Monday, January 30, 2006

You Heard it Right, I Don't Care

It's been nearly three weeks since my last surgery (seven in 16 months) and I'm trying to convince myself that I don't care.

I lost Reality Doc today.

For those of you who read the blog, Reality Doc is my internist and SupaDoc is my weight loss surgeon. I adore SupaDoc and his skills are unmatched, but it takes a village to keep me alive and Reality Doc has always been the "face reality" part of the team. He's not a big advocate of the lap band, but he's always been a big advocate of Frances. After the staph infection, I couldn't see how I could continue to fight all my health problems and still struggle to lose nearly 200 pounds.

I liked the challenge of one day showing Reality Doc that the lap band could work for me. In the meantime, he kept me alive. My blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety (hang nails, you name it), didn't go away like wimps after weight loss surgery. They put up quite a fight and I always felt I needed a good PCP (personal care physician) to help me see the "big picture" of my health.

The staph infection marked a big change in my life and health. I lost my insurance between surgeries to open and debreed my wound and I've been at the mercy of a public health plan ever since. Medicaid assigned me to a doctor who has decided to stop taking new patients and the plan won't pay for visits to Reality Doc.

A few weeks ago, I had multiple hernias repaired in my abdominal wall. The pain and complications were getting the best of me, so I decided to throw up the white flag to get my blood pressure and anxiety in check and make sure a gash left in my mouth isn't becoming infected.

The doctor’s a pretty cool dude, but he’s surrounded by the “hounds of hell” masquerading as clerks, receptionists and nurses in his office. I’ve never had a “hello” or any greeting since losing my insurance and the loud whispers usually start while I’m in the waiting room. I got called back today before the inquisition started, but apparently the “free-loader” alert sounded right after and I was surrounded by three hounds who seemed puzzled why I had “no” insurance. “We can’t accept your Medicaid and we can’t accept your cash,” they protested. I assured them that the doctor knew this, but agreed to see me because I was having a problem. “That would amount to a ‘free’ visit,” shout whispered one of the women. I insisted on not leaving, so they put me in an open room to see what the doctor’s wishes were. The uproar in the office continued at a low roar and if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought a serial killer was visiting.

“He’ll see you,” the nurse said, “but just this one time,” she warned. She listened to my issues and complications after surgery and then said it would take her a while to find a cuff large enough for my arm. Mind you, this office sees weight loss surgery patients and saw me when I weighed 350 pounds. Bat wings aside, I’m sure my arms should have shrunk some with the rest of me, but the “large enough” cuff never surfaced.

I sat in my little room (with the door open) and watched a parade of patients go by and the office chat actually moved off the free-loader at spitting’s distance of the desk. I never got weigh and my blood pressure was never taken. I became “Large Invisible Black Woman.” After this continued for 45 minutes, I was certain that this wasn’t going to change unless I created a scene and thus farther elevating my blood pressure and anxiety. The lap band surgery must work miracles because no one blinked as “Large Invisible Black Woman” just slipped away, passed the desk and left the office.

I still appreciate all Reality Doc has done for me, I just realize that's not a good environment for a patient suffering from high blood pressure an anxiety.

I don’t feel like binge-eating or drowning my sorrows in chocolate sauce. Until I can see past the pain, I just don’t care about pounds, inches and cute little blue jeans. That may seem like blasphemy to the weight loss faithful, but when my journey to wellness gets tough, I refuse to just lament on the usual “fat-girl” issues. Wellness is still a goal, but I feel the need to focus on non-scale issues.

Eating is very painful right now. I can only chew on one side of my mouth and every bite swallowed is often followed by pain and discomfort. I’ve had at least two people tell me that on the bright side, I’m losing a lot of weight. Nope, it doesn’t work that way. I retained after the last surgery and I’m just standing still for the most part after that water weight is balanced. Hey, I forgot, I really don’t care. (Right now. Smirk)

1 comment:

Renay :0) said...

Dear Frances:
I am so sorry for what you ahve been going through. Even still, you remain a positive force on the Obesity Help site, always ready to extend uplifting words. Please know that God;s grace will always be with you. You and your family are in my heart and in my prayers.

God bless you,
Renay