Wednesday, August 26, 2009

That's Not a Firetruck Behind You ... That's Just Me

Current weight: don't know. don't care.

There are times in your life when you reach across the cockpit, flip on the autopilot, unbuckle your seat belt, undo the top button on your pants (OK, maybe that's just me) lean back and just let the trade winds take you where they may.

During these times, you tend to turn your attention away from (read: purposefully ignore) things that you might otherwise normally give more of a crap about.

Now that I have my insurance approval in hand and know that my surgery date is looming in the not-so-distant future, it seems that not only have I kicked my feet up on the dashboard and pulled down the shades, but I have fully engaged the kill switch, turned the heat down to low and moved some things to the back burner to reduce and caramelize into a tasty glaze.

One of those things, which became quite apparent to me when a friend decided to take some "before" pictures of me, is my appearance. As you can see by the split screen above (the picture, not my hair ... more on that in a minute), I just plain LOOK fat.

Wait a minute, you say. Hold the phone there, Chuck. You ARE fat, Mr. Man, so wouldn't it stand to reason that you'd also LOOK fat? Well, yes and no. You can BE fat and still not LOOK fat, and all without the help of smoke, mirrors and SPANX for men.

There are loads of reality shows out there telling you how do it. It's all in the clothes. And while Clinton and Stacy will tell you what not to wear, what they don't tell you is that the clothes that work the fashion slight-of-hand to make you look thin? Well, those cost some serious bank. Why else do they give you 5 grand for your shopping spree?

Point is, thin people can throw on khakis and an untucked knit shirt and look casual. But if us fat folk dare to do the same? We're not casual. We're COMFORTABLE, or "cumpfy" as it's known in Fatland. See picture above. Point proven.

Now stop right there, you say. That hair of your isn't doing you any favors. I mean, what's that on your head? A loaf of Mrs. Bairds buttered split-top bread?

Guilty as charged. At the moment my hair is longer than it's been in probably 15 years. I guess that's all part of the autopilot effect. My cowlicks have developed cowlicks.

But people have been telling me lately that it makes me look younger. And while I've never been hung up on the age thing, I kinda like hearing that. So there [INSERT STICKING MY TONGUE OUT AT YOU SOUND HERE]. I will be keeping my current do, minus some of the cowlicks that my fabulously hot hair stylist will get rid of for me soon.

And yes, it's true, that if I cut my golden locks and worked in a nice pair of slacks, spiffy shoes and a pressed shirt once in a while, then I might clean up pretty good and not look so "comfortable."

At this point, though, my cumpfy days are numbered. I'm ready for that ship to sail. In the meantime, that's not a solar eclipse happening behind you, or one of those big ass space ships from Independence Day moving over you, or a crazy throng of bat wielding, flesh eating zombies creeping up behind you. That's just me. Beep beep.

Peace, love and donut holes!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Results Are In ...

Just got a call from The Good Doctor's office. Seems the AETNA Fat Police have reviewed my record and associated paperwork and are satisfied that I have sufficiently and successfully jumped through, in, around and over all required hoops.

I have been APPROVED for surgery. We are go for launch. Woot!

Up next is a second consult with The Good Doctor on Sept. 1, at which I will actually SEE The Good Doctor live, in person and in high definition. We'll chat about how the procedure will go down, what to expect before, during and after, as well as the current economic, social and political climate (not exactly sure if those last few things will come up, though).

And since I've made the crazy decision to go against the gastric grain and choose the Lap Band, I fully expect The Good Doctor, et al., to make one final last gasp effort to bring me over to the bypass side. But I will be ready for his Gastric Jedi mind tricks!

Target surgery date is the end of September. So let the countdown begin.

SIDE NOTE: And if I don't already have enough reasons to be doing this, a recent study showed that severe sleep apnea raises the risk of dying early by 46 percent. WOW. I've been on a CPAP since 2005 and probably could have used it way before that. Lemme tell you, it's made a WORLD of difference in my life. NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White died at the very young age of 45 from heart disease caused in part by years of untreated sleep apnea. So if you even suspect you might have sleep apnea, please, please, please, for the love of all things chocolaty, sprinkly and donut holey, get it checked out. If you're worried about the stigma of wearing the headgear at night, then swallow your pride, man up, grow a pair, build a bridge and get the hell over it. It'll save your life. Learn more about sleep apnea here. End soapbox rant.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled day. Peace!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Done and Done

You can stick a fork in me, or one of them laproscopic jobbers as it were, cuz I am done. Apologies to Mr. Keeling, my 7th grade English teacher, who used to say "Turkeys are done. People are finished!"

Done, as in, the litany of insurance requirements and hoops have been satisfied and can heretofore and thusly be considered jumped.

The last doctoral hurdle was this week's visit to the Good Doctor's office for my "final nutritional evaluation." That's a tad misleading, since it wasn't really an "evaluation" in the sense nothing was truly evaluated.

I was honestly expecting the thin and pretty nutritionist to take a look at my daily food logs, cackle in amusement, bring in others from the office to look, point and snicker, then turn to me and say as she struggled to keep a straight face, "You really eat all this? No wonder you want weight loss surgery?" before falling over in a final fit of uncontrollable laughter.

Fortunately, that's not how it went down. Miss Thin and Pretty, who in case you were wondering was well tanned from her week-long vacation that delayed my "final nutritional evaluation," simply covered a few more suggestions for behavioral changes in preparation for surgery, as well as what to expect during the week before and the weeks after surgery, which by the way - HOLY CRAP! (more on this in a later post).

SIDE NOTE: It's good that the Good Doctor's food specialist is thin and pretty. Because really, would you trust the nutritional advice from a a lardo who also was in desperate need of lapbanding?

I've heard that the first week is the hardest. Mrs. Thin and Pretty says, "It's just plain gonna suck." And considering that protein supplements are the only thing on the menu, I'm not inclined to disagree.

But I haven't come this far just to give up now. Besides, I gotta see this through, if for no other reason than the fact that for the past five years I've been living in fear of catching a surprise, right out of left field mule-kick to the gonads. Lemme 'splane.

A number of years ago I was hanging out with some high school chums at a small reunion-type get-together. As is the case at these little "relive the memories" shindigs, there were a few there whom we hadn't seen since the halcyon days. One in particular had apparently eaten every small animal within a five state radius because he was L ... A ... R ... G ... E!

I turned to one of my pals, we'll call him Johnny Cocobutter, and said, "Johnny Cocobutter, if I ever get that fat, you have my express permission to walk right up to me on the street and kick me right square in the nuts." That, of course, is not the most sensitive thing a man can say about a friend, but hey, I would never have imaged in my scariest of dreams that I would end up surpassing that big boy by about 25 pounds. Now you know the REAL reason I've been wearing a protective cup for half a decade.

So now we wait. The Good Doctor's ducklings will package up the paperwork and teleport it to the Insurance Industrial Complex. If I dotted all the I's - which I did - and the Good Doctor and crew crossed all the T's - which they did - then the AETNA Fat Police should send back their rubber-stamped approval within two weeks.

Once we get the go-ahead, then it's another consult with the Good Doctor for final flight instructions and we'll be go for launch sometime in late September. Provided I first don't end up in the hospital with blunt-force trauma to the scrotum.

I've got my eye out for you, Johnny.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Getting My Cardio On

Another day, another hoop.

This time, the Cardiac Stress Test hoop.

I've done one of these before. Not so bad. Basically, they hook you up to all the wires and electrodes and monitors and cuffs, then have you walk on a treadmill, increasing the speed and incline every three minutes. The goal is to get to 100 percent of your active heart rate, which for me is 181. Scoreboard! Mine's bigger than yours!

While I often reach that mark when bending down to tie my shoes, I do spend the occasional minute or two on the treadmill, so I wasn't worried about this particular hoop. Piece of cake (mmmm, cake!).

First three minutes ... no problem. Evidently, most "incidents" happen within the first three minutes. Incidents being defined as passing out, dropping dead or anything in between. Would have been a nice piece of information to know beforehand. Nonetheless, I survived the first stage incident-free.

Little more speed, little more incline. Starting to get a little harder. Not because I was running out of gas; but because my calves were shaken from their deep summer slumber and were extremely unhappy about having to perform in such a rigorous manner, especially without proper advance notice. They reacted by dousing themselves in petrol and setting themselves ablaze. No matter ... second stage complete, bring on the next three minutes.

More speed. More incline. More sweat. More labored breathing. Now I was starting to run out of gas. Still, I was determined to make that 100 percent heart rate. I watched the various EKG lines and numbers blinking and jumping and changing on the screen in front of me. 169 ... 171 ... 173 ... must get to 181.

It was was at this point that I think my calves texted my thighs, quads, hips and knees because not only had they all set themselves ablaze, they also were drinking molten lava, spending the summer in Texas and touching the hot burner on the stove while dancing directly on the surface of the sun in their own little lower extremity version of Burning Man. Did I mentioned they were burning?

I was done. Eight minutes, with a top heart rate of 173, which is 93.5 percent of my active rate, without incident. No aortic explosion. No cardiac infarction. No chest pains. Not even a bout of dizziness. I had survived. My cardiac stress had been sufficiently tested.

The Heart Doctor was pleased with the results and declared my heart fit for surgery. I was tired and sweaty, but then again, when am I not.

Cardic Stress Test ... CHECK!

One hoop left ... the final nutritional evaluation hoop next week.

Feel the burn, y'all.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sand in the Vaseline

Last week I visited the Good Doctor's office for the required third time in three months. Mind you, I haven't actually seen the Good Doctor since our initial visit. And a dollar to a donut (mmmm, donuts!) I won't see him again until right before he's poking holes in my tool shed and putting a C-clamp around my gullet.

This visit was a clear example of how a small bit of sand in the Vaseline can bring the Good Doctor's Amazing Gut Busting Machine to a grinding halt, or at least get it as backed up as a starving fat man after a cheese eating contest.

Upon arriving for my 9 a.m. appointment, the palatial lobby was already half-filled with the fat, many of which looked none too pleased. Seems if the the Good Doctor or any of his ducklings are running late, so is the rest of the rotund world.

After weighing in (gained 10 lbs., damn you Bacon Cheesy Potato Burrito!), I spent 45 minutes doing physical therapy. And when I say physical therapy, I mean doing 3 sets of 10 of the lightest weight possible on a circuit of high-tech workout equipment. What this was meant to accomplish I have no earthly idea. I guess it satisfies the "medically supervised physical therapy" portion of the War and Peace-like set of insurance requirements. So ... CHECK!

Back to the lobby, where the cup had now runneth over and spilleth out into the seats in the hall. Someone must of woken up WAY late. Now it was my turn to wait, but I was assured that the nutritionist was almost done with her current consultation and would be with me shortly.

SIDE NOTE: In previous posts I noted that someone in the Good Doctor's office must have a wet spot for Ashton Kutcher, given that Guess Who? and What Happens in Vegas were playing on the waiting room big screen. Mr. Kutcher's stalker must have been off (or the one running late!) for this visit, because instead of another one of Ashton's fine cinematic performances, the masses were treated to both Hotel for Dogs AND Marley and Me. Guess it was the dog lover's turn to pick. As far as I know, Ashton hasn't starred opposite a canine, but he was the voice of Elliot the mule deer in Open Season. Would that count?

So I sat, waited and watched, and here's what I learned: fat people don't like to just sit around, which given my own personal experience as a fat person, is quite the juxtaposition, ya' know? I don't know if packing on the pounds makes you more prone to blow a gasket or throw a clot, but blood was boiling and steam was escaping from ears all around.

Luckily I was called back before getting caught up in any kind of super-sized smackdown. And for what? The nutritionist, who was triple booked because of her looming vacation, didn't actually have time to go over my weekly food logs (which worked out fine for me since I forgot them and would have to fax them in the next day) and asked that I come back for my final nutritional evaluation once she returns from a week at the beach.

I had to wait 35 minutes for that? Hello!??? Mad fat person about to pop a cork here!!!!!

Oh well, as the old saying goes, when you jump through one hoop, another springs up in front of your tired fatass to jump through. Or something like that.

Next up this week: Cardio stress test. Walk on a treadmill and take solace in the fact that there will be trained medical professionals to land on if and when I pass out from exhaustion.

Next up next week: Previously alluded to final nutritional evaluation. She better have some damn bikini pictures to show me from that vacation!

I'm out.