The doctor's office is cold. I shiver and pull my jacket tighter around me, knowing in a moment the nurse will ask me to take it off. They need to check my blood pressure, my lungs, my lymph-nodes.
Before I sit down, the assistant asks me to step on the scale. I pause. My feet are still clad in heavy winter boots. My jacket pockets are stuffed with the bric-o-brac of my life: cell phone, wallet, chapstick, keys, loose change, used tissues... I try to add up how much it all weighs.
When was the last time I stepped on a scale in anything but air and an empty bladder?
When was the last time I weighed myself, period? It was before I came down with this nasty bug. I haven't been to the gym in over a week. I've been stuffing myself with all those bad-for-you foods ( like I do every time I'm sick). How much damage did I do?
Keeping my face calm (inside I am screaming, clawing at the walls), I make the leap. It's an electric scale; no fiddling with little, black weights. A number appears in the little green box. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fight back the tears, kiddo.
Ten pounds more than it should be. How much is clothes and how much is a week of binging? Does it matter? I am torn between a grim acceptance and wanting to strip down to my skin, weigh again. It doesn't matter. The number is my new number. No matter the inaccuracy, it is the new me.
The assistant asks me how much I weigh. She is sitting on the other side of the room, fingers poised above the keys of a laptop. I cringe again. This is salt in the wound. These obscene numbers have to pass my lips? I bite them off; spit them out. I resist the urge to point out all the clothes I am wearing. Spill out the contents of my pockets. I don't weigh that much. I am not that number.
The rest of appointment passes in a blur. I note with mild curiosity that I'm running a high fever. The nurse asks if I want a prescription for codine, pain meds, antibiotics? I turn her down. It would mean a trip to the pharmacy. I neither feel up to the trip, nor want to spend any more time in public flaunting what a fat fuck I am.
Why did I come here? A doctor note? I'm not to go back to work until my fever comes down. More opportunity to sit on my ass and binge eat.
I shell out $300 and walk out of the office into a brisk fall day. As shitty as I feel, I can't help but admire the colors. Enjoy the nip in the air. For a moment: calm. Then I get behind the wheel of my car and it all comes crashing back down.
I wish Penguin was here.