Saturday, January 16, 2010

"We're cutting you loose."

This is what my ankle doctor said to me at my final post-op appointment earlier this week. "Everything looks great, it sounds great, you can opt to have physical therapy or you can give it more time, you can start working out or you can give it more time. It's all up to you."

I thrilled to the sound of that, because I am a good deal happier when things concerning me are also up to me. If they are not up to me, I try very hard to make them become up to me PDQ. And hilarity ensues. Or not.

We chatted then about working out. "Three times a week would be optimum for you to work up to," he said.

This statement was so reasonable, so grounded in actual reality, that I nearly swooned. If I had a dollar for every time some scrubs-clad nimrod with a sheepskin and a stethoscope has chastised me, "YOU SHOULD BE EXERCISING EVERY DAY (invisible hot-pink neon sign flashing: you fat, lazy sack of skin)!" I could afford to take a couple of luxury cruises every year for the rest of my natural life on Earth.

Refraining from any personal declarations of undying love, I then asked, "Can you talk to some other doctors I know? Can I give you their numbers? Please?" He laughed, but nodded too. I expanded on my experiences with such doctors and he rolled his eyes and appeared visibly annoyed. "I don't know why they do that," he said.

He related that his wife wanted them to start doing cardio together and that he had agreed, saying, "Great, I'm all for it. Just not every day." His wife persisted-- positive they should do cardio every day--but he stood his ground and said, "No way. We'll burn out."


Most people do not exercise every day. Not even thin people. Many thin people actually never exercise at all. For instance, I happen to be married to a man who has never in his life--not once--exercised on purpose. Yes, he has an active job, but it has not always been thus--and yet, he has always been thin. I know many others like him, just as I know many large people who exercise regularly and remain large.

Exercise is a wonderful thing--in theory if not always in practice. It has a multitude of well-documented and rather obvious health benefits, and we should all be doing it regularly to the best of our ability--but that doesn't mean it needs to happen every day. Furthermore, exercising every day is not a realistic expectation-- particularly if you hate, dread, and have to force yourself to do it.

My ankle doctor and I agreed on this very thing. In those exact words. It was an absolutely lovely conversation that validated several thousand moments of frustration I have weathered throughout my entire life. It was definitely worth the co-pay! I joked (with Freud's seed of truth heavily present) that one shouldn't exercise every day for the simple fact that one should have not exercising to look forward to, and he agreed with that, too. Sometimes one is coming down with a cold, has a thousand other things to do, or doesn't want to go out in the horizontal rain. Sometimes one just doesn't freakin' want to!

This is not a moral failing, this not wanting to exercise every day. I suspect I am not the only person who would be happy to receive external validation of this fact from a certified medical professional. Whether I weigh 98 pounds or 398, I have the right to say, "You know what? I don't feel like it today."

So--doctors, haters, clueless wonders--put that in your juice box and suck it.

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Seattle, WA, United States
This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other
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