Friday, July 24, 2009

Pre-op consult with surgeons

I never blogged about this yet; it was fairly uneventful. I was taken in by a nurse or medical assistant who was probably 100 pounds soaking wet and who talked a mile a minute. I heard all about her life, how she never knew anything like bariatric surgery really existed, how she thought at first it was just an easy way out, and how she felt like apologizing to all of her patients now because her outlook has just totally changed. Me being me, the first thing that popped into my head was, "You were mean to fat girls in high school, weren't you?" I refrained from saying it, however, as I wanted prescriptions for all the painkillers that I will be needing. I just smiled--very hard, crinkly eyes--and nodded (and ultimately walked out of there with scrips for Dilaudid, Valium, etc. Mission accomplished).

The surgeon came in with someone in training. She looked like a deer in the headlights, and the poor dear had me as her next patient. He went over my health history and recent test results, etc. At one point, he said, "Looking at these lab results, you aren't diabetic, are you?" I replied, "They diagnosed me with type II ten years ago, andI take metformin; I changed my diet drastically and immediately, but I only lost about 20 pounds. However, my blood sugars have tested in the normal range for the last several years." The surgeon turned to the trainee and said, "That's very common. There are a number of physiological factors that keep people heavy." I got this big old grin and said, "See, that's why I'm here!" He said something about how the rest of the medical field needed to catch up, and I insulted the first idiot bariatric surgeon I consulted with, we smiled at each other, and you could feel the love in the room. (At this point, I don't think the trainee knew what to do with herself; I could see the wheels turning in her head. Do I agree? Do I nod and smile? What's appropriate here? )

He told me a little bit about how long the surgery takes and things like that-- nothing I really didn't know. I then meandered along toward the scheduling people, who kindly called a nearby pharmacy and found me a pill crusher that I could go and buy (I'd looked all over for one of those damn things), and we went over more stuff. My check-in time is at 5:30 AM on August 3. (I don't think even God is up at 5:30 AM. Poor Mr. Salted will have to rally. I'll be all doped up in short order, so I don't feel as sorry for me.)

They asked me if they could take a before picture, assuring me I could not be identified. I said fine--I trust them, and I think I remember seeing photos like that at the seminar I went to, with the faces obscured. Yippee! Miss July, Poster Girl for Morbid Obesity. I told them, "You know, I'm a photographer, I can take good, flattering pictures of myself where my body shows and I'll still weigh 270 pounds in them." But no, they had to take one THAT DAY, when I was broken out, not wearing any makeup, and very, very hungry--and not a little testy--because it was Day 1 of Carb Deprivation: This Time It's Personal.

Being hungry and still fat has always put an angrily buzzing bee in my bonnet. I'm sure I've written about that before--walking around high school with a travel mug full of Slimfast when I was bulimic, lightheaded, sweaty, and still getting called names that pertained to my weight. (And I was 100 pounds + lighter.) How many times have I had a salad and a Diet Coke when my skinny husband/friend/coworker has had a massive plate of fries and a Philly Cheesesteak? Every fat person has these stories. I'm sure they get old, but so does living them. I, for one, want mine to be over.

I just want to be average size. Nondescript. If someone is looking at me, I want it to be because they think I have cool shoes or something. It seems like such a simple thing to want. I'm extremely determined to make this work--SO determined. Every time I see people eating food that might look or smell fantastic now, I cannot forget: for me, it just isn't worth it. I always thought food was my friend--sometimes my only friend; my only balm, my one reliable source of pleasure that one could take away. However, it's killing me,and I cannot let it kill me, or continue to let it make me sick. That's what I am keeping as my focus. I'm eating to stay alive--and that's all.

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Seattle, WA, United States
This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other
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