Monday, November 19, 2007

Am I really that fat?

I was seeing a very nice lady in follow-up of her hypertension the other day, and I'd just finished checking her blood pressure and heart rate. We had left the exam room and walked back into the adjoining office; we both sat down and we were chatting while I finished up my SOAP note on her chart. I don't remember what we were talking about, but out of nowhere (or so it seemed to me) she asked, "So, are you pregnant?"

For the record, I am 100%, without a doubt, definitely NOT pregnant.

It would be one thing if this was the first time I've been asked this, but this was the third time in the last few years. I vividly remember the other two times, as follows:

The first time someone asked me if I was pregnant was in med school. I was on call for pediatrics, and the resident I was working with that night asked me, "When are you due?" I sputtered a bit and said, "Excuse me?" She turned a ripe shade of pink and tried to take it back, but the damage was done. However, it all worked out to my advantage in the end, when she was too embarrassed to phone me to do any admissions that night. (It's also quite possible that, given the slim numbers of pediatric patients in the hospital where I trained, there were no admissions; I prefer to believe it played out my way.)

The second time I was asked was a rather sad moment. I was doing peds anesthesia and went to the ICU with my staff to get our little patient. This poor kid had some respiratory compromise as a result of a congenital syndrome, and his mom was sitting alone the corner of the room, looking distraught. I asked her if everything was alright. She looked at me and said, "I just found out that I'm pregnant again and I don't know what to do. I'm at the hospital all the time and I don't have much help." She stared at me for a moment and asked, "Are you pregnant too?" I made some lame joke about eating too much dessert, but I felt really bad for her. Here she was, in the PICU, watching her one sick kid get wheeled off to the OR, worrying about how she could possibly look after another one. Makes a pudgy tummy seem like less of a big deal.

I've always said it's best not to ask a woman if she is pregnant unless you are fully gloved and gowned and she is pushing. But let me revise that. Do not ask. Period. Except perhaps in the following circumstances:
-You are seeing her for abdominal pain and need to rule out an ectopic
-You are prescribing her medications
-You are sending her for an xray
-She is wearing one of the following shirts and obviously wants you to comment on it:

(you can buy all these, AND even more offensive ones, at

All that being said, yes people, I am starting to get the hint. I need to go to the gym, do some crunches, and stop eating all that chocolate. Got it.


Megan said...

People should never, EVER, ask if a woman is pregnant.

Perhaps I can inspire you: I've lost 45 pounds since June just by counting calories and doing my regular walking. It has been easy. Really. I will always be curvy and probably won't be "normal" on those annoying tables, but it feels good to know I can do it.

Megan (a regular reader in Yellowknife)

Elaine said...

It is also worth thinking about needing some protection from extreme weather conditions?

Anonymous said...

Well, I laughed and then I thought... wouldn't it be neat if you were pregnant!
Your Mom (only I can say this!)

Couz said...

Puh-leeze. You've never looked pregnant. But coming from someone who once spent a lot of time with you, when you get tired you slouch a bit. Maybe it's just a posture thing? Are you working too hard?

I feel I can say this since I've always struggled with MY posture. The slouch usually wins. :-)

And don't rush. Pregnancy is WAY overrated.

medstudentitis said...

You don't look pregnant at all in that picture of you on vacation! I love that luck of the irish shirt though, next person who has a bun in the oven gets one from me!

Shawn Johnston said...

Oh my god, thats great. I am so happy for you guys. I cant wait to tell everyone.

The MSILF said...

Do you by any chance use one of those belt pouches? Or keep a ton of equipment on your belt? For some reason, I guess because they change theaters all day, all the anesthesiologists here do that...because in the pictures...hard to believe.