After I finished up my radio show this morning, I completed a couple of daily after-show task and then decided on an early lunch. Because of studio scheduling today, I had an extended lunch, just perfect for visiting with the “mystery man” for a while before heading to the house for lunch with Irene and Courtney. We had a fantastic visit and he was more than happy allowing me to share his words from the e-mail he sent me the other day. The “mystery man” is Scott Hayes. After reading his e-mail and visiting with Scott and getting more of his story in person, I have no doubt that had he not started losing weight dramatically, he wouldn't be alive today. As you'll read below, his impatience and over-all reluctance to go to any doctor almost cost him his life. If it's been a while since you visited the doctor, allow Scott's words here to act as a reminder to have your blood pressure checked. This is kind of like having a guest posting, something I've never had before, I like it! The following is Scott's story in his own words:
Sometime around Labor Day 2008 I noticed I was very short of breath. I had asthma pretty bad when I was a child, but luckily grew out of it. Every year or two I get a little spell and generally just let it pass. Usually it takes two or three days and it gets better. Much like you, I despised going to the doctor to the point--I didn't even have a doctor. I hadn't been to a doctor in several years.
I was so stubborn about going to the doctor, I did nothing about my breathing troubles until November. It was so bad, my mother called her doctor and made me an appointment. I was very reluctant to go. I knew things would be bad. I almost left after waiting 10 minutes past my scheduled appointment time. When they finally called me back the nurse asked me to get on the scale. I told her I weighed more than the 350 lbs that their scale would display and I was right. (I didn't know for sure what I weighed, but knew it was more than 350) She then put the blood pressure cuff on my arm, pumped it up and looked disturbed. I again knew what was coming, but didn't say anything. She took the reading one more time and then told me the doctor would be right in.
Dr. Palmer did come right in. He took my blood pressure twice and asked me if I had high blood pressure. I told him apparently so, but I hadn't had my blood pressure taken for years. At that moment he told me my blood pressure was 250/140. He asked me if I thought I could make it to the hospital or if they should call an ambulance. I tried to tell him I didn't need to go to the hospital and asked him if there was an alternative? He explained to me that I should have already had a stroke. He couldn't treat my asthma with the steroids I needed because they would raise my blood pressure even higher. I needed to be hospitalized so they could monitor all of my vital signs constantly. I finally agreed with the condition that I was going home first to explain to my wife and son what was going on instead of calling her and causing a panic.
As I sat there waiting to be admitted at the hospital, that's when I noticed something that really bothered me. I knew I was in bad shape with the killer blood pressure, but when I read the doctors instructions and reason for admittance, I saw the words "Morbid Obesity.” That's when it really hit me. Much like you I wondered why does he have to be so mean? Couldn't he just have written "overweight"? (When I got home the next day I did an Internet search to get an exact definition.)
When I got up to Med/Surg they all must have heard about the fat guy with the outrageously high blood pressure. I bet there were five nurses in my room at the beginning. They asked me a bunch of questions like how I felt and such. They couldn't believe I walked up there on my own. Then one of them asked me to put a hospital gown on. (That could have been a deal breaker. I was considering leaving.) I finally convinced them it wasn't needed. The nurse asked me to get on their scales and again I told them it wouldn't weigh me. She told me it goes all the way to 350. I told her that wouldn't do the trick. Finally another nurse pointed out that the bed had a scale built in to it. Wearing just a t-shirt and light work-out type pants I weighed 389 lbs. I was so embarrassed to have the nurses all see that I was just short of 400 lbs.
The next morning after constant I.V.'s, pills, ect. my blood pressure was good enough for Dr. Palmer to release me. Keep in mind the day before was the first time I'd ever seen him and now he had me spending the night in the hospital. As he spoke with me that morning he asked me a bunch of questions about my habits. He asked about my eating habits and told me I needed to eat healthier. Then he told me what I was going to have do as far as blood pressure medication. I asked him if I lost 100 lbs would that fix the blood pressure problems? I could tell he was thinking I've heard this before, but he told me it probably would. I left the hospital that day and told my wife I was going to change. I don't think she believed me anymore than Dr. Palmer did that day, but I knew I had to do it.
I had a check up about a month later. I'd lost about 25 pounds, but my blood pressure was still a little high so he added another pill. It was one of those that they tell you to take the first time at night because you will probably pass out. I didn't pass out, but it sure made me dizzy. I told Dr. Palmer again that I was going to work hard and lose enough weight to get off all of the medicines. I don't think he thought there was any chance I was going to make the commitment it took to lose enough weight, but I told him that day I was going to lose 100 pounds total by my next check up 90 days.
I didn't quite make the 100 pound mark. I lost 83 lbs from November 10th to March 19th. Dr Palmer did the whole blood work up and such and everything was great. My blood pressure that day was 127/70. He took me off one of the blood pressure pills and said if I kept it up he'd take me off the others in September.
I have lost a total of 120 lbs. I really haven't lost much weight this summer, but reading your blog has me wanting to work harder trying to get the last 30 or 40 lbs off. Like you I never really decided what I wanted to weigh. I figure when I get there I'll know.
I would assume you were talking about me in day 303's entry. I did recognize you. It took me a second or two, but I did know it was you. I would have liked to stop playing and had a nice long conversation with you, but I didn't figure Travis would want to stand there and wait for the rest of the evening as you and I talked away.
I never really have starved myself. There are times I don't eat much, but I eat when I'm hungry. I'm the kind of person who has to have results and needs them now, so I may get a little extreme from time to time, but I'm not trying to hurt myself. I did from the start and still do weigh myself several times daily. It's just my way of doing things. I have never put a count on what I can or can't eat. I couldn't do what you have done with eating several times a day, it's just not me. I eat a 90 calorie Special K breakfast bar for breakfast everyday. Most days I don't eat again until dinner, but I usually eat whatever I want. Like you, there are some things I like, but don't feel that their calorie value is worth it, so I choose not to eat them. For the most part I think I eat enough.
It is amazing all the things we can do now that we could not do before. You have talked about amusement parks several times. Several years ago I was at Silver Dollar City and didn't quite fit in a roller coaster and had to get off in front of everyone and left my 7 or 8 year old nephew to ride by himself. A couple of weekends ago we went to Frontier City and I fit in every ride they had. You need to go soon because it was great not worrying if I would fit or not.
I'm sure I left out several things I would have liked to have told you. Anytime you need a walking, workout, racquetball partner or just want to talk, feel free to call me.
Thank you Scott for sharing your story. I'll be taking you up on that offer, I guarantee! Be sure to see the “before” and “in-progress” pictures below!
Irene prepared a wonderful dinner tonight. Pot roast with red new potatoes, carrots, and onions. With a four ounce portion of roast and everything, the entire plate came in at just under 400 calories. She also prepared desert! It was a Jello dish with bananas and whipped topping---a big serving of the stuff was only 80 calories. It was really good!
Courtney's first day of high school as a junior is tomorrow. The summer seemed too fast. Now we're getting back into the schedule we kept before, not gradually, but abruptly. Courtney has lost just over 30 pounds during the summer. I've never witnessed her so excited about wearing new clothes. She's fitting into things she could only dream about wearing before. Her confidence is at an all time high and it's just getting better and better as she continues her honest and consistent pursuit of an optimal weight.
Courtney has opted for an early bedtime, and we agree that's the best thing for her to do tonight. Irene and I are headed out for a real 10K around the trail. I expect it will take us about two hours to complete. I'll tell you all about it in tomorrow night's posting.
Thank you again to Scott for sharing his story. And thank you again for reading! Goodnight and...
Before—Scott and Kristi Hayes
“In-Progress”---Scott and Kristi