Well. I feel like it’s been a while! I’m not sure if I warned you, but I have no concept of time, specifically days of the week. I am rarely late, because I was in the military for almost ten years, and as the saying goes, “If you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late.” That being said, I may have forgotten to pick my niece up last Wednesday because…well, I had no idea it was Wednesday, and I put the reminder in my phone on the wrong Wednesday. It was a nice night, and she was in good humor about it, so all is well. I took her sister, my younger niece, to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday. She is twelve and she loved it. We talked about it through dinner, and I was able to relive my childhood a bit as I told her about the first three movies. 1977…seems like a hundred years ago. But that’s not why I write this blog. Yet.
I had my first appointment with the Nurse Practitioner Friday afternoon. It was a gorgeous day, much like today. We did things a little backward, scheduling my second appointment with the NP and another with the dietician. The psychologist and the physical therapist will be contacting me soon to schedule appointments, I was told. I remember thinking that this was getting real. As I waited, I read your blogs to keep my mind clear (thank you!!). Then I was being called in. I got on the scale and due to some last minute cheating, I had only lost 6 pounds. The more I thought about it, that’s two pounds a week, which is good! But I could have done better. Who has a problem with that type of thinking? Speak up and let me know why, would you?
The other thing I was thinking was that the NP was kind of cute. Probably too young, but cute nonetheless. I don’t ever want to make a play for someone on my team anyway, but it was going through my mind as she fiddled with her hair for an hour and change. We went over in minute detail my application, which was essentially my health history. She did say she didn’t think I would have a problem with the surgery and a successful outcome, because I am on the low end of the bell curve. So…for a fat guy, I guess I am the skinniest. I’ll take it, because it made me feel good.
We talked about the medications I am taking. We talked about the need for a sleep study, to which she is referring me. Apparently the guy will come to my house to do it. It’s convenient and creepy at the same time. It makes sense, though. I don’t sleep well unless I am in my own bed. I get my best snoring done there, apparently. I would’t have mentioned the sore throats I wake up with if I hadn’t been told by a house guest somewhat recently that I stopped breathing during the night several times. And I am an awful sleeper. The NP told me the C-Pap would make a huge difference in the way I sleep. My question was once I have the surgery, would the sleep apnea and snoring stop? She said it likely would, but that there were two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, which according to the Mayo Clinic’s website, happens when the throat muscles simply relax and the added fat on the neck adds weight to the windpipe and suppresses breathing; and central sleep apnea, which is when the brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. In the words on my NP, if you’re central, you’ve always been central, and you’ve likely always snored. But if it’s new, it’s likely obstructive and that can be dealt with. As a side note, the Mayo Clinic lists a third type of sleep apnea, complex sleep apnea syndrome, which is the fusion of both types of sleep apnea. It must be super-sized, to be a syndrome. Wow.
Anyway, we talked about family history. It was at this point I realized that most of my father’s side of the family is dead, including him. I have no way to get the information to answer those questions. It hit me in that moment. I am still a little adrift over that, but I am an adult man, and I have to be my own anchor, not count on my father’s family to be one for me.
We talked about support. What type of support would I have post-surgically? Does my PCP support this surgery? Do I have supportive friends? My mother is willing to stay here for a bit, and be a frequent guest until I am up and running on my own again. My sister is busy, but she might check in from time to time too. Maybe a few friends from work would help after work and on weekends. It almost makes me miss being married. You know, having somebody there who helps, supports, loves, but is there all the time and doesn’t leave. My doctor does;t really support having the surgery, probably because I’m on the skinny side of fat. I’m “only” 100 pounds overly ideal weight. I carry it pretty well because I’m tall, but it’s all in front. The down side is that my PCP is also my mother’s PCP. He is in favor of her getting the surgery, but she won’t. She’s resigned herself to being a large woman, I think. My doc is a great guy, he really is, but our paths diverge at this point. And since I don’t need his blessing for the surgery, I am forging ahead.
Finally, I’ve only told a few friends about this plan. One, the one I work with, is really supportive. She’s a little older than my oldest daughter, but we have more of a friendship…I don’t know. It’s strange. But she says if I need anything, she’ll be here, even though she has a husband and two young children. But I have this other friend who really pissed me off this weekend. I hadn’t spoken to her for 15 years. She suddenly reappeared up here in New England after many years down south, and wants to resume a more active friendship, which is fine. She’s had a couple small strokes over the last three or four years, but is still okay. Her memory is just a little off. She asked me to explain to her why I was getting the surgery. I told her I had heath issues, and I needed help getting this weight off, and frankly the fear of dumping and/or death is a good motivator to keep the weight off.She jumped in and started challenging my decision to do this, asking me why in the world I wanted to undertake something so severe. I got upset. I told her it was because I am fat, I am unhealthy, and I am close to being a 50 year old man who makes his own damned decisions and doesn’t have to answer to anybody – ever. I said it in a tone that left no doubt I was pissed off and ready to go toe to toe. She backed off (and spent the next twenty minutes apologizing needlessly) and the conversation went on, but I will not forget that any time soon. I do not need people in my life that are less than 100% supportive of my decisions. I don’t need brown nosing yes men, but I will no longer defend myself to someone else. Whether I’m right or wrong, stand by me, offer me counsel if you must, but I will be making the decisions.