There’s a perfectly logical reason for people not wanting to visit the doctor for their yearly checkup. Doctors have a thing about running tests and tests have a way of revealing all sorts of nasty things: high blood pressure, dangerously elevated cholesterol levels, diabetes, arthritis, clogged arteries, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers, et cetera. It’s horrible, the realities that people must face.
What isn’t logical is Eliana Westerfall’s reason for wanting to skip this year’s physical. Eliana’s afraid of being told she’s fat. Like, “Weren’t you a size eight last year? How’d you go to a size sixteen in only twelve months?” fat. As in, “You do realize you’re in the obese category now, right?” fat. I mean, we’re talking, “You are one thin wafer away from exploding like that guy in Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life” fat.
She knows she’s put on a lot of weight. She doesn’t need her doctor to confirm it; her clothes have already done an excellent job on that front. She also doesn’t need the lecture, the disapproving looks, or the tsk-tsk’s. Most of all, she could do without having to explain how it all happened.
It all started when Eliana’s father went into cardiac arrest. He survived, but he lost the ability to swallow due to the length of time he required a breathing tube. She had to decide: let doctors perform a tracheotomy or let him go. She had to be able to look herself in the mirror and honestly say that she did everything she could to save him, so she said yes. All that did was land him in long term care for the rest of his life. He expected her up at the hospital every night, so it was nothing but fast food until he passed away five months later.
Work didn’t help her stress levels either. There was a younger, cheaper version of her waiting to swoop in and save the day should the pressure Eliana was under at home cause her to slip up. Add a couple of demanding teenagers into the mix and she had the perfect recipe for…well, everything. Disaster, chicken parmesan, ice cream cake, deep fried cocolate bars, and every other high fat, high carb dish.
Instead of dealing with her problems she buried them, under twenty-four hundred calories of junk day after day. Admitting that aloud would be akin to strapping a neon ‘I’m a failure. A big fat failure!’ sign to her chest.
Now do you see why she wants to skip her yearly physical? She’ll see her doctor one day, just as soon as she loses the weight. Or when her weight problem leads to something that lands her in the hospital and he pops into her room while on rounds. Here’s hoping it’s the former.