me. I'd heard horror stories about people my size not being accomodated by medical equipment. I was almost, but not quite too big for a massage therapy table a couple times. But I didn't think utter disregard for fat peoples' health was this pervasive. 

"I'm the smallest I've been in a while. Let's try it".

I limped to the MRI machine (I had to leave my metal cane outside and hadn't been offerred a hand, which should have been a red flag) and swung my body onto the bed. It was narrow, but I fit okay, if I crossed my arms over my chest. 

Without warning, I heard a violent buzz and the bed was lifted multiple feet into the air, into the machine. The walls of the MRI pressed into my chest and stomach. I could barely breathe. 

"I don't fit. Let me out please," I said, trying to take a deep breath. But my body kept sliding back further into the tunnel, my stomach pressed hard against the machine. 

"Hey! Let me out now! I don't fit". I tried to bang on the walls, but my arms were pressed too tightly to my body. All I could do was yell until the technician finally relented and let me out. 

I rushed out of the room, grabbing my cane and trying not to cry. 

When I reached the waiting room, I shook my head and told my mom, "medical devices aren't built for people like me. People who are slightly larger than average. A huge percentage of the population... I could have cancer or something in my small intestine and they can't see it because their machines aren't made for people my size. I could die because society says I'm too big to recieve adequate medical care!"

My mom turned white and started to pat my back. "I'm sure it's not cancer. They'd have found it," she soothed. "We'll figure it out".

This whole time, the technician was blabbing, but I was tuning him out. I didn't care what he had to say. He wasn't sensitive to my damaged ankle, or my anxiety disorders (which I'd disclosed to him) or to my size. 

I kept ranting, a mixture of rage and fear and humiliation running through my veins: "And he--" I pointed at the technician, "kept trying to squeeze me into the machine. I kept saying no. And then shouting no. All I could think was that I'd die in that machine, and about how this is exactly how I felt when I was raped".

The room went silent.

~

I'm not the only person this has happened to.

I won't be the last fat person who was denied medical care because of their size. 

I won't be the last survivor of rape who's triggered by an idiotic man taking "no" as an invitation.

I won't be the last fat, disabled sexual assault survivor, either. (And that's a hell of a unique intersection). 

Something has to change. And until spoonies start advocating for ourselves, and fat people demand adequate care, and women start speaking the fuck up, the world will keep going, just the way it has been. 

And someone else will lay in bed at home in the fetal position, praying for a higher dose of Tramadol and to erase all the memories of abuse they've faced-- at the hands of lovers and medical professionals alike.

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