They have only one diagnosis

by Linda Field, CCWF
I am fat. I’ve been fat since I was 13; I am now 48. Over the past ten years, the medical department of California Department of Corrections (CDC) has elaborately referred to me as obese, grossly obese and morbidly obese. Fat. That is all they see. The diagnosis ends there.
I have arthritis. It’s because I’m fat. Lose weight and I will lose arthritis.
I am borderline diabetic and have been for 22 years. Rather, I was until entering the CDC system ten years ago when I was cured. The cure: I was told the disease didn’t exist; either you were diabetic or you weren’t – there was no such thing as borderline. In December of 1996, after a glucose tolerance test, I was once again borderline diabetic. The cause – fat. Dr. Touya said that I didn’t have a “nanny” to take care of me, do it myself. He stated that I needed to lose 5 pounds a week to cure the problem. There were no diet foods like raw vegetables, simply don’t eat.
I have high blood pressure. Of course this is because I’m fat. Once again I would be cured if I lost weight.
Ten years of medical charting and everyone assumes my “illnesses” were due to obesity. Dr. Touya decided to give me a psychiatric referral. After all, I must be psychotic to be fat, per Dr. Juan Touya.
Discrimination is what I’m fighting. How can anyone who calls himself a physician be so single minded – so blind? Must CDC always take the easy way out? Is CDC medicine to remain in the dark ages?
The medical society has recognized that some people are meant to be fat. The yo-yo dieting, losing and always gaining back more, is unhealthy. Many believe this is more stressful to the body than the fat.
I have had two EKGs, one in 1992, the other in December of 1996. While the EKG lists bundle branch blockage and possible arterial enlargement, Dr. Touya claimed it was perfectly normal. He claimed I was just fat. He claims I was argumentative and belligerent because I requested a different doctor, one who would listen to my complaints.
Repeatedly, I have complained of not being able to take a breath or that my breath catches, dizziness, and disorientation. The answer is that I’m just fat. Why has no one run any tests to rule out a heart condition when I have told them of my extensive family history of heart disease? Why is it assumed that the cause is fat? I can spell. Break down the word assume and you have ASS-U-ME. Maybe CDC is an ASS but this layman inmate isn’t.
I can accept that all my symptoms for the past ten years are due to fat, but I would do so after ruling out other possibilities.
Are CDC doctors so archaic that they practice medicine 30 years behind the times, or do they just not care? Sometimes I wonder if we are really in California in 1997, or is it that we’re part of a mental conditioning experiment performed in a Nazi concentration camp in the early 1940s. Many CDC physicians maintain a neo-Nazi mentality. [To them] inmates are sub-human, dime-a-dozen, and just trying to get out of working.
If you report to medical [sick call], terrified because you lost control – disoriented, right arm temporarily immobile, clammy, panting, unable to catch your breath – you might sit for two and a half hours until an RN takes your temperature and blood pressure, pronounces you normal and charges you $5.00. If you’re lucky, you might be excused from work for several days. If you return again, scared because you don’t understand what happened, you might be told, “If you don’t want to do your work, get a job change.” You might receive another lay-in [excuse from work] for 5 days. You still haven’t seen a doctor, you’re still scared to death, you’re still just fat. (This occurred Monday, 2/24/97 at approximately 6:45 a.m. MTA Alipo brought me inside. Also MTA Dobson. RN Nichols saw me at approximately 7:15 a.m. I saw RN Nichols again on 2/26/97.)
Where does it end? When will someone look into my eyes and see me – not just the fat? Hopefully it will be before I need a fat coffin because I had heart failure or a stroke due to fat. Hopefully, before I die at the hands of CDC medical, with their state of the art equipment that isn’t used – because I’m just fat.