Thursday, September 13, 2007

A scary look into the future?

My parents are travel agents. Meaning, they're never home. They're always out and about, taking people on fabulous trips while most of the time, I'm left home to sulk.

Okay, not sulk really, but because my grandmother (who lives with my parents) is 83 and really not able to stay home alone, Mr. CCC and I "move in" to my parents house while they're gone.

We're there to keep watch over the house, the pets and of course, my grandmother. This week has been a difficult one, but one that's been eye-opening as well.

A few days ago, my grandmother woke up complaining of a pain in her neck and back. We figured she'd just slept on her neck funny and that a day of medicine and rest would get her back to normal.

Yesterday, when I asked how she was feeling, she said much better. I figured the issue was past until this morning...when my grandmother woke up screaming and crying because she could not move.

Mr. CCC and I packed her up and took her to the doctor. Just as I was getting ready to leave though, she tells me to grab all her medicines from her nightstand so she could show the doctor what she was taking.

I was more than a little surprised at what I found when I went back inside for her medicine--there were bottles and bottles and bottles. Grabbed 'em, put 'em in a bag and headed out.

When the doctor finally saw her and asked what she was taking, I produced the aforementioned "little" bag. As he looked at them, he explained to me what they were all for.

One for her cholesterol. One for her high blood pressure. Another for arthritis. Another for controlling or doing something with her blood sugar levels.

My head was spinning.

I know my grandma is older. And I understand our bodies start to fail us but as I watched in sadness while the doctor poked and prodded at my grandmother to try and find a solution for her pain, I couldn't help but wonder how different my grandma's life would be if she'd lost weight.

She's been overweight as long as I've been alive. For a good chunk of my life, she smoked. (Fortunately, she gave that up about 10 or 12 years ago...). But doctors have been on her for ages to lose weight. All of her weight (like that of most overweight Cuban women) is centered right on her midsection, something I know makes the weight even more damaging.

Even scarier? I was there when the doctors weighed my grandmother. She weighs less than I do. (She's also about six inches shorter...but when I checked our BMIs, hers is lower.)

It was sobering. But I know there's hope.

A year ago, when I started this journey, I weighed 30 pounds more than I do today. My BMI was at 41. It's at 36 now...still not good, but obviously, progress. And this week, when I went to the doctor and was weighed, I got the inevitable, "You need to lose weight" lecture. (I cut her some slack because it was my first visit--and the lecture stopped when I told her I'd lost 30 pounds and was continuing to work on things).

The other thing that stopped my doctor in her tracks? She took my blood pressure and said, "You exercise, don't you?" to which I responded that I did...and she smiled and said, "I knew it...because your blood pressure is perfect and there's no way someone at your weight should have that blood pressure...unless they're excercising. Keep at it and next year, I can't wait to see your weight."

It was a good moment for me but I had no idea that two days later, I'd be sitting in another doctor's office with a glimpse into my future if I don't "keep at it."

So many times, I get frustrated about my weight because I don't look good. Because I can't buy the clothes I want. Because it's about vanity.

I got another reminder today that there's a lot more at stake.


Healthy Pear said...

Sorry to hear about your grandmother's pains. I hope that she's feeling better soon. And as for you, don't let yourself feel down about your weight. You are already doing so well and just keep doing what you're doing. Your doctor will be amazed next time she sees you! :)

Marshmallow said...

Whoa. This post completely took my breath away, you left me speechless. What a wake up call, what a sobering experience. I'm sitting here, after reading your post, having been completely penetrated by what your grandmother - and you - have gone through.

It really is what the whole weight loss thing should be about, thoguh often, is not. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Teale said...

I've got the same situation at home. My grandparents raised me, and my grandma is 69. She's also been overweight my whole life and has a slew of health problems because of it. Her diabetes is causing her a lot of problems these days, and I am terrified that she'll have to have a foot or leg removed in the future. For me, it's all about the health!

Shannon said...

Wow. You are not kidding. That was definitely an eye opening experience. First, I hope the doctor was able to help your grandmother. Secondly, I am very happy to hear she has such a wonderful family surrounding her to help take care of her.

I also want to tell you how proud I am of you for doing such a great job of exercising and losing weight! YEAH!!!!

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It's an eye opener for me as well thinking ahead....I don't want my daughter or son to be overweight and have health issues and I know I am currently teaching them these things right now at age 4 and 1.

Blessings to you!

Once Upon A Dieter said...

Well, I'm one of those Cuban women with fat that really accumulates hard in the middle bits. Sigh.

I'm actually the only obese one of my siblings. But all of us raised in THIS country (I and my niece and nephes), all of us are overweight, and the one that was thin is now heavy and heading into obesity like the rest of us.

Those raised in Cuba stayed slim to normal weight, and only put on a few pounds after age 55.

Clearly, the lifestyle and diet in THIS country really encourages obesity, as the stats bear out.

So, we have to fight the toxic environment where food is everywhere and too easy and always available (abnormal, that, from any perspective) and the way we've lessened the need to move (cars,computers, cocooning).

Hope your abuelita feels better..


Shannon said...

What a wonderful post! It is good to be reminded of both what can happen if we do not take action now and why we do need to do this... for our health. Our health should be in the front of our minds, but most time it does take a backseat to our look and clothes. Thank you for the reminder!!

Livy said...

My Mother in law is the same. She smokes heavily, and religiously drives to the shops at 5am to buy more. She wouldn't walk, because she wouldn't make it. She has a big shiny bloated tummy, and looks like she's expecting. I was shocked a year ago, when she told me she was 84kgs. I was a kilo heavier than her. OUCH. I felt like someone had smacked me in the face. Thank goodness I am 80kgs now!

On the Dr topic, I went years ago to get a mole checked. I probably would have weighed in at about the 75kgs mark. At the end of the consultation, the forward Dr told me that he was 'very experienced in the area of weightloss'. I told him that I didnt' come for weightloss, I came to have moles checked, and I thought he was very rude. When I got home I balled my eyes out, realizing that he was just trying to help. Maybe if I had swallowed my pride back then, and taken his advice, I may not have hit that all time low of 89.5kgs.

honib1 said...

great post... I know it is hard watching those we love get older.. and even though it is hard to get those eye opening moments.. it can be good too.. it gives you one more reminder why you are changing yourself... and that is a very good thing...

Lady T said...

this is a harsh look at reality. i pray that her pain has since eased....

i am smiling for you though. that run in with the doctor had to have lift you up a bit. you're not there yet...but you are on your way!

Lynn said...

Hope your grandmother is ok!

I weight 249 lbs and take all of those meds (except arthritis) chol, bp and diabetes. I'm 24 years old. It ain't pretty.

Glad this was a wake-up call for you. I can't wait to be off some of these meds!