No fewer than 10 men and women, dressed in white lab coats, descended on my bed like a plague. They reminded me of a group of human-sized praying mantises waiting to grab me and tear me to shreds. Of course, a praying mantis cannot tear apart a human, but I detest their beady eyes and front feet that look like they could.
Although the intern hadn’t given me the information I wanted, I focused on him because he was easy to look at. The surgeon nodded to him to give the run-down on me.
He rattled off my statistics. “45 year-old female, five foot, five inches, 430 pounds, presents with super morbid obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, mitral valve prolapse and trouble breathing.”
Wait. Time out. Rewind. That’s not me. You must have gotten the records mixed up. I wanted to shout, jump out of bed, grab the “movie star” by his white lapels and shake some big screen sense into him
I don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure. And what’s this term “super morbid” they tacked on? I mean, sure I was obese. I knew that. The word morbid, though, conjured up scenes of a ghastly Halloween portrayal of a graveyard complete with casket and flying bats. I was still alive. With the word “super” I heard, “Do you want to super-size that?” I looked down at my body and silently, I said, “Sure, why not?”
The intern continued, “Patient had an angiogram yesterday morning. Results show no mitral value prolapse, no obstructions. However, there is significant fluid build-up in the ventricular cavity.”
I looked around the room trying to read the faces. I definitely needed a translation. “What does all that mean?”
The cardiac surgeon had olive skin and black hair. He was articulate with a slight accent. He was said to be a world-renowned cardiologist, but he was devoid of a bedside manner and didn’t sugarcoat anything.
“You have congestive heart failure,” he said. “Your body is too big for your heart. Your heart was never designed to support a body of your current weight. You need to lose at least 100 pounds. You need to do it now or you will be dead in five years.”
He turned and walked out of the room. The intern looked at me with sad eyes. The others averted theirs from the spectacle in front of them as they hurried to catch up with the surgeon who was already asking for particulars on the next patient.
“I’ll be by later to explain things to you,” the intern said as he left the room.
What is there to explain, I wondered? I am fat. I am going to die. It’s pretty self-explanatory. I’m a smart girl. I get what this means.
Excerpt from Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor, Chapter 2, Too Big for My Heart. Available on Amazon HERE.
Get a FREE chapter of Teresa’s new book, Sweet Change, HERE.