Friday, 31 October 2014

Fat Woman and the gentle rubbing

Personal Trainer has gone and qualified as a sports masseuse. Hurrah for Personal Trainer!

Fat Woman was made quite unwell by the thought of taking her trousers off in front of Personal Trainer, but she did concede to give his new sports massage service a go when she reactivated her RSI (repetitive strain injury). Fat Woman knows she has triggered her RSI when the muscles in her arms and neck feel tighter and tighter and won't respond to stretching or foam rollering. Sometimes Osteopath sorts this out for Fat Woman, but Fat Woman had credit to use up with Personal Trainer. Fat Woman was also a bit tired of explaining to people that she needs accommodation for being both fat and pregnant so when Personal Trainer said she could sit on a Swiss ball during treatment Fat Woman was sold on the idea.

Personal Trainer used a lavender oil, which was a great improvement on the pine scent that Fat Woman's last masseuse had used. Being covered in pine oil makes Fat Woman feel like a newly cleaned toilet for the rest of the day. In a previous discussion about base oils Personal Trainer had told Fat Woman that he couldn't remember exactly what the base oil he used was made up with, but if Fat Woman was worried about sensitivities he could use baby oil. Fat Woman has a pretty good idea why people without babies have baby oil in the house and would rather avoid being in any situation where Personal is putting hands covered in baby oil upon her, never mind her sensitivities.

Personal Trainer explained to Fat Woman that it's very hard to make a sports massage relaxing when someone needs some work doing, but it's extremely hard when someone is sitting up rather than lying down. Fat Woman didn't want to lie flat on her back because currently it makes her hip joint hurt. Anyway, the idea of a professional sports massage being relaxing is utter poppycock in Fat Woman's opinion. If a massage is relaxing you probably didn't really need one, or whoever had their hands on you didn't work hard enough.

Personal Trainer certainly worked hard at massaging Fat Woman. Starting at Fat Woman's hands, Personal Trainer worked his way up Fat Woman's arms to the back of her neck. Fat Woman concedes that Personal Trainer's work is thorough and extremely effective. The major symptom of Fat Woman's RSI is tight fascia, and Personal Trainer certainly addressed all that plus many trigger points. Trigger points are dealt with by pressing on the knot until the client screams that the pain has reached an eight, and then allowing the pain to die away to a four, and then ramping up the pain again. At least, that's Fat Woman's understanding of the process.

Fat Woman has been practising hypnobirthing to help her deal with pain during childbirth. Self hypnosis doesn't help much when someone keeps drawing your attention back to how much what they are doing hurts on a scale of one to ten. Still, Fat Woman was encouraged that she was able to cope with the pain visited up on her by Personal Trainer, mostly by keeping up the regular deep breathing, and thinks that childbirth surely can't be that bad after all.

It did occur to Fat Woman that really she wasn't really appreciating the finer details of the moment, when a young handsome man in a tight t-shirt and short shorts was rubbing oil into her and she was trying to imagine herself alone and relaxed on a beautiful beach somewhere else entirely, but all Fat Woman can say is that such things are completely different in reality.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Fat Woman and the limited choices

Fat Woman went for a 36 week scan of Small Baby. Fat Woman didn't really need a scan, but is being monitored for diabetes, as that's what fat people get. Fat Woman hasn't yet got diabetes as she is fit and healthy, so Small Baby has remained an appropriate size.

The NHS has decided that Fat Woman is two weeks further along than she actually is. Fat Woman has found there is no point in wasting breath explaining that they are wrong because they just bleat "That's what the scaaaaaaan says!" Fat Woman doesn't care what the scan says, she's very confident that she knows all her dates. However there is no point arguing with people in the NHS. They like to do things by policy and procedure and Because That's The Way We Do It. Employing logic and reason let alone independent thinking is apparently not often done.

Fat Woman had her allegedly 36 week scan and it was shown that Small Baby is currently breech (head up rather than down). Fat Woman isn't worried about this particularly because she considers she is just 34 weeks along and knows that Small Baby is still moving an awful lot. Fat Woman was sympathetic to the procedures that the ultrasound technician had to follow though, and allowed herself to be taken up to Clinic 22 to talk to a midwife. Fat Woman hasn't been near Clinic 22 because she's had no need and because she wants as little to do with the hospital as possible. This is why Fat Woman has an independent midwife.

Fat Woman let her midwife know what was going on by text. Fat Woman's midwife outlined the options for her: have an elective caesarian, have an external cephalic version (ECV) when an obstetrician turns the baby, have a breech natural birth and of course Fat Woman's preferred option of just waiting and hope the baby turns. There is lots of time before Fat Woman is actually due to give birth so lots of time for Small Baby to turn. When the random midwife came in Fat Woman found that she was presented with just two options, the ECV or caesarian section. There was also a lot of pressure for Fat Woman to pick one NOW NOW NOW.

Fat Woman invoked the clause of having an independent midwife and made a hasty exit, her prejudices that the NHS is narrow-minded and prejudiced and incredibly limited cemented firmly in place. Fat Woman doesn't know right this second what she's going to do, but she's fairly sure that Small Baby is still very much on the move.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Fat Woman and the cold turkey

Fat Woman has given up shooting. Fat Woman had intended to finish shooting at the end of September, but there was a national inter-counties event to attend at the start of October, and Fat Woman wanted to finish her shooting at a Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club. Fat Woman had a lovely day with the Eastern Region S&CBC ladies and left with a rosette that was very hotly contested. Fat Woman's coffee cake didn't get any votes, but then it was an after thought when the zebra-patterned cake turned out badly and besides, Fat Woman really made it because she likes it.

The only sour note to the day was the old man at the presentation who after hearing Fat Woman was giving up shooting enquired how long she had to go and then entreated her not to shoot any  more. Fat Woman ignored him because she had just given up shooting, and she certainly didn't feel that it was polite for a random stranger to give her medical or health advice he was unqualified to give in public, but the old duffer collared her again outside. Old Duffer started off giving his opinion on Fat Woman shooting and Fat Woman cut him off and informed him that she didn't wish to discuss this with him. This is the point that Fat Woman considers polite people would back off, but Old Duffer was determined that his opinion was so valuable that Fat Woman was going to hear it regardless of her personal wishes. Fat Woman held on to her temper by her fingernails and retorted that she had researched foetal hearing loss due to noise exposure and had sought medical advice and was happy with her decisions. Fat Woman was incredibly annoyed that she felt forced into justifying decisions that were simply none of Old Duffer's business, as well as Old Duffer's assumption that (1) Fat Woman was stupid or ignorant enough to put Small Baby in danger and (2) He knew better than Fat Woman about her body. Fat Woman particularly dislikes the "he was only trying to help" excuse for this kind of behaviour. Fat Woman knows what it sounds like when random men think they might have information about foetal safety that she might not yet know and they are prepared to be respectful about it, and it starts with a question such as "Have you considered..." It doesn't start with a stranger telling Fat Woman what to do. Fat Woman would have liked to have told Old Duffer to fuck off, but didn't because she is socially conditioned not to make a fuss.

Fat Woman thinks it incredibly ironic that everyone in shooting has been very respectful of her decisions and continued presence at shooting grounds  right up until the point when she has fired her last shots.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Fat Woman and the fight of her life

Fat Woman is not a fan of diet porn and has posted before about how she disapproves of The Biggest Loser and its exploitative methods. However, Fat Woman can admit that she has found herself watching "Fat: The Fight of My Life" for several episodes in a row. 

Fat Woman caught one episode of "A Year To Save My Life", which is the previous incarnation of the show, and was fascinated to see a fat person exercising. Not just a single cardio class but swimming, running, even doing a triathlon. Fat Woman simply hadn't ever seen that before. It was amazing to Fat Woman in the same way black people have talked about seeing another black person on television for the first time. Fat Woman didn't think it would ever happen, that people like her would ever be considered worthy of portrayal or representation in a positive way on screen. Fat Woman likes seeing people like her; she remembers what is was like to get to the point where everything felt out of control and even diet and exercise weren't working for her.

Personal Trainer said Fat Woman only liked the show because she fancies Jessie Pavelka. Fat Woman is not denying that Jessie is quite attractive for a US TV star but she realised that he looks rather like Thin Husband (tall, handsome chiselled features) crossed with Personal Trainer (big muscles, trendy hair cut) and that was like being dowsed with a bucket of cold water. Fat Woman did consider the possibility of applying for the show so she could get hugs from Jessie in the bit after the third advert break where the fat person has to have a big breakdown about how hard they are finding it and then pick themselves up and work even harder but like weight loss surgery she suspects she is now too fit. 

Fat Woman is jealous of the weight loss people on these shows get in a comparatively small amount of time. Fat Woman tries not to beat herself up about it because she does still have months at a time where she struggles with a metabolic disorder, putting on half a stone in a week. Ironically, the harder Fat Woman works the smaller the gap between times when her hormones are messed up. It actually works better for Fat Woman to lose weight more slowly as she is more likely to manage her thyroid levels better and not fall into being over-medicated and having weight gain as a result. Fat Woman also accepts that she would never have stuck to healthy eating if she had been limited to just 1500 calories. Fat Woman was eating a deficit of 500 calories each day and could manage a reasonable life that way, not being hungry or unable to eat out. If there is one thing that really stomped on Fat Woman's celebrity trainer crush it was that. Fat Woman doesn't think that someone with a basal metabolic rate of 3500+ calories a day - and that's just to exist - should be on a just 1500 calories a day when they are doing two hours of hard exercise and certainly not for months on end. 

Fat Woman was also really jealous of the last person because they got to do proper open water swimming for 10k and were talked about as a "proper athlete". Fat Woman was just at the stage where she was going to pick a sport to commit to when Small Baby appeared on the scene. Fat Woman misses feeling fit and like she can do anything. Shooting is a great sport but it doesn't make you feel like you're working hard.

Fat Woman would love to know where they get the wetsuits for the fat women. Fat Woman actually tweeted the production company once but didn't get any response. Fat Woman has an open water swimming course all lined up and had resolved to go but couldn't find a wetsuit.

Fat Woman also thinks the boxing pad work shown is a little suspect but she might just be being snobby.

What really put the nail in the coffin of Fat Woman's celebrity crush is that Jessie Pavelka is joining the team of the Biggest Loser. Fat Woman considered Jessie's shows the most positive and helpful thing she'd seen for fat people in popular culture, but to join the Biggest Loser with it's unhelpful short termism, unhealthy regimen and bullying and humiliation is just unforgivable. 

Fat Woman and the mind bending requirements

Fat Woman is doing rather well at pregnancy. So far Fat Woman has
  • Managed her thyroid condition, with variable help from the GP surgery
  • Aced the glucose tolerance test (fat does NOT mean diabetic so yah! boo! sucks to you, NHS mandarins)
  • Been able to wear her jeans until the bump simply made it impossible - no fat gain
  • Kept up training three times a week even though Personal Trainer won't let her do half the fun things in the gym.
Fat Woman went for a meeting with the consultant anaesthetist. Fat Woman had to do this so the anaesthetist could check that she wasn't so fat that they couldn't stick needles in her spine, her arms, or her hands. Fat Woman was also asked about the state of her teeth (currently excellent according to her dentist, no gestational gingivitis) and if her enlarged thyroid caused any problems swallowing in case there was a need to intubate. Fat Woman felt really sorry for the consultant anaesthetist who had a high, falsely sweet voice and who sounded like a breathy mummy talking to a six year old. Fat Woman reckoned that it must be hard to work in medicine if people think you're talking about ponies and fairies and rainbows. The midwife who accompanied Fat Woman said that the anaesthetist was in fact incredibly patronising, inappropriately so when Fat Woman is obviously intelligent and well informed about risks. Fat Woman is not so bright that she had noticed she was being patronised, but as she was having fun letting the consultant advise her that she really ought to be giving birth in the hospital despite her birth plan being "I'm only coming near this place if something goes wrong". The anaesthetic consultant asked three times in tones of concern and horror if the obstetric consultant was aware of Fat Woman's plans. Fat Woman shrugged, said she'd had a letter after one meeting saying that it all seemed under control and that if the anaesthetic consultant felt there was something the obstetric consultant should know then she should feel free to go ahead and pass the information along. Fat Woman is not sure at what point in the process she is expected to beg permission to stay out of hospital and not get sliced and diced but when the obstetric consultant has not requested another meeting Fat Woman sees no reason to bother her with niff-naff details. The anaesthetist can take her surgical prejudices and stuff them up her arse because she embodies just about everything wrong with NHS obstetrics so far as Fat Woman can see, and kept citing guidelines and policies to back her point up. Fat Woman is certainly not going to base a birth plan about making life easier for the anaesthetic department. There was a marvellous point during the meeting when Fat Woman leaned forward and said in confidential tones that of course if she did need anaesthetic she would be seen by the consultant rather than a registrar, as detailed in the hospital's own guidelines on treating patients with a BMI >40. Fat Woman had her crocodile smile on as she said this and watched the anaesthetist squirm about how that might or might not happen. Fat Woman has seen exactly one piece of NHS policy that benefits her personally and that is it, so she's damn well not having any junior staff sticking needles in her spine, not if her high BMI makes her so fucking dangerous that they've banned her from even setting foot in the birthing centre.

When Fat Woman got home her resolve to stay as far away from hospital as possible was strengthened enough that she was actually motivated enough to start listening to the hypnobirthing CD. This is meant to train Fat Woman into being able to manage pain so she

It turns out that Fat Woman isn't a natural at hypnobirthing.

First, Fat Woman finds the "breath in through your nose and out through your mouth" thing terribly irritating and not at all relaxing. Fat Woman is a singer and a woodwind player and has excellent breath control and finds that either she has to make some concious effort move her epiglottis to change the way she is breathing from nose to mouth, or she has to leave her mouth open the whole time, which gives her a dry mouth.

Secondly, although Fat Woman finds visualisation a useful tool in some circumstances she is quite literal about physiology. So if you tell Fat Woman to visualise breathing in golden air that's fine, and she will quite happily visualise said golden air filling her lungs but you can't suddenly turn around and say that the golden air is sinking lower from your lungs because AIR DOESN'T DO THAT. You would be dead if it did. Fat Woman isn't keen on visualising suffocating to death. Fat Woman has good suspension of disbelief when it comes to fiction and films but not when it comes to basic biology and resents that visualisations are apparently for people who don't remember any GCSE science.

Thirdly, Fat Woman would like to know why visualisations always require you to think about being on a beach. Fat Woman is not a fan of beaches. They are sandy and too hot (or if in Britain too cold) and so far as Fat Woman is concerned the only reason to travel to a tropical beach is so you can go diving in warm water. Fat Woman would rather be able to visualise being in a nice English wood, late summer or early Autumn. Beaches are such a chavvy cliché. Fat Woman actually yelled at the CD at this point.

Fat Woman hasn't managed to get past 25 minutes into the CD yet but knows she is going to have to have another go. Fat Woman would find the whole thing less irritating if you could listen to hypnobirthing CDs on the cross trainer, but no, apparently you have to be lying down and relaxed. If there's something Fat Woman doesn't find relaxing it's having to lie down and be relaxed.