On mortality

It’s two hours before we’re supposed to get to the hospital, and I’m wide awake. I don’t know if this is because of nerves, or just because I went to bed exceptionally early last night. I think the latter.

I am sitting down now, cross-legged, on the bed, trying to type something profound about mortality. But I can’t. I’m deleting the text just as quickly as I’m writing it. I think the problem is that I’m trying to be profound, and I simply don’t have anything profound to write.

The fact is this: I don’t think about mortality a lot. Oh, I know I’m going to die someday. And I really, truly hope it’s not today. But I suppose I’ve never had a Kobayashi Maru (Footnote 1) moment, where I was forced to suddenly contemplate dying. Oh, there have been brushes with death — I’ve hit turbulence on airplanes, been close to crashing my car, eaten at Taco Bell. But I’ve never seen my life flash before my eyes, and I don’t think I’m going to today.

I have taken precautions before my surgery, of course, in case something does happen. I found my will, living will, and power of attorney papers (Footnote 3), and gave the Complementary Spouse a complete list of logins and passwords for all my major accounts (Footnote 4).

That’s it. I have nothing more to say on the topic of death. Really. It is a concern, but rarely a preoccupation, for me.

Not every profound, was it? But honest.

1. This might be the geekiest reference I’ve made so far in the blog. Cf. the Wikipedia entry on the Kobayashi Maru (Footnote 2).
2. Upon reading a Star Trek II reference, you are required by law to shout “KHAAAAAN!”
3. Lucy the Wonderpup has my power of attorney.
4. This wasn’t complicated to compile, as all my passwords are either “password” or “12345678.”

I’ve arrived at LAX(atives)

Well, today should be fun. To prepare for surgery tomorrow, I need to:

  • Take two Ducolax tablets at noon
  • Mix an entire bottle of Miralax powder into 64 ounces Gatorade G2, and drink it over two hours
  • Take two more Ducolax tablets at 3 p.m.

Don’t know what these things are, or what they do? Well, they all end in the suffix -lax. That’s short for laxative. That’s all you need to know.

I can also have any clear liquids I want. I have been drinking lots of water, and I’ll have chicken broth for lunch and dinner. I can even have a little apple juice. I’m prohibited from drinking anything that’s red, blue, or purple, as the coloring might stay in my system and make things a lot harder for the surgeon. This made it especially hard to find Gatorade, as the low-calorie G2 only seems to come in red, blue, and purple colors. Instead, I found a similar product called Propel (Footnote 1), which is entirely clear.

I don’t plan on leaving the house. Hell, I might not even leave the bathroom.

1. The bottle describes it as a “water beverage.”

It’s not in my genes

You might be wondering if I was predestined to be obese. The answer, from a genetic standpoint, is no. No one in my immediate family is overweight. Very few people in my extended family are, either. The only very large person I can recall in my family tree is my mother’s half-sister Rose, who died many years ago after a number of complications that were related to her weight.

In fact, my brother and nephews are quite athletic. My brother and I share each other’s workouts through the magic of the Apple Watch, so I know he goes running several times a week. The oldest nephew loves sports, and has already said he wants to be a quarterback in college before joining Real Madrid professionally. (He told the Complementary Spouse and me that he will give us one of his many game balls.)

As I’m so different from the rest of my family, I have come to really dread family photos. I try to stand in the back and suck in my gut, but it’s never quite enough. We had professional family photos taken a few years ago, and I can’t stand to look at them. We took more photos on a family cruise last year, and I hate them.

One of the things I really want to do is have new family photos made once I reach my goal weight. I’ll gladly pay for them. I just want to have something I’m proud to hang on my wall.

Bonus: Here’s a picture of the Complementary Spouse and me with Randi, my cousin, and Eric, her husband (Footnote 1) at a bat mitzvah. Look at how I take up the entire right third of the picture.

1. Eric is the one that believes Shake Shack is better than In-N-Out (Footnote 2).
2. Our argument about Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out was legendary and went on for hours (Footnote 3).
3. He is clearly wrong (Footnote 4).
4. I still love him.

On my reluctance to share my weight

So, you might be wondering why I haven’t disclosed my weight so far on this blog. After all, I’ve been an open book about everything else.

I don’t have a good answer why. It just hasn’t felt right.

When I started gaining a lot of weight, I kept the number a secret. I didn’t even tell the Complementary Spouse. I didn’t step on scales for months at a time, knowing that the number would make me feel like a failure.

So, after years of practice hiding my weight, it simply feels weird for me to share this number. I will tell you that I think, at my heaviest, I was well over 350 pounds in 2014. It may have been over 360 pounds. I don’t know the exact number, as I avoided the scale during that period. The number has certainly come down since then, but I’m still not proud about it.

I think I will begin writing about my weight once I hit certain milestones. I have a target weight in mind, but I don’t want to make it public in case I don’t reach it. It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s not unrealistic.

Here is a picture of me at my heaviest. Look at my face. It is nearly as wide as it is tall. And the temples of my glasses are stretched as far as they’ll go.

The next two days and 15 hours

My surgery is two days and 15 hours away. And I’m not nervous. Not a bit. I’m sitting here, with an iced tea (Footnote 1) in hand, watching old episodes of 30 Rock and trying not to think about food.

Should I be concerned that I’m not too concerned? I’ve been relaxed during this entire process, but I always assumed that I’d be pretty nervous by this time.

I think I’m at ease because:

  • I’ve done my homework
  • I’ve been following directions
  • I have a good surgeon
  • Everyone at the surgeon’s office and hospital has told me what to expect
  • I have Lucy the Wonderpup curled up next to me

There are still two days and 15 hours to go. I figure I’ll be asleep for 16 of those hours, and at the office for another eight. That leaves me with 39 hours in which to freak out.

1. Passion iced tea from Starbucks. It has no caffeine, which is good because I’m not allowed to have caffeine.