Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Scrambled Eggs and Studio 54

Starting Weight as of 10/14: 328 lbs.
Current Weight as of 10/29: 305 lbs.
Amount Lost: 23 lbs.
So it's been two weeks of liquids, a week on The Band and my ass is 23 pounds lighter. But that's like kicking a couple rocks off of Mount Everest. It's still freakin' huge! Nonetheless, I'm on my way. And to be completely honest, so far it really hasn't been that bad. The pain was dispensed in short order by my good friend Liquid Hydrocodone, who unfortunately is no longer with us. Hell, that's been the hardest thing to handle. I swear I sat and stared at the empty bottle for 20 minutes. I liked it when things were all tingly and a nice shade of cerulean blue.

The soreness has been minimal, but the swelling is still there. And not in a good way. My belly, which is now minus the 14 staples across 5 incisions, is still as tight and bloated as it would be after a happy, pre-Band night at the Super Jumbo Bumbo Chinese Buffet.

But Dr. Follow Up says that will go away in due time. Remember, he said, with every incision on the outside, there's the same size incision on the inside that still has to heal. And that can take a while, especially when you have skin like you do that is as thick and blubbery as a humpback whale's. Maybe he didn't really say that last part.

The good news is, and I think I'm burying the lead here, I'm eating SOFT FOODS! After my visit with Dr. Follow Up the other day, I high-tailed my big tail up to Cafe Brazil and dined on the world-famous culinary pairing of two soft scrambled eggs with salsa and a cup of cream of jalapeno soup.

Think about the best meal you ever had. Add to that the most earth-shaking, teeth-rattling, breath-taking, knee-knocking, toe-curling orgasm you every had. Add to that what it felt like for the 1987-88 Newman Smith Trojans to beat J.J. Pearce on Homecoming (We sucked! It was our first district win other than R.L. Turner in I don't know how many years). Multiply all that by 42 and that only begins to get slightly close to how good those eggs tasted. I mean, they were Eddie Murphy Best Cracker I Every Ate good. The waitress stopped by three times to ask if I was done I was savoring those eggs so long. There truly was a party in my mouth. And we're talking circa-1978, Studio 54, cocaine on the dance floor and sex in the balconies type party here.

Now all the eggs, cottage cheese, fruit smoothies and yogurt I've dined on since then haven't quite set off the same amount of oral fireworks as that initial plate of huevos, but that's OK. It's nice to finally be eating real food again, even if it is soft.

Next week it's on to solid foods. Somewhere out there is an unsuspecting yet very lucky chicken fajita nacho that will soon be attending the next great Mouth Party. And he better bring some hot and slutty friends.

Peace, love and scrambled eggs!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No pain, no gain. Who cares about gain?

Starting weight before liquid diet: 328 lbs.
Weight before today's surgery: 317 lbs.
Weight lifted off my shoulders: Immeasurable

I had the strangest dream last night. I dreamed I was abducted by aliens and they stuck probes in me and implanted a device that gave me unparalleled superpowers. Behold I am ....


Maybe my last dose of pain meds was a bit on the heavy side.

So it's done. I officially have a foreign object locked in around my gullet. Let the small bites and endless mastication begin. And that's mastication. Not that other word.

As far as I can tell, things went about as ducky as could be. In at 5:30 a.m., out by noon. I've gone to dry cleaners and photomats that didn't work that fast.

And I'm feeling just fine, thank you for asking. **PAUSE: It's time for my next dose of pain meds. So if things get a little psychedelic after this, you'll know why. Ah, all better now. Everything's a pretty shade of blue. **

The routine for the next few days is quite strict. I have to drink 1 ounce of something (water, juice, soup, bloody mary, you know, all the standard liquids) every 15 minutes, except when sleeping of course. I was never quite able to master the eat while you sleep technique, so unfortunately I can't apply that to liquids. This is to make sure that I stay hydrated and get all my nutrients. It's also to make sure that I spend a good part of my day in the bathroom.

As for medication, I'm wearing, quite literally, a medicine ball around my neck in a junior-sized fanny pack. This is delivering pain meds directly to the incision sites so I won't be screaming in pain like a little sissy baby.

On top of that, I have a rather large bottle of possibly the greatest invention known to mankind ever: liquid hydrocodone. G-O-L-D! And for anyone of you who has every been on pain meds for any length of time, you know that while I will be spending half my day in the bathroom, it won't be for No. 2. Sorry, TMI.

And if I'm not hooked up to enough stuff already, I have to wear these circulation socks for the next week when I sleep. These contraptions strap to my feet and and periodically inflate/deflate to help with circulation in my legs so I won't throw a clot. Well with your bad knee, Ed, you shouldn't throw anybody. It's true.

So I'm home and feel good. Glad it's over and starting to healing. But now it's time to go. I have to go take a dose so something or other.

Peace, love and pain meds.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Give me a P! Give Me Another P! And another, and another, and another ...

Current Weight: 325 (scale was actually way off yesterday, in a good way for once)
Current Wait: 6 days

Liquid Diet (LD) Day 1 is in the books. That sloshing sound you hear is not the ocean, toilet or washing machine. That's me. I drank so much orange juice yesterday that I now have a MEDIUM PULP sticker affixed to the side of my head.

There is a path worn from the ballroom to the bathroom on the second floor of the Crowne Plaza in Addison. If restrooms gave out frequent flyer miles, I'd be Platinum three times over. I can describe in intricate and exacting detail the pattern and coloring of the granite wall, and truthfully tell you that there is a small chunk missing from said granite wall just above and slightly to the left of the plumbing fixture at the third urinal from the left.

I think you get the point. I visited the facilities 10 times in an 8 hour period. While I'm sure that's not any sort of record, I've known pregnant women who could hold their water better than I could yesterday.

And props to Steve Crescenzo for putting up with my girly bladder. Not only was his Creative Communications seminar amazing, Steve's irreverent style and Chi-Town delivery made for a quite an entertaining day. I was inspired, energized and a tad bit turned on (was that out loud?). Check out his fine work at This dude's got mad skills. And I'm not just saying that because I hope that someday he will mention my blog while plying his fine craft across North America. No really. I'm not.

So as expected, the day was filled with free food at every turn. Pastries and fruit in the morning. Italian buffet for lunch. Caramel popcorn and movie candy in the afternoon.

At lunch I wandered down to the hotel restaurant to see what kind of soup was on the menu. Texas Chili or Beef and Barley. So naturally I took the third option, a second helping of Protein drink. But then I told the catering manager about my situation, and he graciously brought me a piping hot and incredibly tasty cup of beef and barley soup, minus all the chunky beef and barley parts. Thank you Mr. Catering Manager Man. You made my day.

To be honest, LD Day 1 was not as hard as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, it was (literally) no picnic either. What I quickly learned is how much you can take food for granted. Eating is so ingrained in your life that you just don't realize how automatic and instinctual it is.

As I was taking my girls to school yesterday, The Oldest handed me her apple while she climbed in and buckled up. Without thinking I took a bite, then not-so casually spit it out on the lawn. After school The Youngest gave me her half-eaten package of peanut butter crackers, and I eagerly fished one out, then not-so-eagerly put it right back. Even as I was fixing their dinner, I had to fight the urge to lick the spoon.

It's like the old saying goes, give a Fat Man a burger, and he'll ask you for another. Take the Fat Man's burger away, and he'll curl up in the fetal position on the floor and cry for his Mommy.

I think that's how it goes. I'll figure it out later. Right now I gotta pee.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Day My Girth Stood Still

Current weight: 338 lbs.
Current Wait: 7 days.

On April 27 I published my first entry on The Fat Guy in the Third Row, which one friend suggested I should change to the more humorous, The Fat Guy in the Third AND Fourth Row. I really wish I had thought of that. That's some funny shit right there.

In that first missive I threw my hat into the Weight Loss Surgery octagon and challenged my outer Fat Man to a no-holds-barred, winner-take-all, pinfalls-count-anywhere Texas Lap Band Steel Cage Death Match, with The Good Doctor as the special guest referee.

Along the way I've tried to detail my perilous journey using only my love of the written word and warped sense of humor as my trusted and loyal sherpas. And up until now, it's all been theory, supposition, conjecture, here say, uneducated guessing and a healthy dose of hyperbole. Basically, it's been all talk and no action. All smoke and no fire. All hat and no cattle.

Today, in keeping with the farm animal reference from above, it's time to kick this pig. Today, in similar keeping to the mountain climbing reference also from above, I begin my final, week-long push toward the summit; the apex that is Surgery Day. This final leg is the hardest; a test usually reserved only for hardened criminals, severe IBS cases and people with broken jaws.

Yes. It's what you think it is. The liquid diet.

Liquid Diet? Hey, isn't that what got me into this corpulent conundrum in the first place? Beer. It does a body good, right?

No more, my frothy, cold-filtered friend. Your hops and barley are not longer welcome around here. Instead, this week it's all about broth, fruit juices, protein supplements and drinkable yogurt. Or as my instructions say, "anything that pours without solid food matter." YUMMY! Seems it's needed to help shrink the liver prior to gut cuttin' time. Hell, it's the least I can do. I've kicked the crap out of my liver for a lotta years. 'Bout time it gets a little rest.

So everything I've gone through to this point, all the hoops, all the doctors, all the fat people, and for what? Today, on the first day of my liquid diet, I get to attend a communications seminar, which, of course, features free breakfast, free lunch, and all the free sodas and cookies you can eat during the morning and afternoon breaks. You know, all the things that make attending these kind of seminars almost bearable. Thanks Bossman, your timing is impeccable. You'll be getting some day-old pastries, a boxed lunch and a shirt full of mini-Sprites and oatmeal cookies for your troubles.

But that is not all. Oh, no. That is not all. Since it would be my final bites of anything resembling solid food for the next four weeks, I put a lot of thought into my final meal. Grilled Parmesan prawns with garlic butter, roasted new potatoes and a glass or two of my favorite Merlot.

The Calendar Gods, however, had other plans, choosing to double-book last night's grand finale with National Night Out. So instead of spending a romantic night with The Wife enjoying mouth-watering shrimp, tender rosemary potatoes and a full-bodied red with earthy tones and subtle finish, I spent my might choking down chili dogs, chips and sweet tea while shooting the shit with my neighbors.

How's that for being born under a bad sign. Anyone for shrimp and potato smoothies?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What It's Really All About

Current weight: Not sure. But I feel fatter than normal. But then again, when don't I.

So we're just about two weeks away from the big day, and it can't get here soon enough. Any normal-brained, jolly ol' fat person wouldn't be as excited about surgery day as a 6-year-old waking up at the butt crack of dawn and running into the living room to see what another jolly ol' fat person had dropped off the night before.

But for me it's the middle of December, the tree is up, the lights have been strung and the spiked eggnog is flowing. Because come Oct. 21, I'll be saying hola to one jolly ol' fat man and adi-freakin'-os to another. And as the day draws nigh, I've started to ponder the reasons why I'm willing to put myself and my family through all of this financial, emotional and gastrointestinal rigmarole.

There are obvious reason. Health, family, the ability to buy clothes at any place other than Thornton Mellon's Tall and Fat. You know, the important stuff.

There are other reasons. Reasons that don't seem like much to Mr. and Mrs. I Never Have a Problem Finding My Size. But to Mr. and Mrs. Fat Around the Middle America, these reasons are what it's really all about.

It's about not feeling like your skin is stretched as tight as Roseanne Barr's leopard-print thong.

It's about not having a stain on EVERY nice shirt you own because the food that would normally drop onto the napkin in your lap instead splats onto the big belly that is parked directly between your mouth and said napkin in said lap.

It's about not having to ask for a table after you've first been seated in a booth and found out that you can't sit in the booth without causing internal bleeding.

It's about not having to see the fake-smile, pitiful look on the face of the pretty, still in high school hostess whom you've just asked to re-seat you at a table.

It's about not smiling and patting the sweet little girl on the head after she points at your belly and asks, "Is there a baby in there?"

It's about not sitting in a meeting unaware that the fifth button on your shirt has popped loose because it could no longer withstand the strain its been under.

It's about not standing up in front of a group unaware that your shirt tail has come untucked because there simply isn't enough material to cover your belly AND leave enough shirt tail to stay tucked in.

It's about not getting those icky looks from friends and co-workers when you raise your arms above your head for some reason and they see that the pits of your shirt are soaked through to the point that even a Sham-Wow would have a hard time sopping it all up.

It's about not getting sweaty and out of breath from any of the following: tying your shoes, taking a dump, getting the mail, getting the newspaper, reading the mail, reading the newspaper, sitting down on the ground, getting up off the ground, getting in bed, out of bed or changing the sheets on the bed.

It's about not having to explain to your friends who graciously asked you and your wife over for dinner and drinks that you just broke their toilet seat.

It's about no longer being the guy everyone at work brings the extra brownie, cookie or lunch leftovers to.

It's about not avoiding bending over for any reason whatsoever. Not even if means letting a $20 you dropped flutter away on the lightest of breezes.

It's about not deciding against chasing after the $20 that is fluttering away in the lightest of breezes because there is no way you could catch up to it, despite the fact that it's fluttering away on the lightest of breezes.

It's about not almost giving yourself a hernia because you would rather bust a gut - literally - than ask the flight attendant for the seat belt extender.

It's about not having to wonder if the rickety old wood chair you are sitting on is going to collapse under the weight, since it's happened to you twice before. On the same night.

It's about not having executive leadership take a thinner, better dressed, more put-together person more seriously than the fatter, sloppier, sweatier you.

It's about not walking into a bar and knowing that no chick would give you a second glance or even the time of day if you were to go up and say hello. Not that I would or want to, since the one woman that matters in this world gives me both a second glance and the time of day. But still.

It's about not experiencing the horrible, self loathing feelings the nano-second after realizing that the fifth button popped loose, or that the shirt tail is untucked, or that the pits are soaked through, or that you can't fit into the booth, or that the hot chick at the end of the bar whom you smiled and winked at is not only giggling at you but is now telling her friends next to her that the fat guy who just walked in the door just smiled and winked at her.

Don't take any of this the wrong way. I'm not bitter about all the above. Ok, maybe a little. But I'm the one who drew up the blueprints, built and tirelessly maintained my tool shed. I have no one to blame but myself.

But finally, for once in my fat life, enough is enough. Now I'm not naive. I realize that not all of this will change once I'm a lean, mean Lap Band machine. I mean, who am I kidding? I'm still going to sweat - I have very active glands (Thanks mom!). And I'm still going to get stains on my nice shirts - that's just clumsy ol' me.

But the next time you see a $20 fluttering by on the lightest of breezes, that'll be my skinny ass chasing after it.

Peace, love and leopard-print thongs!