Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My Heaviest Day . . .

It was January, 2003. I knew that whatever number awaited me was going to be big and scary and depressing. I approached the triage desk with a nervous energy and a longing to get out of there to go eat lunch. It was a Tuesday morning. 8:00 AM. I had gone for my annual physical the previous afternoon (true to form - my blood pressure and all of my other physical health indicators were "normal" - my blood work, which would come back a week or so later revealed that all was "normal" inside my veins too) and I tried to get on the doctor's scale in his office and - I tipped it. I had tipped a 500 pound scale. In hind sight, I should have become physically ill at this and thrown myself off the nearest tall building or at least gone straight to the grocery store to get some fixins for a salad.

Instead, I got annoyed. Why? I was told I would have to go to the hospital to be weighed. That meant a longer Metro ride the next morning, a one block walk to the hospital and then an extra block's walk back to the Metro, a train ride to my office and then that walk too WITH stairs to climb in the Metro stations. The HORROR of ALL THAT energy and "excercise" upset me.

I had made it to the hospital though . . . now I just needed to get this over with. The triage nurse looked at me like I was crazy "You just need to be weighed?" she scowled. "Yes," I muttered. "Do you know this is an Emergency Room with people in serious medical need?" she groused. "Do YOU know that I weigh more than 500 pounds and that I might myself be in medical crisis and I need to know my weight accordingly," I snapped back. "Go on back then, sir," she gritted "scale is at the back of Aisle 2. Help yourself." "Thanks," I spat.

I took off my shoes, my shoulder bag, my swearter and my over shirt (I knew this number would be bad - every pound I could take off would help make it more stomachable. I turned on the scale and climbed on. The digital numbers zapped up and down for a minute. The first number locked in 5. The second number 2. The third number 8. And 6 ounces for good measure. I felt sick to my stomach.

I put my shirt and sweater and shoes and shoulder bag back on. I walked back out of the Emergency Room. I thanked the triage woman for her "assistance" and I walked out to the cold DC air to head back to the Metro.

I made it about 10 steps. I stared to feel very sick and very sweaty and I started to cry. Sob. Shaking and twitching and gasping for air type tears. Like on Saved By the Bell when the girl is taking speed to get ready for her talent show and the SATs and her big test and she sleeps through the talent show and Zac goes to check on her and she breaks down . . . the streets started spinning. I felt very dizzy. I sat down. On the sidewalk. I cried for about 15 minutes.

I called my doctor that morning to give them the number. The receptionist asked me to repeat myself. I did. The doctor called me back about 20 minutes later. He was actually angry. Very angry. He challenged me, at the age of 26 to defend that sort of weight and that sort of condition. And then he challenged me to come back in six months - on my birthday - and to not tip his scale. He gave me the numbers of two nutritionists and a shrink and a personal trainer. He hung up on me.

I did the math . . . 30 pounds or more. Six months. Five pounds per month. 1.25 pounds per week. A few ounces a day. I could TOTALLY do that.

And I did. I went back - on my birthday - at 8:00 AM. I weighed 492 pounds. I went to McDonald's on my way to work to celebrate.

My how far I have come in about five years.

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