Fat Old Ladies Can Move!
When American manufacturers started outsourcing jobs to China and Taiwan for the cheap labor, not only did we lose millions of jobs, but patients were also doomed to embarrassing physical exams. Huh? Let me explain. In China, where an average woman is lucky to reach five feet tall and weigh one-hundred pounds, a “large” patient is anyone over five foot four and who weighs one-hundred-twenty pounds. Not so in America, where the average woman now tips the scale at one-hundred-sixty pounds and is lucky to cram her hips into size fourteen jeans. Therein lies the problem—skinny, short Asians produce the paper patient gowns that tall, obese American women are supposed to don for their annual exams. Thus, an “extra-large” gown for the Asian crowd will only fit the most anorectic of Americans. My patients all grumble about my scanty paper gowns and some have accused me of turning them into streakers when they dash across the hall to provide a urine sample. But no American manufacturer produces paper gowns anymore.
Never was this issue more glaring than the day Mrs. Bryce came in for her yearly evaluation. Mrs. Bryce, a jolly Senior citizen who tipped the scale at two hundred sixty pounds, sat perched on the exam table waiting for me to come in and complete her exam. My extra-large gown barely covered her bottom, let alone the pendulous breasts hanging clear to her waist. Since my exam room on the sixth floor has large picture windows, she was enjoying the view of Krispy Kreme and Logan’s Steakhouse when suddenly, a thick rope with a bucket of water appeared right in front of her picture window. It didn’t take a Rhodes scholar to figure out a window washer would be next.
When I entered the room, Mrs. Bryce told me about the sudden appearance of the rope and bucket and added, “You’ve never seen a fat old lady move so fast in your life.” Despite her arthritic knees and obesity, she hopped down and closed the blinds before the window washer obtained a free “peep show from Hell,” as she called it.
Since obesity rates continue to climb in this country, perhaps I could get rich quick by investing in a manufacturing plant that produces paper gowns in the following sizes: Roly-poly, Jumbo, Humongous, and for the morbidly corpulent, Elephantine.