A Near-Life Experience

I became ill the first week of June 2016, dismissing it as a minor bug — “con crud” as conventioneers say — and something I could get over with fluids, over-the-counter meds, and rest.

PneumoniaPlushExcept I didn’t. I was running a fever on and off, at one point hitting 102.5 F, so after battling for a week, I reluctantly went to the doctor that Thursday. After getting a cocktail of antibiotics injected into me, I assumed all would be well…until it wasn’t. I would find out later that I was far more sick and exhausted than I knew, and when the shot took effect, it did its job so well my forty-something body was no longer up to the task.

At some point later in the evening, my short-term memory failed and I’ve been told I started babbling. I don’t remember that night or the panic that set in when my family found me the next morning before calling an ambulance. The shot had started killing off viruses so quickly that I couldn’t flush them out fast enough. Systems started shutting down, and at 340 pounds, my family couldn’t move me to the car. The ambulance drivers didn’t give me much of a chance, but they didn’t waste any time, either.

I remember having some kind of dream about being in a the bottom of a boat, moving inside, as if I was being taken somewhere. There’s a high probability it was how I imagined the ambulance ride or maybe ICU; which one I couldn’t say. Fortunately, for being big and tall, I’m pretty resilient and managed to survive the following two days until I was functioning on my own again. The doctors were afraid something might have been permanently damaged, from my kidneys all the way to my brain.
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Anti-Bullying Campaigns Are Useless

I was born in September. My parents divorced when I was in the third grade. I had hay fever as a child. I started wearing glasses in junior high.

Oh, and I was bullied, too.

When I started kindergarten, I was only four years old. Since I was judged intellectually competent to start school early, I didn’t have to wait until I turned five a year later. Had I waited, I would have been physically ahead of my classmates in the same grade, but it didn’t work out that way. This, too, wouldn’t have been an issue by itself since I started school with everyone at the same time, but there’s more.

My parents got a divorce when I was in the third grade. My mother won custody and moved us to a new town without a dad. At some point, the local county school system decided that I needed “special disciplinary instruction” because I might have somehow been traumatized by the divorce. My new third grade teacher was “certified” (I found out later she was “certifiable”) to help in these areas, and so I was placed in her class. As an outgoing and encouraged child, I performed as I always had done and did things the way we did them in my old school. Yet now the teacher publicly called me out on every mistake (which I can only assume was to alter my behavior through peer pressure) and on things I didn’t even know were wrong, even yelling at me sometimes in front of all the students who had just met me. It didn’t take the bullies long to figure out the teacher had decided I was a problemed youth (even though she had created the situation), and as a result, I socially withdrew to stay out of trouble. Like sharks that turn on one of their own when they noticed it’s wounded, the mob mentality is you’re either with us or with them (and no one wants to be “them”), so the feeding frenzy began.

Next slide, please.

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Narcissists Are Us!

In an article I was directed to recently online, it was postulated that flaws are what make us beautiful and that we should embrace them, viewing ourselves as “a work of art.” Agreed, but I think it’s a little more than just looks that are involved.

I don’t think it’s “beauty” we’re all focused on as much as attention in general; appearance is just the first thing most people notice. Everyone wants to be special (just like everyone else) and everyone assumes they are secretly compared to everyone else because, frankly, we do. There are very few of us who wouldn’t like to lose a pound or two, wish our complexion was different, think that something is too big or too small, or compare ourselves with someone we’d rather be like that we perceive as better.

I think the real secret is to simply accept who you are to create and maintain a positive self image. It’s bloody hard for others to accept you for who you and how you look when you can’t accept yourself. Wearing self-confidence always looks good, is always attractive, and is always in style.

Physicality: My Three Secrets

I have a shocking secret: I’m overweight. And here’s another: I recently decided to fully commit to do something about it. Finally, a third: It’s working.

Other than my age and family history risk factors, I miss having the energy I used to have instead of getting winded carrying my arse up and down a few flights of steps. But a second big factor was getting an iPhone (they’re $99 now, so no more excuses) and a cool free app called “Lose It!” What makes it work is that you can set a goal, track foods by calories (from a huge database or add them yourself), and add exercises to stay within preset targets.

Ever wonder why that USDA nutritional info is always based on a 2000 calorie diet? They’re estimating an ideal weight of 200 pounds. As a simple formula, multiply your desired weight by ten to find out how many calories per day you should be eating. So if that’s what you want to weight AND maintain, that’s what you should be limiting your intake to and be prepared to keep doing to stay that way.

I gained this weight sitting in call centers instead of walking up and down an aircraft carrier for six years, so I figured I could undo the damage safely at the same rate by doing a bit of counting. Like balancing a checkbook for the first time, you’ll be surprised what busts the bank (snack chips are my kryponite), but you can have everything in moderation. Not feeling filled up? Eat more foods like salads, low fat sauces or dressings, and make your own burger without the bun.

I’ve been changing this over for four weeks now, limiting or removing my danger foods and learning to like new ones instead (my personal savior: 60-calorie tropical fruit cups in plastic four-packs from Walmart; pop ’em in the fridge for a quick chilled and sweet reward any time!) But the real reason I’m coming clean with all this now is because I hit a milestone: 5 pounds lost, so I must be something right.

More as I succeed or fail, but any encouragement is always welcome…!