Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Stuff I need to share

I know I promised the good news post, but I have to tell you about a couple other things. I promise the other post by this weekend at the latest.

I traveled to Columbus this past weekend to see my Dad. I got there on Saturday around 1 o'clock in the afternoon. My Dad was doing much better mentally and physically than even a few days previous which I was glad to see. We spent the next half hour or so catching up and just talking. It was great to be with him one-on-one. I love my family, but a son needs to be with his Dad every once in awhile without all the other noise.

After that first half hour, something happened though. I started to notice these random lapses in his language and expressions and actions. They happened here and there, mixed into periods of complete normality; sometimes very severe and painful to watch. It was as if my otherwise-normal Dad turned into a psychopath. By 3 o'clock I wanted to leave. As much as I love my Dad and miss him, I didn't want to be there anymore. It almost made me cry to mentally admit it to myself.

At some point, a nurse came in with his mid-afternoon medications. He questioned the pills in the alternate-Dad persona and the nurse explained what they were. (It was obvious this wasn't their first like conversation. But she remained patient.) One of the pills, she explained to him, was Methadone. I could feel my mouth drop open. What a horrible medication. So horrible, I thought for sure it had been outlawed. (Google methadone clinics if you want the ugly truth.) Of course he was getting it for something he needed, but I couldn't have been more shocked and saddened.

And then it hit me. My Mom ---my wonderfully patient Mom, the woman who everyday was being forced to watch her husband get worse and worse, the woman who now went home alone every night without the person she's shared the last thirty eight years with--- is a superwoman. I was sick and tired of Dad's not-normal actions within a couple hours but she's been dealing with it for months and months and was not backing away. What a hero. She may not see it, and may not even agree because she knows what her inner-thoughts are, but it's true. At that moment, my revelation made me love and respect her more than I ever have in my entire life. I love that woman so much.

Now knowing it was the medication causing him to sometimes turn whacko, and with a new found respect for what my Mom was going through, I righted my brain and spent the next nine hours with the man I love more than any other man in this world. And not one second did I want to leave. It was such an awesome visit. I went back the next day and spent another four hours with him before I had to head for home. It was so good to spend time with my Dad and I wanted to share my experience with you.

The second thing I wanted to tell you folks about, is me and my health. Last Month I made a commitment to myself to do something about my weight. For so many years, I lived in a world of denial that I wasn't fat all the while joking about being fat as a defense mechanism against the issue I didn't want to deal with. It didn't help that ten years ago I went from a very physical workplace to sitting for a living. Add to that demanding workloads (some taken on by me not necessarily the job) that made me work through most lunches. So when I would get home I was starving from a sometimes ten or eleven hour fast. While not always an unhealthy eater, when I got home I would crash in front of the TV and eat without ceasing. Sometimes my eating gorges would last three or four hours. It's almost disgusting to admit. What happened from all this was one hundred pounds added to my already overweight frame.

The first thing that needed to change was my brain. I'd seen so many people get sick and die premature from diabetes II ---the kind you give yourself--- and I refused to be a statistic. I also realized my weight was blocking me from enjoying life. I usually passed on playing sports with my friends because I knew I couldn't participate for more than a few minutes. I missed out on trips that would involve physical activity. And I don't think I need to tell you what putting a hundred pound gut between you and your mate does to your relationship. (On more than just the physical side.) I declined invitations, missed appointments, and as shameful as it is to admit, lied to my closest friends so I didn't have to be embarrassed by my limitations. I needed to make a change.

I've talked about changing for seven or eight years. I had plans and books and bold statements. But none of them ever happened. Much the same way many people yo-yo diet, I was yo-yo planning. One plan blended into another plan that just blended into another plan. Not a single one of them ever seeing action.

I'm not sure what it was that made me take action after ten years. Maybe it was my friend Angela being honest about her journey, maybe it was my Dad's health, maybe it was Ell's honest admission of her feelings, maybe it was my Grandma's voice from years ago letting me know I was, "...packing on the weight." Or maybe it was just me being tired of not being in control of my own life. Whatever it was, I made the decision and now I'm changing my life.

How, you ask? I found a gym to join where I can go 24 hours a day. I've been working out six days a week giving myself a day's rest to recover. I also bought a Biggest Loser book and am using the 30 day meal plan to eat sensibly. I've always been against weird diets, and still think they do more harm than good, so this was a good choice because it teaches how to make sensible choices in all meal and snack choices. Even with my still-present health issues and my still-present job demands, I'm doing great. I basically made a decision to stop letting outside influences like those stop me from taking back control of my life. I have plans and goals and I refuse to let anything stop me from achieving them.

So there you go. I'm not sure I can relay how difficult sharing my weight problems with you was to admit. I know that putting that out there opens me up to people giving me the up & down when they see me, looking for results. I also know it opens me up to the judgement that comes with those looks. Knowing both of those things, I offer a freebie to all. Please ask me how things are going when you see me. Please ask me for numbers. Please ask whatever you want. I am taking back control of my body and my life and I welcome your thoughts if you feel like sharing them.

Hopefully that was all worth reading. If not, thanks for reading anyway. :) Stay tuned for the good news post.


Blogger Swedish Mama said...

Good for you Sam, self discipline; self control; self denial; whatever title you give it--it isn't the easy road, but it is the winning road. Just ask Jesus. I am proud of you.

It isn't the metadone that is causing your Dad his problems. He has been on the lowest dose for years. The extreme, long lasting infection that has caused damage to his mind, and to him pyhsically. It is hard, frustrating, and frighting...what is his future?

I am not a super hero. I am his wife. We have shared 38 years of marriage and three years of college. We are each others completer. I am not alone, there are many spouse just like me.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Sam, I too am proud of you! It is hard to admit that there is something wrong, but that is the first step in taking the action to make it right! I'm working on my weight too! I've lost 14 so far. I don't know if anyone can tell, but I can! And that's what matters!
As for mom, yes, she is a super hero! She is amazing! She works so hard to keep everything together! We need to get her to admit and realize just how amazing she is!

Love You Sam!! Keep up the good work! And it was nice to see you Saturday and Sunday!!!

8:53 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

I sm cheering for ya! Hope your Dad is doing well.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Melissa Blair said...

That is great Sam! Maybe your journey will help to get me motivated to do the same. I look forward to hearing about your success!

5:34 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Two things, Mom.

First, I think you should read up on Methadone if you don't think Dad's actions and facial ticks and nervousness aren't related. I'm sure there are other issues at play, but Meth is a horribly dangerous drug with lifelong side-effects. It's just plain horrible that he's on it now, let alone that he's been on it for a long time. I know you have nothing to do with that, and I'm not trying to be any kind of argumentative. I just know that what I saw Dad going through were textbook Meth side effects.

Second, those side effects and the mess they're slowly turning Dad's mind into does prove your heroism. You are going through so much and you rarely complain or talk ill of Dad. You're right, that is true love and marriage and I am proud to have those attributes in my parents.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I can't really find a comment in the comment aisle for this post, but good read and the best to you!!

Certainly hope that things rapidly change for your dad.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Go get you some, Sam. You're a hero too.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

ive had this post up since you posted it. but just now had more than 2 seconds to sit down and read it all with no interuptions. and i am so glad that i did just glance over this one. i am so proud of you sam. for being stronger than the things that you want gone. for truly wanting to change. that is the hardest part. you can do it. (((HUGS))

8:57 PM  

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