Doctor w/ ClipboardI’m taking this post from a friend’s Facebook wall as he recently shared. His daughter has been amazing at battling some medical issues and the story below is about the experiences shared by a woman who relies on the same type of IV feedings (TPN) that my friend’s daughter relies on for nutrition. I share this post because I want to challenge people to just think before they open their mouths and give their opinions or share their thoughts on a subject. Be aware that you may (and more than likely don’t) know all the details about a situation. The facts you’re not aware of could be (and probably are) crucial to having a clear understanding of the reality you see in front of you through your limited and biased perception of another person’s life.

I don’t want people to not talk to each other and not interact, but do so from a level understanding of what you may be sharing. Unclear about something? Respectfully and sincerely ask someone for insight and more information. Don’t assume you know history that you’ve never been associated with in your life. Enough talking by me. Read the shared story and think twice (or more!) before you open your mouth next time.

“I stopped at the grocery on my way home tonight and set a new record for the number of people who felt the need to offer commentary on my appearance and weight (it’s usually only 1 or 2 people per trip – today was ridiculous). For the record, I’m the heaviest I’ve been in well over a year AND I’m wearing horizontal stripes. I’ve done all I can do to keep fellow shoppers from having to suffer through looking at me while shopping. I’m sorry I can’t shop in the middle of the night so they don’t have to see what is in my cart.

[Holding box of cookies in one hand and doughnuts in the other, pondering which mess and sugar-high I will regret the least when giving them to my students tomorrow as a reward for surviving ISTEP]

Random Man I Don’t Know: “You need to buy 10 of each of those and maybe you’ll get a little meat on you. Men like women with curves.”

Me: *** ignore him and walk away to find less-judgmental selection of cookies ***

[Broken-hearted in the Jello aisle at the discontinuation of peach Jello, I pick up box of sugar-free cherry Jello and realize I grabbed the wrong one – reach for full-strength Jello…]

Random Lady I Don’t Know: “Fad diets aren’t good for you. You’re already too thin. You need to buy some real food, not Jello. You need to shop the perimeter of the store and only eat real foods and a lot of meat to fatten you up a little bit. Stay out of the middle aisles with all the fake food.”

Me: *** Resist urge to point out she’s in the Jello aisle with me, ignore her, and walk away. ***

[Pick up carton of skim milk]

Random Store Employee: “That’s the last carton of skim milk because we’re waiting on a truck. You don’t need skim milk, so why don’t you buy the 4% and leave that for someone who needs diet milk.”

Me: *** Put the skim milk in my cart and walk away. ***

[Pick up container of fat-free cottage cheese. Turn around and wait. Look at every person in aisle. Wait for the comments. Keep waiting. Nothing happens. Determine cottage cheese is random-person-approved. Put cottage cheese in my cart.]

[Pick up case of bottled water.]

Random store employee: “That water weighs more than you do. Let me lift it for you.”

Me: *** Refuse and then ‘accidentally’ stomp on his toe when he tries to pull it out of my hands despite my refusal. ***

[Pick up case of Diet Root Beer.]

Random Woman I Don’t Know: “I can tell you have anorexia. My friend’s daughter had it, too. You shouldn’t drink diet soda. It just makes your anorexia worse. Why don’t you give me your phone number and I’ll get the name of the place my friend’s daughter went for treatment. I can call you with the name so you can go there!”

Me: *** At this point, I lost it. I’m wearing horizontal stripes, damn it, and I’m allowed to walk in public with, gasp, my body! This woman was the last straw. ***

Me: “Oh my gosh, are you a doctor?!?”

Random Woman I Don’t Know: “No, I ju…”

Me: *** interrupting *** “I’m so glad you’re a doctor!! I need your help! My IV pump settings are messed up and I can’t reach my doctor to fix them!” *** yank IV pump and bag of IV fluids out of my purse where they were hidden and shove them in her face *** “Please help me reset this! I’m so glad you are a doctor and stopped me to offer your medical advice. You are my hero!”

Random Woman I Don’t Know: “I’m not a doctor. Oh, you poor thing. You have cancer. I’m so sorry!”

Me: “Oh my God! I HAVE CANCER?!?! I HAD NO IDEA! Oh, God! Am I going to die? Are you an angel from God sent to tell me I’m dying?”

Random Woman I Don’t Know: “No! I thought you had cancer because… well, I… why do you have that IV?”

Me: “You’re the doctor. You tell me. You already diagnosed anorexia and cancer. Surely you can diagnose this, too. Or you could mind your own business.”

Me: *** walks away. resists urge to go find all the other people and tell them off, too ***

[Bag with skim milk falls over onto the floor in the self check-out lane and it busted open all over the floor. I’m not sure which one of us that karma was aimed for, but Random Store Employee who told me not to buy it is who came to clean up the mess.]

I’ve ALWAYS ignored and walked away every single time I go to the grocery alone. (Every. Single. Time. At least once every trip!) I think I’m going to start being the not-bigger person from now on. That lady’s horrified face when I shoved my IV pump into her hands was worth every degrading comment I’ve received over my entire lifetime! Can I start walking up to random people at the grocery and offering them medical and nutrition advice? Pretty please? It’s only fair.”

Hopefully that helps someone in the future.