21 October 2009

Good Reporting?

"Paul scoffs three family-sized takeaways a night and wolfs down Sunday roasts like snacks."

The article from which I took this quote is about a fellow who is so overweight that he needs very expensive help. Doctors have scheduled a stomach-reducing surgery in the hopes that Paul will eat less and therefore prevent an obesity-related death.

Now, I'm not sure that that will work. I've heard of people who can train themselves to get around the effects of the stomach-stapling surgery and I've also heard of severe complications. Then again, at nearly 1,000 pounds, the guy is probably just desperate for some help.

Imagine being that desperate for help. Imagine how tough that would be to go over and over and over your medical history with these medical folks every time you tried to make an appointment. Imagine the calls you'd have to make. Explain over and over again how you don't fit through the door. How, sorry, but no way you can make this appointment 150 miles away. Sure, they make it sound like the medical orgs are going out of their way to pick him up as though he were a little princess... but I will bet you dollars to donuts that that is the result of tireless, patient advocacy on his part. It had to be very difficult.

Sure, I don't think eating 20,000 calories a day is cool and I'm not defending that. But writing an article stating that the guy "scoffs" and "wolfs" down his food seems to convey a bit of disgust to the reader. If the article were about an alcoholic going to an expensive treatment center, would they have described him as "guzzling booze like a lowly wino?" Guess that's not ok to do because there are plenty of recovering alcoholics out there who would take the news guys to task for a report like that.

It bothers me. I have to wonder why this guy's private medical info is published. Did he ask for that? Or is the single-payer system so accountable to the taxpayer that the public has a "right to know?" Or did the fellow agree to doing the article for pay, so he can support his "take-away" habits because his addiction is at the point where sure, he'll humiliate himself in print for some food? Just wondering aloud here. And BTW no, I am not trying to be disrespectful. I'm just wondering what the motivation of all the "players" involved here might be.

Another thing that bothers me? The fellow pictured in the article is obviously too big to drive. He would have to be too big to get his own shopping done. Unless he's rich, family or friends have to be doing these grocery runs and providing this immense quantity of food. I should imagine that halving what is brought over for a while would be a good thing for his health. Then in a few months, halve that again. I would imagine he'd still be plenty overweight on 5,000 calories a day, but at least at that point you're not enabling him to the *extreme.*

I know I don't control my family. But I will *not* buy alcohol for you if you come to visit me. You could be my best friend, and hey! maybe you don't have a problem with abusing alcohol. But I won't buy it for you. I just wouldn't feel right about it. If you want to do that to your body, and you think you can handle that, then that's between you and God. I know plenty of very Godly Christians who don't feel that drinking a glass of wine with dinner is a problem.

But see, I do. So, please don't ask me to buy it. I know too many alcoholics and see what "just one drink" can do to some people. Though if you weigh 1,000 pounds I could easily see buying you more to eat than the average person. I can't imagine restricting you to a 1,500 calorie diet with that sort of weight would be healthy. But... I couldn't see swinging 20,000 without a doctor's note.

Don't ask me. Not to BLAME the relatives (obviously they're not the ones directly eating the food), but what are they thinking?


  1. I agree, wholeheartedly! We spend far too much time enabling our loved ones in their destructive behavior--either through co-dependence or just a lack of desire to be confrontational. I know because DH and I do it to each other all the time. Great post!

  2. I wonder those things too. Who brings that much food.

    I once refused to drive an alcoholic to the liquor store (he didn't want to drive in the snow). He didn't talk to me for a year.

  3. Thanks, Bonnie! ((hugs))

    Ohh, Deb, that had to be a tough one. I DO remember driving some people around in the middle of the night though, a few years back, because I KNEW they were totally toasted and I KNEW they would drive if I didn't. I felt awful... but since I don't see them often I at least knew this wouldn't be a habit.

    I just kept thinking that if they got in a wreck because I didn't drive them, or killed someone in that condition? Well, it wouldn't be my *fault*, but I'd feel terrible about it.

    Sometimes there is no good resolution to a problem.

  4. My uncle who just died had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. He was extremely overweight. He couldn't have gastric bypass because his anesthesia risk was too great. Looking at the photos at his funeral, he was bigger his whole life. He was a great guy.

    I don't have alcohol in my home either. We made a decision to demonstrate an alcohol free lifestyle to Marissa. She has a family history of alcoholism and 7 out of 10 women with FAS are alcoholics. Other parents have decided to try to teach their children with FAS how to use alcohol responsibly. In the end, I think that it amounts to what I can live with when there is a bad outcome. I can live with having shown her how to enjoy life without alcohol.


Non-troll comments always welcome! :)