The time has come in my life to either change my relationship with food or succumb to its temptations and die of obesity. A couple of weeks after my wife and I returned from that cruise in which I almost passed out from the heat despite not really exerting all that much energy, I was at home alone having some kind of arthritic pain in my foot that made me search for some medicine. I couldn't find any aspirin or ibuprofen in the house, but I came across some Oxycontin that my dentist gave me two years ago when I had some teeth yanked. I actually contemplated taking more than one, but thankfully, I only popped one. I'm still paying for it financially. That one old, poisonous Oxy pill an hour later had me shaking, sweating profusely, heart racing, then it made me vomit, and I'm so dumb that I honestly wondered if I was just having a heart attack, so I called 911 and took my first ambulance ride, which cost about $1400 after insurance knocked $1500 off the top. The emergency room doc concluded that it probably was a reaction from the Oxy that made me go through all that, but I am obese, so he referred me to a regular doctor just to get checked out. That regular doc ran blood tests that revealed me to be a borderline diabetic. We know by now what comes with a diagnosis of diabetes--that list of foodstuff of which you're supposed to restrict consumption. Sugars, starches, cake, cookies, bread, soda, chips, you know, anything that actually tastes good. So for the last few months, I've been watching what I eat as carefully as I ever have, which isn't all that careful, really. Now, a twist in the narrative is that being borderline diabetic, the doctor told me to check my glucose every morning for two weeks and change my diet and exercise a little and see if that dropped me below the threshold where I technically wouldn't be a diabetic, and if I could manage to do that, I wouldn't have to go on any kind of medicine to slow down the way my body absorbs carbohydrates, which is what my wife has to do. And I did it! I've done a ten-minute power-walking exercise that I found On Demand maybe five or six times, but that's more than I usually exercise. And I've made myself stop and think before I take that fudge cookie or Pop-Tart and contemplate if I'm hungry and eating this legitimately or if I'm just looking for a sweet flavor for my mouth, and if I'm just looking for sweets, then I'll deny myself the food totally or go for a healthier option, like an apple or banana or even the fruit gummy snacks, which aren't healthy but are better than a Snickers.
It's a situation that threatens to drive me bananas, pun intended. My relationship with food is such that I've always gone for the extra portion, the appetizer, the dessert, the side dish, everything I could get my hands on, I consumed it. There's a couple of reasons for that, I believe. One is that I've had an underlying unhappiness with life that had made me use food as a substitute for fulfillment. The other is that being poor all my life, I learned early on to take everything I could get my hands on because I don't want to waste anything. My wife is amazed at the expired or unappealing food that I will shove down my throat just because I don't want to throw it away. So to look at cookies and Pop-Tarts in my cabinet and constantly turn away because I'm not actually hungry has been challenging and difficult. And to choose items on restaurant menus that give me a vegetable as a side dish over mac and cheese or mashed potatoes has been difficult too. The fact that the doctor says my diabetes is being managed by my choices is the only thing giving me hope that I can keep this up as I enter my 38th year on Planetdre. I have to keep making the right choices to stay around and enjoy life, and I have to step it up and exercise regularly as well if I want to go on another cruise and not drop dead. There's all kind of obstacles in my way. Eating healthier is expensive in this country because, like housing and education, it's something earned by the privileged. Exercising in the midst of a workweek that grinds you down is very hard, especially if you've never been disciplined enough to work out before. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Next year, I have to do better for myself. Whether that means going full OCD and making an exercise schedule and diet regime or what, I don't know. But I'm kinda interested in doing that just to see if I could pull it off. There's always the fear of trying something ambitious and failing. That will always be inside me as well. But ultimately, those are all just excuses. I took a motherfuckin' ambulance ride. Maybe because of the Oxy, but maybe not. If I want to avoid the helplessness of that feeling, I have to change. The gluttony and eating as much as I can has to change. I'm not hanging out with the guys at the all-you-can-eat prime rib joint anymore. I have nothing to prove to anyone by seeing if I can take down that footlong sub sandwich with double meat. The six-inch flatbread will do just fine, thanks. There will be nothing easy about it. But it has to be done.
No more excuses.