“I need to do a six month physician supervised weight loss program before I can get the gastric sleeve covered by my insurance.” She wasn’t even that heavy to start off with, her BMI was 32. She wasn’t diabetic and did not have high blood pressure.
“You are going to be married to a fistful of vitamin supplements for the rest of your life.”
“I don’t care. I am tired of being fat, of having people judge me.” I understood. People can be so cruel. “My friends have all had it done and they look great,” she said hopefully. “But I can’t loose too much weight right now or I won’t qualify anymore…”
We both knew she had no intention of really trying.
Sure enough she demonstrated a nice weight gain at each visit and steadfastly refused to count her calories or exercise or do anything except to say, “I’m cutting back, Doc. Really I am. I don’t know why I keep gaining this weight!”
I don’t know why that sort of thing qualifies someone for surgery. A barbaric surgery with lifelong consequences. Sometimes I wonder about the ethics of the surgeons doing these things and why there isn’t better after care for people undergoing the knife. Cut them up and then cut them off seems to be the plan across the board.
She had her surgery.
Three years later her weight was back where it started from and then some and she wanted a referral for a surgery revision.
I wanted to say, “I told you so.” And then I wanted to call her surgeon up and give him a piece of my mind.
But I didn’t….
A few weeks ago I was at one of those giant outdoor malls. There were easily 20-30 restaurants clustered around. Right there in the midst of it all there was a weight loss clinic.
Having just eaten at the Melting Pot myself I was so stuffed it was hard to breathe. Way too much food to be healthy but then why didn’t I just stop eating? I was too focused on not wasting anything. Getting my money’s worth. I blame my upbringing. I blame past poverty. I blame portion sizes.
I blame myself.
Where does that come from, anyway?
At first I was offended that this clinic placed itself where it did. Then I realized it was a brilliant marketing strategy. This is what we have become, isn’t it?
Binge. Purge. Binge. Purge.
“How’s your daughter?”
He smiled and pulled out his smart phone, flipping through pictures of a grinning, curly haired toddler. They’d had so much trouble having a baby.
“Oh, she’s beautiful!”
He nodded, beaming.
“How is your wife?”
His face changed in a instant. He looked stricken. “You knew she had the gastric sleeve done?”
“Yes, I had heard.”
“Well, she developed Korsakoff Syndrome.” Oh. Wow. “She got confused, couldn’t remember things. Couldn’t walk straight.”
“When she said she wanted to get the surgery, I didn’t say anything. I just wanted her to be happy. She suffered so much emotional turmoil over her weight. We had no idea something like this could happen, though. If I could go back in time I would tell her she didn’t need to do it. That I loved her just the way she was. Now she is not the same person. She has to carry a book with her to write everything down since she has so much trouble remembering things and she uses a cane to get around.”
“Mommy, I’m thirsty!”
It was swelteringly hot. I stood in line to get our fifth soda refill of the day in the $15 red amusement park drinking bottle I had purchased earlier that morning.
*Free* refills on Coca-Cola products all day!
I don’t need Coke products. My kids don’t need Coke products. Water would do just fine to keep us hydrated. But STILL…. I paid $15 for that stupid cup since I could not bring anything into the amusement park. I want to get my money’s worth, dang it. A small bottle of water costs $4.50 a pop multiplied by at least five times per person per day… but soda pop in the big red drinking bottle? Yeah. What is anyone going to pick?
So here we are.
Making money by making people fat. Making money to make people skinny again. Making money getting them fat again. Making money to get them skinny again.
And so on.
It does not ever stop.
How do we make it stop?