Friday, July 31, 2009

Insane in the Brain ... Or Not

Current weight: 320 lbs.
Current mental status: Perfectly sane, apparently.

I had my final visit with the Good Doctor this week, but I'm still mulling over the funniness in my surgically repaired melon, so more on that later.

However, I did visit the head doctor today (and not in a good way). That is, the psychiatrist, for my psych evaluation. Seems you to have to be of sound mind before having a sound and bariaticly toned body.

Going into this, my friend Marc (name again cleverly disguised to protect his identity) told me, "Stay on script. Don't venture into that nightmare past of yours. Don't tell her any of your after 10 p.m. stories. Stay on topic!"

SIDE NOTE NO.1: I take an annual golf trip with three of my buddies. Through the 10-plus years of our trip, I've regaled them with tales of darkness from my childhood, escapades with the ladies, and general disturbing thoughts and opines. Some of these yarns were told at roulette tables or casino bars after I might have had a few too many watered-down cocktails, but some have been told at restaurants and bars while sitting amongst the fine people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. All of them, though, have been meet with horrified response from those outside of our little quartet. So, the above mentioned Marc instituted the 10 p.m. rule, in that I can't tell any of said stories until well after the sun has gone down and those that might otherwise be offended have already shuffled off to the protective confines of their homes far out of ear's length. SUB-SIDE NOTE: I'm fairly confident, though, that Marc would say that there have been plenty of times that those out and about after 10 p.m. have still been offended.

Anyhoo, back to the head doctor. I did, in fact, stay on script and on topic, wandering astray briefly to touch on my previous, short-lived issues with emotional eating, which I can see might be of concern to a doctor evaluating someone wanting weight loss surgery. Likewise, apparently nothing on the 50 forms I had to fill out asking about my emotional well-being during the past two weeks must have raised any red flags.

And being that I'm writing this and have not been carted off to the loony bin (because I can only assume that they don't allow computer access at the funny farm), I passed with flying colors and have been declared mentally fit to deal with the emotional calisthenics that might accompany massive amounts of weight loss. So long as the co-pay check doesn't bounce. HA!

SIDE NOTE NO. 2: Just got off the phone with Marc, who says he finds the findings suspect and is going to launch an investigation into the credentials of the just visited head doctor. Ah, good times, Marc. Good times.

So the expansive set of hoops carefully but precariously set up before me to jump through have been reduced to a scant few. Only ones remaining are the cardio stress test hoop and the nutritional evaluation hoop, which I will posit on soon.

Word to your mother.

Friday, July 24, 2009

And now for something completely different ...

On Wednesday night, our 5-year old took a flying leap off the back of the couch. Seems she was leaning over trying to grab the kitty's tail, and as she tells it, "kicked my leg over and went BAM!"

It was one of those moments when, since she's FIVE, you think you can turn your back for a few minutes. And of course, she knows better. She's been told on numerous occasions not to stand on the couch. Not to jump over the couch. Not to lean over the couch. But any of us with kids know how much of that stuff goes in one ear and out the other.

So, boom goes the 5 year old, up and over. All I saw was feet. Hardwoods, meet the right side of my daughter's face. The thwack and resulting ear-piercing scream were sickning. You would have thought that The Wiggles just spontaneously combusted right in front of her.

Good thing is, she's fine. BIG goose egg on her forehead. Right AND left eyes are swollen and are icky shades of black-blue-green. Like a bruise rainbow. She's had fun, though, milking it for extra treats and attention.

So why is it that I feel that everyone I encounter at the daycare is giving me the stink eye? You know, head slightly cocked, eyes a narrow slit, lips thin and tight. I tell the story. My daughter offers her take in great detail. Everyone laughs. Kids, they say. That kind of stuff just plain happens.

So again, why is it that I can't shake the feeling in my gut that people are judging me? Secretly wondering if I gave my daughter a swift backhand for spilling her milk. It's not an overwhelming feeling. I'm not franticly looking over each shoulder wondering when Child Protective Services is going to show up on my doorstep. But it gnaws a little. Sort of like when you have an early lunch and know you're aren't going to get to eat until after you get the kids to bed. It gnaws.

Truthfully, I understand that as a childcare worker, you almost have to react this way. I've known these people for more than three years now. They know I'm a good dad, and they know her mom is a good mom. But there are too many tales of good moms and dads gone bad, or teachers ignoring the signs and little ones then later end up even more bruised and beaten.

But what does that say about us as a society that, when it comes to our kids, we must assume guilt before innocence? I guess the answer is the same as above. Too many horrible stories of innocence lost at the hands of, unthinkably, their own mother or father.

But why do I feel that I have to justify, almost defend, what happened? I had a rough childhood and was exposed to domestic abuse, so I'm keenly aware of the impact that has on a child and a family. And I have never, and will never, lay a hand on either one of my girls in anger.

Maybe it's not the world at large judging me. Maybe I'm judging myself. Giving myself the stink eye, if that's possible. I did nothing wrong, save for turning my back for a minute or two. I should have been there. I should have stopped her from taking the big dive. I mean really, she looks like she walked straight into a Hank Aaron home run swing. Bless her little heart.

I know I shouldn't blame myself. But I do. And her angelic smile bracketed by two black eyes is a stark reminder that I won't always be there to protect my precious little girl.

Better to learn that now, I guess.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ride 'em In, Count 'em Out

Current Wait: About 2 hours

Yes, I've been quite. Not much to write about.

And then came Saturday, the latest checkpoint in my quarter-year journey through the crocodile-infested waters of the Bermuda Insurance Triangle on my quest to be the winner of my own version of The Biggest Loser (insert hilarious comment here!).

Although, I actually think the EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy - say that five times fast!) procedure was required by the Good Doctor, not insurance.

Anywho, The Wife and I arrived at Forrest Park Medical Center at 8:30 a.m. after the Good Doctor's office called the night before and told me that my original appointment had been moved up an hour. Seems they were trying something different for this go-round of stomach peekaboos.

Since the procedure itself takes so little time (and they're right about that), they were stacking us hefties up in groups so that when a bed came open, the next available would be ready when called.

So I signed in, noticing that there were 12 names ahead of me that had not already been crossed off in yellow highlighter, and took a seat among the 30 some-odd other folks there for a gut check (hee!).

Just picture a herd of cattle, grazing among the comfy couches in the cold-as-hell granite lobby, one by one being herded into a stall to put our hoof prints on consent forms and such. Moo.

It was just over an hour before I got the prod pointed in my direction. That wasn't so bad, I thought. An hour's wait is better than usual. But then we were herded down the hall into ANOTHER holding pen, where the 30 some-odd people that were there before me were still, in fact, there before me. Moooooo.

Another hour-plus wait ensued. Finally we got the call, and the rest, quite honestly is a blur, except for the part where it took four different people to put an IV in my arm. I look like a dang junkie today with all the bruises and puncture marks. After that, they turned and burned and I was outta there by Noon.

Just got off the phone with the Good Doctor's office. Turns out I have a small hiatal hernia (look it up) that can be fixed at surgery time, as well as a 7 mm gastric ulcer, which barely registers on the gastric ulcer doorjam growth chart (read: small and not that big of a deal). Pathology reports are pending, but nothing out of the ordinary expected (of course, is anything out of the ordinary every really expected?).

So .. gut ... checked. Next up? Cardio stress test and a psyche evaluations (again with the hilarious comments!).

SIDE NOTE: The flat screen in the waiting room was parked on ESPN, which is odd since 90 percent of the herd was female. Not only were we treated to multiple up-to-the-minute reports on The British Open, we also got to enjoy an endless loop of commercials for Taco Bell's new Bacon Cheesy Potato burrito. 30 fat people in a waiting room who hadn't eaten solid food since lunch the day before. You do the math. Udderly cruel (again, hee!).

SIDE NOTE NO. 2: Crispy, flavorful bacon, warm nacho cheese sauce, golden fiesta potatoes and seasoned ground beef, topped off with more crispy, flavorful bacon. This bad boy is deee-lish! Had it for lunch this afternoon.