Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On Being a Large Woman

What is it about being a large woman that is so terrible? And why is it that when a manufacturer makes something for a large woman, they make it longer as well?

Take blood pressure monitors, for instance. I have developed high blood pressure since I turned 60. I have also been having problems with my feet swelling from the one medication I'm taking for it. My doctor wrote me a prescription to buy a blood pressure monitor because he wants me to keep track of my "numbers" for a couple of weeks to a month until we get some new meds sorted out. My medical doesn't cover that, so I had to pay for it myself. I'm on pension and I don't get very much money each month to live on... don't even get me started on the idea of "rich baby boomers"!... so I wasn't about to buy an expensive product to take my blood pressure for two weeks or so, but I figured I could afford a $50-$60 one. Doctor's don't like the wrist style, so I looked at several drug stores to finally find one I could afford that came with the "large" cuff. My upper arm measures 13", which is the cut-off for the medium cuff size... which means it won't take a proper blood pressure if I try to use it. So I finally found a monitor that came with both sizes of cuffs, which I thought was an awesome idea. It was $45 and was a decent make (HoMedics) so I bought one.

When I got back to the motorhome (we live in) I carefully unpacked the monitor and began to figure it out. I put in the batteries and set the date and time and then attached the large cuff hose-thingee. After all, I had been told by the pharmacist that it was the cuff I need to use. Then I attempted to get the cuff around my arm correctly. Of course, the pictures in the book aren't exactly clear on which end of the arm is up and the instructions are not written by someone who's first language is English, so I got confused and had the cuff on the wrong end of my arm. Okay... so my hubby noticed and pointed it out and I got it turned around. But then I began to try to take my blood pressure. No matter how hard I and hubby tried, we just could not get the lower part to tighten as much as the upper part was. And it bloody well HURT when it squeezed around my upper arm. I decided to try the smaller cuff, since the large one was almost up in my armpit! The smaller one is shorter by a good 2 to 3 inches! By shorter I mean the width from the elbow to the shoulder, not the length of the band.

Now what made the manufacturers of blood pressure monitors think that, because my arms got a bit flabby with age, they grew longer? My arms didn't grow there! Or on the lower part either! My arms are the same length they always were, maybe even a bit shorter... but they certainly didn't get any longer! So what's up with that?

It's the same with clothes. Once you have to buy "women's" or "plus" sizes, the proportions are all out of whack. The arms are miles too long and so are the legs. Great if you're 7 feet tall. Not so great when you're 2 feet shorter than that!! What is it that makes the manufacturers believe that we grow taller or longer in either the legs or the arms if we grow bigger around? I'm not that tall! My hands are delicate, my arms, although a bit flabby at the top, aren't big around. My belly is bigger than it used to be... mostly because I stopped strenuous exercise when I developed asthma.

So maybe someone in the manufacturing world will read this and truly THINK about how products for larger women are made... and maybe that person will even set in motion a change so that short women who have aged and gotten larger because of that can still buy decent clothing and can get a blood pressure monitor cuff that has the same width on the large cuff as the medium cuff has. Please!

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