Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Diet

At 250 pounds, I should have been about six-foot tall instead of my 5 foot 9 inches. Or as I’ve heard, “I’m not over weight, I’m under tall!” Regardless, news came out that the Department of Transportation (DOT) was going to pass regulations for truck drivers to be height-weight proportional. So I started praying for help.

I’d been stable at 250 pounds for years, and an attempt at losing weight failed miserably. I went on a vegetarian diet for thirty days. At the end I had lost a grand total of two pounds! I went out and got me a Big Mac.

I considered myself healthy. My job wasn’t sedentary and I was otherwise active. I thought I ate well, and drank lots of tea that I heard was good for me. My blood pressure was a bit high, but my cholesterol was excellent. So the DOT news didn’t really faze me. But, getting up in years, it probably wouldn’t hurt me to lose a few pounds.
This isn’t the first time: a number of years ago a doctor told me that I had to lose 125 pounds. The divorce was almost painless! (joke!)

For the past couple of years I would occasionally have what felt like gas, with gut pressure that wouldn’t go away no matter what I did. But after a few hours it would, and all would be well again. Then one day it all came to a quick halt.

It was a Sunday in October, and I had gotten up at my usual late afternoon time. The night before I had the gut pressure while working and had ignored it. As I was coming home I ate the raw carrots that I had with me. But when I got up, I felt worse than before, and it quickly escalated. There were three indicators that I was in bad shape: I didn’t want to cuddle with my Lady, I was considering going to a doctor, and was bad enough to call in sick. With no immediate care center open at that hour, I opted for the hospital emergency room.

I don’t know about anybody else, but my opinion of a hospital is that when you go there, they are supposed to help you feel better. That’s not what happened; the things the doctor did to me made me feel worse, and I even told her so! My apologies to women, but I felt like I was giving birth, to something.

Eventually the meds took effect, I calmed down, and the doctor figured out that the half-inch-size gallstone didn’t cause the pain.

I was put on “the diet”. No red meat; drink juices, no soda, caffeine, tea; no greasy foods like potato chips and no popcorn; no spicy foods; nothing with tomatoes, such as Italian and Mexican food. The objective was to avoid foods that would irritate my stomach or were acidic. I should eat chicken, turkey, fish, and pork sparingly, with lots of veggies; no onions, peppers or carrots.

I told my Lady to “Shoot me now and get it over with!”

The first four weeks I lost 20 pounds! “At five pounds per week”, I proclaimed, “y’all would be rid of me in less than a year!” My Lady didn’t think that was funny.

I then had to get my DOT physical. My blood pressure was perfect, and I felt good. My pants were baggy, but that’s what belts are for.

Then phase two of the diet kicked in: I got the flu. That week I lost another ten pounds. I have no butt, which is a blessing in disguise. While delivering a load of fuel, I had made a customer mad because I was blocking the driveway with my truck. He threatened to kick my butt. I grabbed the back of my pants and told him: “I’ve lost 30 pounds in the last two months. I have no butt for you to kick!” He just walked away shaking his head. When life gives you lemons…

I now weigh 220 pounds! I haven’t weighed that since third grade!

I hadn't intended to be so compliant, but God had other ideas!

(Submitted to Prairie Times & Rejected!)