So, why now? Why was January 2010 the tipping point to drive me into a weight loss program? The Baby was coming and my clothes didn’t fit well. I was over 300 pounds. What exactly was the catalyst?
I’m disappointed to say, but I don’t remember.
There were a bunch of flashpoints over the past five or six years. I was on a pretty good course in 2001, as I had previously mentioned, but unemployment led to comfort eating and enormous weight gain. Flashpoint number one, and the ultimate catalyst, should have been 2004 when I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. It wasn’t. I monitored blood sugar until the first time I had to buy strips and recalibrate the machine.
Weight Watchers was a nice diversion, but it didn’t stick. What did hang around was an unfortunate side effect of the pre-diabetic condition. It turns out that I developed the physical inability to fight fungal infection. So, these outer ear infections I was developing were basically swimmer’s ear without going in a pool. Wet ears would exacerbate the condition, but it didn’t take much to trigger the pain and swelling. I’d go from fine to a tingle to an inability to close my jaw or hear. At my peak, I was getting these about one every other month. Basically, water would get trapped, my ear would get moldy and, BINGO, infection. This explained why the antibiotic drops were not touching it.
Flashpoint number two should have done it. It didn’t. Late summer 2006 I was woken out of a dead sleep. Ask The Wife…it takes a lot to wake me up. Not even a crying baby does it (Ha!). Anyhow, the shooting pain of an ear infection jarred me awake. This one felt much different. Instead of the outside of my ear hurting, this came deeper. It was piercing, like someone had jammed a drill bit into my ear and was boring a hole into my brain. In what I can only liken to a drum roll ending in a cymbal crash or the whistling noise a dropped anvil would make before hitting Wile E. Coyote or Tom in the head, I felt this immense thrust of pain.
Because I’m the kid who scratches mosquito bites and touches the plate when the waitress says its hot, I immediate grab my ear and notice that its wet. I went into the bathroom to find what I had long joked about whenever I heard Celine Dion or Michael Bublé (what a hack he is).
I was bleeding from the ear.
I woke up The Wife, explained the situation and we decided to go to the hospital for what might have been the worst ER experience in my life. I had to ask for gauze at triage and was yelled at multiple times for helping myself to new dressing. At 11:30 p.m., some little snot turned off SportsCenter and put “Tango and Cash” on. All in all, I sat in the waiting room for three hours while, ahem, BLEEDING FROM THE FUCKING EAR. I shouldn’t complain. The guy sitting near me blasted a nail through his finger with a pneumatic gun. I got a bed before he did.
For the next five hours, I went unseen. I walked around. I checked my email at the nurse’s station. I rummaged through drawers for more gauze. Finally, at 7:30, I looked at The Wife with blood still oozing out of my head and told her we were leaving. I checked myself out, much to the chagrin of the doctor, who apparently wanted me to wait a few more hours, and went to my primary care doctor. My NP, who is awesome, diagnosed me immediately with a ruptured ear drum, likely from a fungal inner ear infection. I went to a family friend who is a well-respected ENT, got some drops and percocet and went to bed.
(Side note: The ER that ignored me was the same hospital where The Wife had The Baby. You’ll understand if I was less than confident in their ability.)
The subsequent ear infections didn’t really drive me much past a couple of failed Weight Watchers attempts.
No, there was no single flashpoint that drove me to Dr. Scinta. I think it was simply a case anticipation, or getting things in order.
It was a case of me Babyproofing myself.