Weight Loss Surgery - a rant

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02-24-2013, 10:24 AM
Yesterday afternoon I was squirreling around CNN.com, and came across an iReport about a father and son who had lost a lot of weight after their lapbands. Inspirational - detailed the lessons they've learned and so on.

And then my mistake - I read the comments. in the middle of all the criticisms was a series of post from a man who identified himself as a navy physician who works in an ER. He referred to the surgery as 'fat boy' surgery, and stated several times that people who have it are losers and lazy.

The more I thought about his statements, the angrier I got. Thank goodness [for him!] that CNN would have made me sign up in order to post a response [i had other things to do].

but bottom line, IMO, this physicians should be brought in front of the ethics committeee at his facility, and the state licensing board. The blatant contempt he showed for obese patients and his complete lack of knowledge about the discipline and commitment required to succeed with any of the surgeries violate several ethical and licensing requirements:

1. professionalism
2. commitment to lifelong learning
3. respect for patients and a commitment to acting in their best interests

However, this isn't the real reason for me posting this rant. Actually, it's more about US, and how we handle the healthcare professionals we come across after we have the surgery.

We must do our part by following the eating and exercise rules, but we also have every right to expect that our healthcare providers learn what's involved. They don't have to love it - but they do need to respect the choice and provide appropriate care, even if it means that they refer us to someone else. It's up to us to stand up for ourselves in appointments.

If a doctor, nurse, or anyone else judges us for having the surgery, we need to find a different office for our healthcare unless they commit to learning about the surgery and its followup requirements.

02-24-2013, 03:32 PM
Goodness, Jiffy, your post hit a raw nerve with me as well.

One of the lessons I've learned as a post-op is just how important it is to be my own health advocate. Maybe it was my ignorance or my age, but in the past, I just assumed my healthcare providers could be trusted carte blanche to do the right thing for me. However, as a post-op, it has become painfully clear that many health care providers just do not understand WLS (and even basic nutritional/supplemental) care. I've had negative experiences with a pharmacist, lab technicians, an ER nurse and doctor (oh boy-I'm still angry about that experience), and even the gastroentologist who performed two of my EGDs. And, before people think I must be a pain to deal with, the experiences all had to do with their ignorance about RNY care. For example, the pharmacist REFUSED to place in my file that I could no longer take NSAIDS. She said that RNY patients had no problems with NSAIDS and that I didn't know what I was talking about.

It is one of the reasons that I would encourage people who are considering WLS to truly evaluate their decision; they MUST learn about their new anatomy and their new nutritional needs. Heck, there are even nutritionists who advise postops take Flintstone vitamins and Tums, neither of which are good sources for the vitamins postops need.

I really try, btw, not to read comments on articles about WLS articles. They almost always leave me grumbling.

By the way, my PCP, who I really do respect, advised that I "wear more flannel" to deal with my Raynauds. Sometimes I just want to bang my head against a wall, lol.

02-24-2013, 04:16 PM
WEAR. MORE. FLANNEL.... wtf????? I have a pair of lightweight stretchy gloves right next to me right now! i have socks plus compression stockings and heavy slippers on... what does a flannel shirt have to do with the constriction of the tiny blood vessels in fingers and toes????? you can keep your core warm and toasty, but that doesn't help the extremity constriction!

02-24-2013, 06:17 PM

It truly was an absurd piece of advice. She did send me for some blood tests (lupus and thyroid), but otherwise thinks its just a matter of staying warmer. I'm surprised she didn't recommend I move to a warmer climate, lol.

02-25-2013, 11:59 AM
Was he actually a doctor or was he just some internet quacker with nothing better to do than explore his fantasy life?

I went through all of this ten years ago when my dad had the surgery. I was young enough that I was seriously wounded by the things I read and heard from insensitive people. WLS is one of the most misunderstood things out there - and the overweight are the last group it's okay to discriminate against.

Zeitgiest - Your story is one of the MANY examples of why everyone should make sure they are involved in their own care. I was taught from a young age that doctors were not gods, and while I've never assumed I know more than they do, I do know my own body. My mother was nearly killed because a doctor she saw refused to believe she was allergic to lidocaine because "no one is". She went in to anaphylactic shock and was accused of having a panic attack - until she turned blue.

02-26-2013, 02:31 PM
Although this may not be the point of your post I'm getting tired of physicians saying it's just a need to exercise more. I've exercised a lot and need the extra help which is why I'm considering surgery. Thanks for sharing and getting my blood flowing, I needed that:)

02-26-2013, 09:02 PM
radiojane - i hope your mom filed a complaint! trust me, I'm usually very easy going and willing to forgive mistakes, but what that doc did is unconscionable. and happyfat - if your doc would look at recent publications, he/she would find that the current thinking is that exercise will help withi MAINTAINING weight loss, but not so much with losing weight. It's important for other reasons - like cardiovascular health - but it's not a weightloss strategy all on its own.

glad you got your blood flowing.

And my buddy Jen - is your doc willing to pay your heating bill? This whole raynaud's thing hit me about 6 months post-op. I was in the emergency room because something had gotten stuck - and i DO MEAN STUCK. i'd been throwing up for 30+ hours and couldn't keep water down.

A nice surgical resident came in and gave me a quick once-over, and noticed my bright blue fingers - down to the second joint. She asked if i was cold - and i answered that i wasn't. She said - well, look at that Raynaud's you have going on! she added another blanket and tucked my hands under everything and told me to not let them out!

As for the blockage [because i know someone out there is reading this and wondering what they heck i'm talking about], i spent a very uncomfortable night in the hospital while they rehydrated me with IV fluids so that i could visit the endoscopist in the morning. He was a hoot. The last I saw him, he was running out of the room saying 'a vegetable bezoar!!! we've never had one of these! i have to go tell everyone!!!!' I'm so glad I was able to make his day :dizzy:

but seriously, i hadn't been peeling my fruit - and since it was summer and peaches and apricots were in seasons, the peels had gotten all balled up. yuck!

02-26-2013, 09:30 PM
I work with many doctors. I wish so many people did not think they're all geniuses, and take everything they say as gospel. They are human. And many of them are dumb. And, dude, NEVER read the comments.

02-26-2013, 10:19 PM
And, dude, NEVER read the comments.

Ha! This made me laugh. Good advice indeed.

I can remember my first Raynaud's encounter, which was about 2 or 3 months postop. I came into school, walked into a friend's classroom, and asked, "Does this seem normal to you?" My right hand was completely devoid of color. My friend FREAKED out and wanted me to go to the ER immediately; I was just perplexed. In the midst of the conversation another colleague chimed in and said, "Oh. That's Raynaud's. Put your hand under warm water."

On another note, I had to have a third EGD today. The first two were stricture related. This was a check-up because on the second EGD, he said I had Barrett's and needed a follow-up in a year. Long story short, apparently the GERD I had preop significantly damaged my esophagus and I will forever have regular check-ups and biopsies to make sure the cells don't become cancerous. I also learned that my difficulties with swallowing some days are a result of this. Here I thought it was normal to not always be able to swallow pills after WLS; nope...it is a result of Barretts.

Just another reason I am so happy I had WLS. I'll deal with the cold digits (and wear flannel I guess, lol), but just not having to deal with acid reflux on a daily basis is such a relief. I had forgotten just how debilitating that had become in the months prior to surgery. Those incidents led to permanent damage, but at least I know it won't get worse. Now I just need to manage the damage.

02-27-2013, 12:07 AM
oh good heavens, Jen... Barrett's is no joke! i hope there's something that can be done to make it easier to swallow!