Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Post Op Diary - Week One.

Day 2 - Spent all day yesterday getting as much rest as possible...thank you, God, for opiate receptors. Drugs are wonderful in their proper place and time. Today, things are sore all over. My neck hurts, my chest is tight, my belly is still distended and sore, and I'm coughing up all sorts of green goo...and yet, as much as all this hurts, I feel a whole bunch better. Having lunch now, approximately 3 ounces of chocolate Boost, and half a vicodin. I'm taking 2.5 mg of vicodin about every hour. Brushed away 2 days worth of yuck off my teeth...much better, thanks! In a little while, I may get ambitious enough to actually take a shower. Until then Harry Potter and Call of Duty, with several naps thrown in for good measure.

325 pounds, down from 351

   Slept through the night, CPAP is still a pain in the face, but I'm betting I'm stuck with it for another 6 months or so. Belly not as swollen, puncture wounds healing nicely, no drugs today until I really need them. I can tell that things are a little bit easier for me weight-wise. It is easier for me to get out of bed, or up out of a chair. Just wish I could fry up some bacon...everything is better with nice crispy bacon, but that'll have to wait a few weeks.


320 pounds, down from 351

   Slept great, left leg doesn't hurt as much as it used to, fasting Blood Glucose this morning was 104. My diabetes isn't "cured", but I think it is safe to say that it is being successfully managed. I do wish I could scramble some eggs and toss a sausage in the skillet, but that'll have to wait. The holes in my belly have almost all healed, except for the big one on the right, where they did most of the work - it is still a bit tender. All-in-all, I'd have to say that things are going pretty dang well.


319, down from 351

   Doing OK today, thought I would get out of the house for a while. Grabbed a rifle and my range gear and climbed in the truck, decided to go for a drive before I went to the range. I wound up in the Kmart parking lot, wondering if there was anything I needed to get while I was there. I wandered into the sporting goods section, bought some new fishing line and one of those neoprene "waistline reducing belts"...I didn't buy it to lose weight, I bought it on the hope that it will reduce the baggy, loose skin that I expect to be showing in the near future. Maybe having it on will help me to tighten up the excess epidermis that alot of bariatric patients experience.
   Never did make it to the range a bit tired, so I'm taking it a bit easy. Maybe I'll go shoot later.

DAY 6,

315 down from 351

   I'm feeling positively skinny at 315, down from 351...what is that? 36 pounds? 10 percent of body weight, and it makes a world of difference. I can walk, instead of limping and lurching. Clothes that haven't fit for a year are comfortably loose. gonna need a belt for these shorts in a week or so. ;^) I took a nap yesterday, and Darling Bride says I was not snoring at all. I may be saying goodbye to my CPAP machine soon, which will absolutely NOT break my heart. It may have saved my life, but I always hated that f*&^ing thing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It is I can get started

   So I'm up before the crack of dawn, taking a quick shower with some sort of special anti-bacterial solution. I clippered the fur off of my belly as best I could, washed everything, and loaded up for the hospital. We made it there a whole 6 minutes late - nobody seemed to mind. They asked questions, I signed consent forms, again, and I put on one of those stupid hospital gowns. Personally, I would have been just as happy to wander around naked, but I guess its like a ritual or something. They started an IV into the back of my hand. Here's a hint; if you are a hairy person, use your clippers on your hands and arms. They taped the hell out of the fur on my left paw. I said goodbye to everybody, and they took me down the hall to preop prep. They asked more questions, I signed more forms, then they drugged me...alot. I remember scooting from the gurney to the operating table, being strapped down, and that was that.

   I woke up with my mouth completely dry, sore all over, fuzzy brained, and in pain. My belly was distended, blown up like a balloon, with seven punctures covered with little bandages. "Wow, this part sucks." My long-suffering wife feeds me some ice chips, and I drift away for a while.

   I wake up again, get some more ice chips, push the morphine button about a hundred times, get one dose of the stuff, drift away again. People wander in and out, family comes to visit, asking me how I feel..."Stabbed", I say, and they chuckle a little at my weak joke. I hit the morphine button, and drift away...

   They want me to get up and walk around, go to the bathroom on my own, etc...getting out of bed hurts like hell, and it burns like crazy when I pee, all the drugs plus a catheter have irritated things down there. Getting back in bed ain't no picnic...drift away.

   Hours wander by in no particular order. I'm starting to be more cognizant of my surroundings, even through the morphine haze...this part still sucks. I get some sleep, an hour at a time. Dawn, and things start to come to life a little. Nurses and other staff come in, check this, check that, whatever. This movie sucks, I wanna go home. "You did great, and everything is looking good! You will probably go home today." Probably? I might be stuck here another night? Not just "no" but "Hell no". Drift away....

   Dr A comes in, tells me everything was fine, I had some adhesions along the mid-line of my belly, but everything is OK. No unusual tissues, no problems with my liver, no alien probes, all is well. "Great, yank this IV out of my hand, and let me go home, " I say. "Sorry", he says, "I can't stand the sight of blood". In a little while they are getting me ready to ship out. I take the ritual ride in a wheelchair to the wrong exit, and we wait there for my Darling Bride to come get me. Driving home was a ton of fun, with every pot hole on the coast eager to jolt the shit outta me. Finally make it home, pain pills and ice chips, and sleep. The deed is done, now I can get started on the rest of my life...Darling Bride just brought me dinner - half a cup of chicken broth, yum!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

So Here We Go...

    Liquid diets suck ass. I haven't really started on it yet, and it already sucks. There is leftover pizza from Chilly Willy's in the fridge, but I can't have any. When they cut on your gastro-intestinal tract, the last thing they want to see is yesterday's lunch, so they put you on a clear-liquids-only diet, and make you drink some magnesium citrate. For those who don't know, magnesium citrate is pretty much guaranteed to get rid of yesterdays lunch, and anything else in your digestive actually comes with the admonishment, "Stay close to the bathroom". That should tell you all you really need to know.

   I'm also wondering why the hell pharmacies are so dang slow. I went and dropped off a couple of prescriptions. The guy behind the counter said, "let me make sure I've got these", and went to the shelves. a minute and a half later, he plunks them down and says, "OK, it will be at least an hour before I can have these ready..." The fucking things are RIGHT THERE! Hand them to me, I'll give you some money, and we're done! What's the holdup? {sigh} So I'll go back in a little while and pick them up, start drinking my Liquid Plumber for lunch, and stay close to the bathroom. Yay.

   What I'm giving up to do this: Solid food for about 8 weeks, the ability to grab something from a drive through and chomp it down on the run, the pleasure of drinking a cold beer with a hot, tasty pile of fried shrimp (or pizza, or a massive bacon cheeseburger), because you can't eat and drink at the same time, that stuffed feeling you get from a really big meal ...OK, maybe that one really isn't a sacrifice. And one more little thing - $15,000 out of my retirement fund. I won't have much use for it if I'm too dead to retire...still, I could have a lot of fun with that much cash!

   What I hope to gain in exchange; Some of life's minor little pleasures, like being able to walk, not having to pass up fun activities because I can't stand up for more than 5 minutes at a time, being able to wear normal clothes instead of the XXXXL crap that I wear now, taking a trip to Ship Island and going skin diving, wade fishing with rod and reel or cast net, actually doing some work around the house like fixing stuff and building things...the list goes on and on. Think about the normal everyday stuff that you do when you are not sitting down. Just anything you do on your feet, fun, work, or just routine crap...Now imagine that doing those things is a huge struggle, awkward as hell, and seriously painful. We ain't talking about moving boulders or roofing a house, we're talking about ordinary, everyday stuff like going to Walmart to pick up a prescription. THAT is the sort of thing I am doing this for, so I can do ordinary boring crap, and not be in pain while I struggle to get it done...

Walmart just called, my scrips are ready...coulda just given them to me an hour ago...assholes.

   NOTE: you never understand just how huge your belly is, until you try to shave that mountain...DANG! and magnesium citrate tastes fookin terrible.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Our Food Sick Society - Part II

   So here I sit after last night's Final Seafood Platter, slightly hung over, and feeling very sluggish. We went to Dempsey's last night and indulged in a fry fest of fairly epic proportions...fried shrimp, fried fish, fried onion rings, and that uniquely Southern delight, fried dill pickles! As always at Dempsey's, it was awesome! And, as usual at all restaurants these days, the portions were gigantic! Actually, the portions at Dempsey's are even more outrageous than usual, but almost all restaurants serve up huge platters of food, unless they are in the "Snooty Fine Dining" category. At a Snooty Fine Dining Place, you would get a huge platter with a smear of sauce, 3 shrimp, a cherry tomato sliced in half, and a sprig of grass from the parking lot, all huddled in the middle of a plate the size of a hub cap from a Cadillac. We do not tend to frequent such dining establishments. Like most Americans, and almost all Southerners, we want some food on our plate, dammit!  It may go back to the whole caveman thing, where we grabbed as much as we could because we needed to, or maybe we good Southern guys and gals are just gluttons - either way, portions in restaurants are getting ridiculous. 

   I was surfing through the Vast Wasteland the other day (that's Cable TV, of course), and I reached the Food Channel, which is actually not too terrible, although I miss the original Iron Chef show, filmed in Japan and subtitled...THAT show was fucking hilarious! These days, they have a lot of stupid contest shows, where cooks are given some strange ingredients and told to cook a meal with those ingredients, then the meal gets judged by people of questionable sexual orientation, the loser cries, and the winner gets taken backstage and gets molested by the stage crew, or maybe they just give them some cash and off they go. I don't know and I don't care, those shows suck ass. The other kind of show they have is the drive-around, where someone drives around, and eats here and there, and talks about what they eat. The king of the Drive Around is a guy named Guy. Guy is a total douchbag, but he is very photogenic in a Complete Moron sort of way. He wears his sunglasses on the back of his neck, his hair looks like a dead possum is glued to his head, and he spouts out sound bites like, "We're riding the Gravy Train to Flavor Town, Baby!" and "That was OFF the HOOK, Bro!" and then mugs for the camera. He's a total dumbfuck, and his show is enormously popular. Another thing that is enormous is the portions at the dumps he goes to. Nothing is small, all of the dishes are gigantic. Let's say someone is making a corned beef on rye sandwich. The cook shows us how he cures the slab of beef, where it looks like something in Jeffery Dahmer's basement, then he slices up about 2 pounds of meat, slaps it on slices of bread about 3 inches thick, slathers it with a quart of mustard and special sauce, and serves this huge sandwich on a serving platter with a mound of fries and a side of coleslaw...all that food is intended for ONE's enough for 4, but it is served up as a single meal, and all the dishes on the show are equally huge. It's like this show is holding up a standard for all the eateries out there - "You must serve gigantic portions, or you suck and you don't deserve to be on this show!" and other restaurants are taking the hint. It seems like any place you go, if they serve normal size meals instead of fucking huge dishes, they will be out of business soon.

   I can't wait to go to one of these places, order up the Mondo Platter o' Food, eat three shrimp, a half a piece of fish, one bite of slaw, and then smile as I ask for a to-go box. I can just hear the conversation now; "Sir, was everything alright with your meal?" Yes, yes it was fine, thank you. "Well, it doesn't appear that you ate very much, are you sure everything was OK?" "It was fantastic, gonna tell all my friends how awesome it was, thanks." The look of confusion on their faces will be priceless! They may even be dumb enough to ask why I only ate enough for a small child, or perhaps a Scottish Terrier. I think I'll make up a bullshit story for them, just to fuck with them even more - "Well, see, a Taliban submarine shot down my hovercraft over Moscow, and the Chinese medics weren't very well equipped, so they just cut out my stomach, instead of trying to patch it back together. I can only eat 4 bites at a time, and I need to eat 17 meals a day..." The big question is, how many people will have the balls to call bullshit on such a silly story? Or will they even realize how stupid it is? The Taliban doesn't have submarines!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Still Beautiful...and Ready For Liftoff!

So I spent all day, about 2 hours actually, signing paperwork, initialing here, signing there, etc. I did this paperwork shuffle at the surgeon's clinic right after they weighed me - apparently I was able to lose enough weight for the surgeon to perform the weight loss surgery I need to lose weight. I am aware of the fact that I have touched on that subject before, but the ironical symmetry is simply too appealing to pass up. Dr A and I talked for a little while, he informed me of the risks involved, small but very real risks, and he answered any questions I had. I asked him what they did with the section of stomach tissue they took out. He said he examines it, does a little slice and dice to see how healthy the tissue is, and then sends it to the Pathology Lab where they do the same thing, then they burn it. I was hoping I could bring it home, tan it like leather, and make a hat from it - that would just be so fucking cool, to have a hat made out of your own stomach tissue! If anyone ever accused me of having my head jammed in my ass, I could say, "Wrong! Close, but not quite!" {sigh} Oh well....

   I then made the trip to the hospital, another 15 miles east, and did the same thing all over again with the staff. The nurse in charge of the case sat me down, asked medical history questions, gave me some pre-op instructions, and made sure I could find the right wing of the place when I came back early monday morning. VERY early Monday morning. Like 0630 hours Monday morning Why in hell do surgeons always insist on doing surgery at such God-awful, cow-milking hours? I just don't get it. Why not do it at a decent hour, like 10:30 in the morning, instead of this crack-of-dawn crap? Hey, whatever, I'll be asleep anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter, but I'm just not a morning guy.

   So now, I wait, and I plan my last so-called "normal" weekend. (Seafood platter at a local place - I'll try not to over-do it.) I have no doubts, and very few, tiny little regrets, and I am 99% eager to do this...that 1% is screaming, a screechy irritating little voice wa-a-ay back in the back of my mind, "OH MY GOD!!!! They're gonna cut yer fuckin' guts out! AAUGHH!!" Yes, yes they are, and I can't wait to get it over with, and start in on my new life.

   There is actually a list of things I want to do in the next several months. I could put down that I'm going to climb Mount McKinley, go hang-gliding in Hawaii, dive the Great Barrier Reef, run the Boston Marathon - and it would all be utter bullshit. I have no unrealistic expectations. I'm going to walk on the beach, play catch with my daughter, take my son wade fishing (if he'll ever drag his ass back to the Coast), and start getting in shape for Pistol Competition and 3-gun matches. I want to go and do things that normal able-bodied people can do, and stop being a drag on my wife and my family. I know my darling bride plans activities based on whether or not I can walk that far, from the parking lot to the front gate, or similar concerns. She would never sign us up for a walking tour of the Old French Quarter, or a museum exhibit, because she wouldn't want to listen to my pathetic whining about all that walking...maybe in a few months time, she won't need to worry about that. I have no truly drastic plans, I just want to do ordinary stuff that ordinary people do. I haven't been ordinary in a long, long time.

On the other hand, I DO want to do THIS. ......Geronimo!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Our Food-Sick Society

part one...

   With our population getting fatter and fatter, with morbid obesity and type II diabetes reportedly in an explosive epidemic state, I can't help but wonder how we came to this sorry state of affairs. Are we Americans really that pathetic? Is there some unique fault in our national character that makes us the butt of ridicule and derision for the rest of the world? Or is it simply a case of, the richest country soon grows to be the fattest country? I suspect that, as usual, the answer is not one answer, but a whole platoon of factors and influences. Maybe we need to step back in time a bit, and get a broader perspective...

   Let's go back, I dunno, maybe 700,000 years. Mankind has finally evolved from our chimp-like first cousins (because God designed it that way, OK?). We have come down out of the trees, learned how to bang the rocks together to make useful tools, sharpened some sticks and poked animals with them, and maybe discovered fire - it's barbecue time! Seriously, this was a very big deal in human history. For our early ancestors, the numero uno problem of the day was finding enough food.  Early humans ate damn near anything they could get their grubby little mitts on, and it was never really enough, generally speaking, because they could never know when their next feast would occur. They might be forced to endure several months of grabbing bugs, digging for edible roots, and snagging the occasional small furry creature, all the while dodging the faster animals with the big teeth and claws. Times were tough for the vast majority of humanity, for almost all of humanity's history.  For several hundred thousand years, the people who survived were the ones who gave up flinging poop at each other and concentrated on finding and eating enough food to make it through the next drought or winter. 

   Skip forward a few millenia. People have organized themselves into tribal units, nation states, religious affiliations, square-dancing clubs (hey, why not?), and other groupings where like-minded, basically similar-looking people congregated and pooled resources...why? Because that was the best bet for ensuring survival during the next drought/winter/plague of locusts/whatever. Civilization arose from a fundamental need of humanity - finding enough food, and keeping those bastards on the other side of the river from stealing it all. When one group was doing well, they grew and prospered, and became fat and happy. If they weren't doing so well, they were said to be going through some lean times where they had to tighten their belts.

   Obviously, I am simplifying things to an absurd degree, but you get the point, right? For almost the entire history of mankind, more food was a good thing, and less food was a bad thing. Not having enough food didn't mean inconvenience or discomfort, it meant your whole tribe died.

   Flash forward a few thousand more years. Some smart-ass figured out how to grow food whenever he wanted to, and some other smart-ass learned how to read and write, so he could tell everybody else how to grow as much food as they wanted...and look at the mess those two bastards have brought about! In these modern times, people don't need to run out and poke some critter  with a stick and toss it on a fire, while dodging razor claws and flashing teeth. Modern man has evolved his society to the point where food can be had without even getting your fat ass out of your Barca-lounger.  Papa John's Delivery, anyone? You can even order food online from your computer, while you are sitting here, reading about ordering food from your computer... Our society is absolutely awash in food, buried under an avalanche of good, safe, nutrient-dense foods of every description, available at all hours, throughout the year...and our bodies are still programmed to tuck away as much food as possible, because ya never know when the next drought is gonna wipe out your whole tribe. Our brains and our evolution are stuck in the way-back-when...

   In effect, our modern, industrialized society is sick, poisoned even, by too much food. We have more food than we have ever had in our entire history, yay! 

- and it is killing us.

more soon....

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Would KILL for a Pizza Right About Now...

   I am in the pre-op prep stage right now. One thing I didn't know was that, to perform laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon needs a little extra room to move around in there. They don't just flay you open and slice away, they poke small holes here and there, and operate through those small holes. Kinda like changing the spark plugs in your car, and going in through the radiator grill, or maybe the wheel well. Another thing I didn't know was that, with really fat folks, like me, the liver is actually fat. When you first start losing weight, the liver is the first part of the body to shed that fat. You need to lose some weight to allow the surgeon to perform the weight loss surgery you need to lose weight, so the liver will shrink a bit, and get out of the way. So here I am, trying to lose about 25 pounds or so, so the good doctor will be able to get my fat liver out of the way so he can chop out most of my stomach...dieting sucks! I'm eating high-protein, low carb, low fat food, as little of it as possible, and working out 3 or 4 times a week. So far I have managed to lose about 15 pounds or so. I'm pretty confident I can lose the rest, about 8 pounds in 10 days, but it ain't easy. No booze, no beer, no pizza, no pasta, absolutely no sweets (no problem, I hate sugary stuff, except chocolate chip cookies), and no pizza. Did I say no pizza? I did, didn't I?

   When I was in college, I worked night shifts at a couple of pizza joints. I waited tables for a while, then moved to the kitchen. I learned a few things working at those pizza joints. One, waiting tables sucks! I was a terrible waiter, hated every minute, and will always treat my waiter/waitress with real respect. It is a tough, thankless, hectic job, AND you are forced to be polite to assholes, lots of assholes. Any problem with any aspect of the meal, the room, even the other diners, and the assholes take it out on the waiter every time...I will NEVER be an asshole to a server in a restaurant. I also learned about cooking production line style. It is hot, hectic, demanding, unrelenting, and by the end of your shift, you are covered in food grease and debris, and your feet are fucking killing you.

   For a few months there, I still liked pizza, but after a while, I got to the point where I couldn't stand a single bite of the stuff. I would eat anything but pizza. I ate a lot of salad, made some unusual pasta dishes, and I was always willing to trade some pizza for some fried fish from the Long John Silvers next door. Anything but pizza! This lasted about 6 months, until one day, someone called in an order, I made the pizza, and he cancelled it as I was taking it out of the oven - like I said, dealing with a fucking asshole! So there I was with a fresh, hot pepperoni and pork sausage pizza, and no customer. I looked at it, tried to give it to the other cooks, tried to give it to a waitress, nobody wanted it. So I said, "what the fuck", and I took a bite. It was delicious! Hot, savory, cheesy, tomatoee (is that a word?), it was awesome! I ate every scrap of the damn thing, and I have loved pizza ever since. We even have Friday nite pizza feast here at the house. I think I will miss chowing down on pizza as much as I will miss anything else. I'll still be able to eat it and enjoy it, just very little of it at any one time. I think it is a small sacrifice to make, but as of right now, with all of my hunger still  intact...well, it's friday nite, and no fucking pizza for my fat ass, no sir! I am determined to make this work, and to shed some serious tonnage over the next year...but I will miss the Friday nite pepperoni fests.

   It'll be worth it, I'm sure.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Random Rant - Are You an Adult?

   So many of our younger generation (and a depressing number of more seasoned "grown-ups") seem to be confused about the true characteristics of an adult. They don't really understand what being an adult means. Ask them what adulthood means to them, and they will inevitably say something about freedom. They will be free to do as they please. They can go where they like, do as they wish, refuse to do that which they would prefer to avoid - they're free! Such sadly misinformed young people - so poorly taught by their elders. What they have never learned, even if it was presented to them over and over, is that freedom is not the main characteristic of being an adult. Indeed, it is so far down the list, it may as well be an after thought.

   The only truly free adult is the adult with no ties to family or friends, no obligations to career or co-workers, no responsibilities to children or aging short, a truly free adult is a person who is utterly alone. True freedom is the freedom to starve in the street, while uncaring strangers step over your failing body. True freedom means that while you owe nobody, and have no responsibilities to anyone, nobody gives a rat's ass about you, either. An adult, a real adult, is a person who meets his obligations, handles her responsibilities, cares about and cares for the people who inhabit their personal world. An adult understands one basic principle that a child, of any age, will never grasp: Take Care of Business! I don't mean business in the career sense, although that is certainly part of the picture, I mean business in the broader sense of the word. Handle the things which need to be handled so that your personal world runs smoothly. Take care of the obligations and responsibilities, the neglect of which will later come back and bite a chunk out of your fat, lazy ass.

You're not sure what I mean? OK, pop quiz!

The situation:

You are in debt to the taxman, your credit card is overdue, you owe a pile of traffic fines, and your best bud rescued your dumb ass a couple weeks ago, cleaning out his savings account to do it. You just got paid, so you can handle the rent, the groceries, the cable bill (you need that late night porn, ya know), and suddenly an uncle you didn't know you had dies and drops a bit of the green in your lap...what do you do? Do you pay Mr IRS, make a payment on the Visa, settle up at the courthouse, buy your best friend a steak and a case of scotch, and pay him back his life savings? That is what an adult would do...

   You, however, decide that you simply must have that fabulous pair of open-toe, sling-back, fuck-me-like-a-dog-and-call-me-Princess stilettos you saw the other day, only 950 bucks, and aren't they adorable!


   You and the old lady have been fighting alot lately, but you don't want to break up with her just yet. She does that thing with her tongue that just drives you crazy, and she doesn't mind your admittedly unusual requests in the sack, and besides, if you break up with her, her sister won't fuck you anymore we're going to Vegas, baby, YEAH!


   You decide to string along Mr IRS, pay the Visa with a new MasterCard, protest the traffic fines just to buy time, and screw the best friend, he was a moron to clean out his account for you - It's time you finally had that boat you always wanted! Besides, you can always get new friends, you charming motherfucker you!

...because you are a self-centered, selfish (not the same thing), thoughtless spoiled fucking child who never learned about those old-fashioned values like honor, commitment, integrity, responsibility, obligation, and loyalty. You are a spoiled brat who shops in the grownup section, but has never learned a truly important lesson in life - how you handle the relationships that make up your personal world defines you as a person, a human being, an adult. Without learning this vital lesson, you will never become anything more than an ignorant, selfish, demanding child, and a burden to all those around you.

Grow the fuck UP!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Barium Milkshakes...YUM!

  Finished the pre-op workup a couple days ago. They took blood samples, chest X-rays, measured and weighed, and then they stuck me in this weird imaging machine. As they took X-ray videos, I would take a sip of a barium drink, and they would be able to "see" how my mouth and esophagus worked from various fat as I am, I would have thought they could safely assume that my swallowing and consuming mechanisms were in excellent condition, but I guess they wanted to be sure. They made me drink the stuff standing up, from about 3 different angles, then they laid the table down flat, and took videos of me drinking flat on my back, one each side, and face down. Usually if I'm face down, I am done drinking for the night, but I didn't tell them that...
   The girl who took my blood had the Gastric Sleeve procedure done a few months ago. She said it was working just great, she has lost about 70 pounds so far, and her biggest problem is that she frequently forgets to eat - a nice problem to have if you are 140 pounds overweight.
   By the way, everyone who has ever had one will tell you that barium milkshakes are absolutely dreadful, awful, horrible, OMG they're terrible! Personally, I thought it was no big deal, just like drinking some chalk. If you can chew a couple of Walmart brand antacid tablets, you can handle a barium milkshake, no problem. A barium enema is a whole different bucket of guts, butt that's for someone else's blog.

UPDATE; consuming barium in any form will almost certainly give you a nasty bout of ugly tummy and a rather painful, gut-cramp potty session, like being constipated and having the runs at the same time. Sounds fun, huh?

here's a pic (shamelessly swiped from Google images) of someone's esophagus during a barium imaging series;

You can see the patient's esophagus clearly. You think it would be a straight and smooth tube, but it isn't. Ain't medicine fun? I'm totally ready to get this over with, and start living first goal is to go wade fishing for an hour or so. It's been damn near 10 years since I caught a speckled trout. That's way too long.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fat-ism... Still A-OK in American Society!

    Fat-ism...probably not a real word, but it'll do. We Americans have a long, proud history of speechifying on equality. For several decades now, the number one unforgivable crime has been the display of intolerance. Criticize, denigrate, joke, or simply comment on race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, even talking about a person wearing glasses or being 3 inches shorter than average, and you are some kind of dirty, no-good bigot. How DARE you, you awful...(racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic, whatever the hell)!
   It's OK though, there is still one acceptable target for nasty comments, crude jokes, snide remarks, and condescending, superior smirks. Just find some fat nasty-lookin' bastard, and fire away! Not only is it acceptable, it's encouraged!
   Fat people are nasty, smelly, stupid, sloppy, undisciplined, weak-willed, probably perverted, and may actually have psychotic tendencies. A fat person is automatically deemed to be inferior in most, if not all, categories. Everybody's first impression of a fat person is always negative, always! I will now tell you a secret; We are so programmed to think poorly of fat people, that we even do it to each other. I admit, I confess, when I see some fat fucker waddling down the street, I always think, "Jeezus, look at this sorry lump of shit! How could he allow himself to get like that? Disgusting motherfucker needs to stop eatin' so many cheeseburgers." Then I look again, and I realize, he ain't as fat as I am! But we are so conditioned to despise the fat guy that it is simply automatic. Pretty sad, huh? The MOST intelligent man I ever knew was about 5 foot 7, weighed at least 375, was bald, and had some DAMN ugly teeth. I came to know the man fairly well, and I realized early on, he was a real-life, no bullshit genius, and I still pass judgement based on looks...because that is the way people are.

Advantages of being really fat;

Unlikely to get kidnapped, easy to spot in a group photo, most days a belt is not needed, less likely to be a victim of sexual harassment...

{crickets chirping}

that's pretty much it, the rest of it just flat out sucks, so go ahead and rag on that fatass, nobody will disapprove, I promise!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cut my guts out... Please!

The surgery I'm having is actually very simple, but to understand why it works, you need to understand how the stomach and the brain interact.  Your stomach is a bag for gathering and processing food. It has special cells in the tissues which can feel if the bag is empty or full. Biology compels you to fill that bag. When the bag is empty, cells release a hormone called Ghrelin which tells the brain, "Hey! We need some food down here!" When the concentration of Ghrelin is high enough, you will eat something, you don't really have any choice, you will eat until other cells, at the top of the bag, start to stretch. When those cells stretch, they release a hormone called PYY, which tells the brain, "OK, we're full down here, you can stop eating!"  So the cells in the main body of the bag say "EAT", and the cells at the top of the bag say "STOP"...
   The procedure is called a gastric sleeve. The surgeon goes in and cuts away most of the body of the bag, leaving a fairly thin tube where a big bag used to be. It looks like a shirt sleeve compared to Grammaw's giant handbag, hence the name. It doesn't just reduce the size of the stomach, it removes most of the cells which release the Ghrelin - in effect, it surgically removes your hunger. You simply are not compelled to eat like you were before. Your eating patterns need to change, as you can no longer sit down to a huge seafood platter and chow down like a beast. You can only eat small meals, chewing thoroughly and eating slowly, but small meals will still stretch the cells at the top of the bag, and those cells will tell the brain, "OK, we're full!" just as they did before. One of the side effects of this procedure is that patients will sometimes simply forget to eat...

   If you are one of those types who eat when you are depressed or lonely or for some other psychological reason, you need to address that particular issue first. Do something else when you are feeling low. It doesn't matter what, just do something else. Take up knitting, build a birdhouse out of tongue depressors, play video games, learn a second language, Я говорю немного па Русски, не очень хорошо...anything other than eat. If your life sucks, getting fatter ain't gonna help.

   Anybody wanna play Call of Duty? I'm gonna go shoot some bad guys. Here's a link that can tell you more about the procedure;


Friday, July 1, 2011

the Medical Situation

Here are a few vital stats and medical conditions, some can be attributed to being a fat bastid, others not so much:

Spondylolisthesis of the L5-S1 vertebral joint, with resulting thecal sac impingement and bilateral sciatica.

Blood pressure average is 170/90.

Blood sugar average (fasting) is 155.

Weight is approximately 350, but fluctuates rapidly.

 sexy, huh?

Height is 5' 10.5"...I used to be 6 feet tall, but my spinal column has compressed over time.

Severe complex obstructive sleep apnea, treated with CPAP therapy at 12.5 psi.

Soft tissue damage to left knee, resulting in need for a walking cane for most situations.

I can only walk for about 50 yards before I must sit down and rest my back. Standing in line is out of the question, and a simple shopping trip to Walmart results in daylong pain in both legs.

I take vicodin for the pain, averaging a mere 10 milligrams per day, but a day trip to watch a football game will require at least 30 milligrams. I must be careful, and balance my need for relief with the danger of becoming hooked on painkillers...

I can no longer go wadefishing, walk on soft surfaces, ride on bumpy roads, or lift anything heavier than about 30 pounds. Walking with a cane has made my wrists susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Plus, I'm not exactly the sexy beast my darling bride deserves...fat, nasty, clumsy, inelegant...pretty Goddam pathetic. Notice, I didn't include my face in that shot. I am not ashamed of much, but I am ashamed of the way my body looks. Just fukkin' nasty!

sounds like a fun, fulfilling life, huh? All of that will change, I hope.....but not soon enough.

Things were not always this way.

Things were not always like this. Once upon a time, many pounds ago, I was young and healthy, strong and not too fat, just "big boned", as they used to say. I was an athlete, a scuba diver, sailor, fisherman, hunter, hiker and swimmer. I played racquetball, Judo, Karate, went for long walks on the beach, cast a net for mullet in the shallow waters along the Gulf Coast. In college my idea of a relaxing day was a 6 hour hike through rough terrain in the hills south of Hattiesburg. I was a guest of the US Army for 6 weeks, attending ROTC Basic Boot Camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky. After 6 weeks of running up and down those hills in 90 degree weather, long forced marches with packs and weapons, field maneuvers, bivouacs and map running exercises, I was in outstanding physical condition. The Army said I was still too fat, and needed to lose approximately 17 pounds before I could continue my training. I could run 3 miles in combat boots, march all day with full field gear, and I had one awesome looking 6-pack of ab muscles. I weighed 203 pounds in my boxers - and the US Army said I was fat!   Fuck 'em. Who knows, if I hadn't been "big-boned" maybe I'd be a dang General right now, or maybe I'd be disassembled body parts in some desert somewhere.
   I have always enjoyed an active lifestyle, but I have also enjoyed the dinner table too much. Most of my problems are of my own doing, and I refuse to blame others for my short-comings. On the other hand, I have no patience for those ill-informed, self-righteous assholes who tell me, "if you just make up your mind, and show some will power, you can beat this thing!" That may have been true 15 years ago, I don't know. I do know, from much research, that obesity is NOT a simple matter of will power, whatever that mysterious force may be. There are many factors at play, and my self-discipline, or lack thereof, is actually just a minor factor in the equation by this stage of my life. Well-meaning people who managed to drop 20 pounds once upon a time, will give sage and meaningful advice; "swim", "ride a bike", "you just gotta push away from the table", and my personal favorite, "walking is really the best exercise!" All of that advice is great for otherwise healthy people who need to drop 20 pounds.

   I weigh 351 pounds.

a Day in the Life

 Every day is an exercise in pain. Not the mental anguish that so many people whine about, but actual physical pain. I wake up with a CPAP mask on my face, shoving air down my throat at 12.5 psi. My mouth is dry and nasty, tasting like someone's dirty socks were stuffed down my throat. After seven or eight hours of forcefully breathing out against the pressurized air mask, my ribs and intercostal muscles are sore. Imagine an eight-hour weight training session; my ribs are feeling the burn for sure. My lower back is stiff, as are my legs, and I find it difficult to sit up on the side of the bed. I sit up in stages. First, I get my right arm under myself, ready to lever my torso up from the mattress. I hook my left hand into the pit of my left knee, to stabilize my lower back and provide a counter weight for my all-too-huge torso. I lift my left leg up, pull with my left arm, and shove downward with my right arm. If I can get the timing and momentum right, I can sit up on the side of the mattress without screaming...
   I grimace as I reach over to the nightstand to turn off the "Darth Vader", as I call my CPAP machine. I have learned to block out the noise and actually get some sleep, and my long-suffering wife says she'll take Vader breathing over my horrendous snoring any night of the week...but it still sucks having to wear the fucking thing. I strip the straps off my head and toss the mask on the floor, reach for my blood-pressure pills, and the ever-present plastic cup of water. I wash down the night's bacterial crud with a mouthful of room temperature water, following it with a pill, and another swish-and-gulp of our famous yellowish-brown tap water. It could be ditch water, and it would still taste better than the accumulated gunk that grew on my tongue over night.
   I brace my right hand on the bedside table, rock back and forth a couple of times, and lever my fat ass up off the mattress, taking a small measure of pathetic male pride in the fact that I usually don't actually scream, but sometimes a whimper can be heard, like there is a kicked puppy in the room. I stagger into the bathroom, bracing myself on the wall so I don't stumble. I tripped on the bedspread a few months back, and managed to avoid breaking my nose on the floor. I was more humiliated than hurt, falling in my own bedroom like some ancient geriatric. I didn't break my hip like so many old folks do, although my lower back was complaining for days afterwards. These days, I am careful about moving around until I can limber up a little and walk instead of stagger. I am only 51 years old, but I move like I am 80.
   In the bathroom, doing the usual, I try to avoid seeing my naked body in the mirror. I don't look like a beached whale. Whales aren't hairy, but the general shape is the same. I hate the way I look, so I just refuse to see what I have become. After I scrub some of the moss off my teeth, I carefully hobble over to the closet, and thoughtfully select one of 4 pairs of pants I can still fit into. For some reason they all seem to be military surplus cargo pants, my favorite pair being the same pattern as the Iraqi army is using these days. They don't look cool, and I'm not trying to be Commando Joe, the Armchair Warrior, it's just that they actually fit. One would think clothing for soldiers would not be so large, but I guess some armies will take anybody, even fat bastards like me. I browse through my shirts, looking for something that will drape elegantly over my torso without emphasizing my manboobs. It's sad but true that I'm more stacked than some of the women I know. I settle for one of 4 or 5 shapeless,  baggy  T-shirts, stretch it a little with my arms, then throw it over my head. I step into a pair of shoes, the laces tied just loose enough that I do not need to tie them, but simply step in and shove my feet forward. My loving better half has brought me a travel mug full of coffee, I grab my  wallet and cell phone, my MP3 player and my pocketknife, find my cane, and lumber out the door heading for work.
   When I first starting using a cane at work, my colleagues thought I was just joking around, so they teased and laughed in a relatively good-natured way, until they saw the look of struggling effort on my face as I hobbled down a hallway. When they realized I was actually using a cane because I needed a cane, they made all the usual concerned noises. I didn't feel irritated by their reactions, although I was puzzled at first - who walks with a cane just to be funny? Charlie Chaplin did, but that was a damn long time ago...

hello world

new to this...there may be other Fat Bastids out there - If so, my apologies. On the other hand, there are a LOT of fat bastids out there, if you know what I mean.

This will be a first hand account of my inglorious and shabby self, and the measures I am taking to change my life - that is, my personal Voyage of Change.

This will not be a blog where I publish a witty sentence or two, and post a link to something I think is cool. This is me, my deepest thoughts and raw, ugly truths, and if you don't give a rat's ass, that's fine with me, don't fucking read it.

As you may have noticed, you may run into some salty, lockerroom-ish language now and then. The real world is a gritty, messy place, and I tend to call 'em as I see 'em. If you can't deal with rather crude, adult type language, go here;

they can entertain you.