There is still a whistling in my ears. At this point, and I do not recommend this as a home remedy, it takes me a shot of Scotch to get to sleep. See, my Gastric Bypass means alcohol hits me like a cannonball, so between the kitchen and empty shot glass and my bed is sufficient time for me to be legally unable to drive.
I lie down, and find I do not care about the constant noise that constantly whistles. Whistles whistles whistles. I dream that whistle. I wake up to that whistle. That whistle is my world. That whistle consumes me. I am hearing it right now.
Plus we're struggling with a conversion to Voice over IP from work. (The less said about that, the better.) And my blood pressure is sky high, and my stress level is high.
Before you ask? Yes. I am seeing the doctor at 2:45 today. Because I am not an idiot.
And yet? I am happy. Hell, I am ecstatic.
And it's all thanks to The Simpsons.
Long term readers know I have lost a ton of weight. The Adipose Ninja, we call it, because I've lost more weight in pure fat than a human adult male trained in the arts of ninjitsu would have. For the record, we are in the ballpark of 200 pounds down. (We're not near the wall of that ballpark, yet, but we're starting to think about it.) This is astounding. My health is a thousand times better. I fit into things. I can shop at the Gap... if I can come up with a credible reason to want to shop at the Gap. There is far to go, and there is additional surgery needed (remember kids -- buy a t-shirt so Unka Eric can get large folds of deflated skin hacked off his torso!), but it has been a staggering, smashing success.
Only... I've still been above 300 pounds.
Yeah, do the math. Take a moment. Then stare at the screen in slack jawed horror at how much I clearly weighed before all this started. Go right ahead! It's fun! I'll wait.
300 is a big number. It's a perfect bowling game, in fact. And for people who haven't been morbidly obese, it seems impossibly huge. I have spent years coming to terms with that. (Hell, when you've broken 450, 300 doesn't seem so bad to you.) But there's that damn Simpsons episode.
You know the one. Homer discovers that the Nuclear Plant has a policy of setting up disabled workers with telecommuting. And he discovers that if a worker is fat enough, he is considered disabled for the purposes of that policy. And so Homer begins eating. And eating. And eating. His rule of thumb is if he rubs a fried food on paper and the paper turns transparent from grease? Eat it! (When nervous about eating fried fish -- fish allegedly being good for you -- Homer rubs it on the wall of the restaurant. The wall turns clear and birds start flying into it. I've eaten at fish places like that.)
He get huge. Monumental. Colossal. He starts wearing mumus exclusively, because pants just don't come in that size. He can barely waddle. He is one gigantic huge tub of lard.
The magic weight he needs to reach in this monumental obesity -- this "oh dear Christ he's coming right at us" fatness?
You guessed it. Three hundred pounds.
I don't look like Homer, currently. I'm wearing jeans that sat in my bureau drawer for years, unable to be worn due to fatness. I can wear 2XL shirts -- not small, by any stretch, but considered "normal" in today's world. I can walk. I can even run. I fit into booths again. I don't break chairs I sit in. I don't overflow chairs I sit in.
I do not. Wear. Mumus.
But that episode mocks me. Because it was so funny. And so true. I've been the shape Homer is in the episode. I've always worn pants, mind, but they were pants of frightening size. I went through a long period where I had to wear suspenders because belts just weren't an option. I know from that.
I've nearly died because of it.
And I took extreme measures to correct it. And it's not just the surgery. The surgery is a gigantic kick in the ass, but it's not a panacea. The surgery would do nothing to stop me from drinking chocolate milkshakes every waking hour of my life. The surgery would make it hard to eat six dinners in an evening, because I'd have to do it over four or five hours, but it could be done.
And make no mistake -- pre surgery, it was nothing for me to put away that much food. Nothing. I would do McDonald's drive through after a hard day, and I would get three or four extra value meals, because I was tired and stressed out and the food would make me feel better. If that sounds like I was using it as a drug, you're right. I would flood my body with carbohydrates and saturated fats, and my body would release hormones that would regulate my metabolism and my hormones. Like heroin, only heroin addicts get skinny. By the end, I couldn't walk into a convenience store without coming out with pounds of crap. There's been a lot of contributing factors that got me to that point, but once I got there I was keeping myself there, and I was out of control.
Those cravings and habits don't magically disappear when you get a gastric bypass, kids. And yes, you go through withdrawal. If you've never actually cried while watching a Taco Bell commercial, I envy you.
Does it sound pathetic when I say that? It should. I was pathetic. Don't make any mistakes about that. You know all the mean-ass jokes people love to say about fat people? I deserved them. I still do.
So. The surgery gave me an immediate, sharp negative consequence to binge eating. (And said consequences are horrid, I can tell you.) It gave me a governor to replace the mental one I lack. But there are ways around it. A lot of ways around it. And yeah, they'd kill me even faster (sugar is not my friend, now), but the old me wasn't exactly keeping myself from dying.
Only... the old me took the steps to do what he had to do to live. He saw the right doctors. He got the right recommendations. He did therapy. He then went on -- I swear -- a year and a half crusade with his insurance company to be able to get the surgery.
After all of that... and after the surgery itself... I would be damned if I was going to let myself slide back into the pit. It was too damn hard to get there, and this was my last chance. I broke the habits. I went through the withdrawal. I cried at commercials for food I never much liked in the first place. I forced myself to exercise. When things turned problematic, I went back in, found out why (the sugar sensitivity/latent dumping), and made an even more restrictive diet change.
I did it all right. And I lost weight. Tons of it. Huge amounts. And got healthier. And happier. I got more energy. Better energy. I became... well, human.
People don't stare at me when I walk any more. I look human to them.
I look normal.
And I tell myself that. And I try to believe it. You get so used to being a freak of nature that it's hard to believe you're not, any more. But I can't deny the differences in peoples' attitudes. The differences in people's bearings when they see me. Little kids don't giggle at me any more. Tell me that's not a change.
Only, this little voice in the back of my head kept saying, over and over again "yeah, but they'd let you telecommute to the Nuclear Plant, wouldn't they? Mister Burns of all people would pity you enough to let you park your fat ass on the couch and let a bobbing head bird push the Y key on your terminal while you watched Days of our Lives.."
And I'd argue with that voice, but I knew it was right. For all I've done, and no matter what evidence my eyes said, I was still over three hundred pounds. I was still pathetic.
Yesterday morning, I weighed myself.
I gave it a day. These things can vary tremendously from day to day. But no, this morning, I was able to confirm.
I am 297.5 pounds. Soaking wet.
If you'll excuse me? I have to head over to the nuclear plant. They don't let me work from home any more.