A new “Before” picture

On Thursday morning a nurse at Swedish Medical Center took two photos of me, one from the front and the other from the side. This was part of my four-hour appointment in preparation for weight-loss surgery, which I won’t have for another couple of months. Should I ever get my hands on a copy of the photos, I’ll post them here, or somewhere you can find it.

After the Nov. 3 post in which I announced I was probably going to have the surgery some of life’s crises arrived in big ways. The day after that post my father went into the hospital with a bad lung infection. He died from it a week later. I couldn’t bring myself to write anything. Odd that I had no appetite for the outlet that has been crutch and teacher most of my life. The final week of his life was spent mostly sitting with him in the hospital. He awoke a couple of times, but not for long. There was peace in his passing and joy in the idea that his existence now is preferable to the one he had. We did write a nice obituary for him and had a nice service for him in Utah.

But there is also an emptiness. I miss my dad. I keep telling myself that I’ll get down to writing more about it, but in some ways that would only seem to put the emphasis on me, when it rightly belongs on him. I trust I’ll find a way to do something that honors him and at the same time makes me feel worthy of closure. For now, I just kind of have a lingering unease about his parting. An odd reality about his death is I have finally figured out how I will write the book about him that I had always planned.

Not so much related to his death as much as to the ill health he suffered his final years was our moving out of the house we shared with my father. It was his house. We took care of him and called the house our own, but in the eyes of the bank it was his. When he went into nursing care we started the countdown to the day the bank would take it back. That happened a couple of weeks ago, or so. We had lots of help and live in a great new neighborhood in a nice house. We knew that day would come, and when you know something like that is coming you can become eager for it to actually happen. That day came, people from my work and church came out to help and by the end of the day we were in a new house, with smaller details left to handle before officially turning over the keys.

With that settled it became time for me to focus a little more on my own health. The Monday after our Saturday move the staff at Swedish called me and set up my appointment. I had been eager to get that call, but given everything else that was happening the timing was inspired. I almost had to back out because bronchitis was coming on in full force, but I toughed it out, even worked the rest of the day.

The “before” picture really will be accurate, because I am unlikely to gain any more weight. When I decided I was getting the surgery I packed on quite a few, continuing my habit of preparing for the fast by going on a binge beforehand. At some point it dawned on me that it would be weeks before I would go under the knife, so I moderated my input some. Still, it isn’t as if I’ve lost anything. So I’m as heavy as I ever have been, as much as I was when I started the quest I began in October 2011.

The real reason I won’t gain any weight, though, is because Swedish is asking for lifestyle changes now. They want me to eat slower, in smaller portions, with more protein and to keep a food journal over the next couple of weeks. There is a long list of things I will do post-surgery, but they want to see that I can do a few them before they put me under. This is, I assume, an effort to ensure greater success for me once surgery happens. The success rate of weight loss surgery generally, success being defined as losing and keeping off at least half of the excess weight, is good anyway. Swedish wants to increase my odds. They’re not just getting paid to cut me up. For that I’m grateful. So that means I get to start making some changes now, for which I will be grateful.

So here we go, I guess. One of the major things I’m happy to be getting out of the way is a sleep test, which I will take on Monday night into Tuesday morning. I may be excited to write about that in the coming days. Until then, bon app├ętit.