San Francisco Chronicle

I’m humiliated when nurse at doctor’s office says my weight out loud

- By Jeanne Phillips Write to Dear Abby at P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069 or

Dear Abby: I have fought obesity all of my adult life, and my weight has yo-yoed over the years. My problem is, when I go to the doctor’s office and I am taken to the exam area, the scale is right out in the open where other patients come and go as well as all the office personnel. Mind you, I don’t care if I am weighed in the presence of people walking around — if they don’t peek. However, when the medical assistant is done weighing me, she reads the scale out loud. I have felt humiliated when other patients are walking past. I have put up with this for years.

Recently, this medical assistant weighed me and I just knew she was going to “announce” my weight. This time there was a man I could tell was a patient, standing nearby at the reception window staring intently at me getting weighed. Because I was sure the assistant was going to say it out loud, I started to cough to try to muffle the sound of her voice. It worked, but then she acted irritated because of my coughing, so she repeated it loudly. I was very embarrasse­d, to say the least. When the doctor saw me, I was afraid to say anything as I didn’t want to get anybody in trouble.

I graduated from a medical assistant school many years ago and I remember the registered nurse who was our instructor taught us to never say out loud somebody’s weight. I no longer want to go back to that doctor’s office. Do you have any advice for me when this happens again? Still Stinging in Nevada

Dear Still Stinging: The first time it happened, you should have quietly mentioned to the medical assistant that she embarrasse­d you, and asked her please not to do it again. When it happened a second time, you should have spoken to the doctor about it. You are far from the only person who is sensitive about weight. If I were that physician, I’d certainly want to know why patients were disappeari­ng from my practice. Wouldn’t you?

Dear Abby: I do a lot of home canning, and last year our farm was very profitable. I canned more than 300 jars of jellies, juices, apple sauce and soups. I gave many of these away as gifts. My dilemma is, most of the time no one gives me the jars back. Canning jars are the most expensive part of canning. Would you please help me get the word out to return the jars when they are empty? Debbie in Derby, N.Y.

Dear Debbie: I’m glad to put out the word. But don’t you think it would be more effective if you simply asked that the jars be returned if the recipients want to continue receiving these generous gifts from you? Attaching a “Please return to (blank)” label might help.

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