I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths. Stay calm and collected, I told myself. A nurse came out to the lobby: "Veronica?" Yeah, people always call me Veronica. "Veronique," I corrected her. "Veronique? Well that's unique." Yeah, I get that a lot too. "We're going to begin by weighing you." Oh dear. That is my least favourite thing to do…ever. I have been basically 63kg for years. I may be a size 4, but I weigh 63kg. The only time I ever weighed less than 60 kg was when I lived on cereal and salad and ran 100 km per week. Nothing is worth sacrificing cheese and carbs, sorry.
My calm and collected self became tachycardic again because now I was worried she'd lecture me about my BMI and tell me I'm overweight and need to stop eating anything with flavor.
After stepping off the scale, I sat in the office, fake reading the magazines, waiting for the doctor just getting more uneasy. I hadn't thought, until then, that this is how our patients feel. That they come into appointments a little nervous. Yet it makes sense: you are entering a space where some of your deepest, darkest secrets and fears are out in the open. To have a successful encounter, you need to be honest – that isn't something that comes naturally or easily to most of us. For one primary reason: we worry about being judged.
I hope that my own fear of being judged will prevent me from judging others, and somehow help alleviate the butterflies in your bellies as you sit and wait. If you're nervous, remember that we've all been there, so even just saying at the start of your appointment: "sorry, I'm just a little bit nervous," can make a world of difference. That's what I did and it helped. She was kind and considerate. She didn't judge and she didn't mention my BMI, but rather commented on how I was doing well juggling so many personal and professional responsibilities. She connected and eased any tension in the room, making it a safe place for me to return. I hope in the future that I can do the same.