Wednesday, February 10, 2010. Exactly 6 years ago today. It’s funny that sometimes the most life changing days start out so mundane.
I remember what I was wearing that day. It was a skirt/shirt set - burnt orange in color. I LOVED that set. It had large buttons that went down the front. Best of all, this 3X bought online FIT.
I got up as I always did with just enough time to get ready and head out to work. I didn’t eat breakfast - back then I never did.
I worked throughout the morning, but felt...off. I had a slight headache and felt a little nauseous. Around mid morning I went back to the staff area and snagged a Little Debbie brownie and devoured it. When lunch came I headed up to Target where I ate at their café. A soft pretzel with cheese to dip it in, a yogurt and granola parfait and their largest glass of Mountain Dew - which I refilled.
I still didn’t feel quite right and was a little dizzy. I got back to work and chatted briefly with a co-worker and then headed into my office. During lunch, UPS had delivered a package of drug testing supplies, which I pulled over to my desk and unsuccessfully attempted to pry open. I grabbed an old pair of scissors from my desk and used one side to try to peel up the tape. The metal blade actually broke and so I jerked my head back as the rest of the scissors came flying at me.
As soon as I threw my head back it was as if I had been walloped with a baseball bat. Not in terms of pain, the headache was still there but it was not an intense pain - but instantly the room began spinning, I was completely disoriented, felt horrifically sick and lost all control of my body as I slid off the chair and onto the floor.
Laying on the floor I was trying to process what was happening but my brain was completely fuzzy. After a couple of minutes I managed to get to my knees and type a short message “Need 911" to a co-worker using our internal instant message program. A minute later she and security came running in. They were asking me what was wrong, but I could barely think and all words coming out of my mouth felt thick and heavy.
The next several minutes were a blur with people yelling and the ambulance crew arriving and questioning me. They set up the stretcher and looked at each other asking if I could stand up. In the midst of my fear and disorientation, I was embarrassed because I knew they didn’t want to try to lift me up onto the stretcher. I managed with their assistance to get onto the stretcher and was wheeled down the hall to the elevator.
I knew I had to throw up and told the crew that. They begged me to wait until we were outside. I made it just outside the small carpeted elevator before I let loose all of what I had eaten at Target all over the tiled entryway.
We made it to the ER where I was rushed in. Everything was a blur. I heard the doctor say the word “stroke” while another commented that I was “too young” and the first doctor mentioned my “risk factors”.
Several hours later after various tests, medications and a CT scan, the diagnosis of labyrinthitis was made. That’s an inner ear problem - not entirely understood, but surprisingly not related to my weight.
That weekend SUCKED as it took several days for the symptoms to go away. When you find yourself laying on the couch for hours at a time, sick as hell, you have a lot of time to think. And even though this event was not because of my obesity, it made me start thinking - about what my future might hold.
It was the next week when I went to my primary doctor and stood on the scale. It was an older model that had to have the little weight things manually moved and the nurse CLUNKED and CLUCKED it higher and higher until she said - quite cheerfully - “344 pounds”. I sat in the room waiting for the doctor and thought some more. When he came in, I waited for him to mention my weight, but he didn’t.
That weekend I sat on the couch watching football. During the game a large linebacker nailed the quarterback and the commentators laughed and referred to him as a “big boy” and put up his stats - 6'2" and 323 pounds. I was over 20 pounds heavier that a football linebacker - I remember thinking. The denial I had surrounded myself with began to crumble.
I didn’t resolve right there and then to change my life. But I think that 6 years ago today set into motion my start of making small life decision and implementing small changes that eventually led to a total life change.
I sat in the same office today and thought about that day. How different I am as a person than the woman that collapsed a mere 6 years ago. It’s hard for me to even believe that she and I are the same person. It does show how someone can have something happen that makes them think and what life changes can result from that....