In one week, we will mark the 8 month point post weight loss surgery. T has lost almost 80 pounds and Master has lost 130 pounds. It has been hard work, and it has sometimes been very scary. The success they have achieved at this point feels really good and they are justifiably proud of the accomplishment. It is amazing and wonderful.
There are a variety of challenges, for all of us, as we continue to work our way along the path to learning to live long term with the changes that have come about as a result of the surgery. We deal with the daily demand for paying close attention to what we eat, to making sure that they get enough hydration and the appropriate vitamin and mineral supplements. We count grams of protein, and we watch out for carbohydrates and fats. Master, especially, works hard to make the time for the very important exercise component of the new lifestyle we've adopted. We are very, very, very careful and serious about the health regimen this change has brought into our lives.
So, why is it, I wonder that we occasionally encounter healthcare professionals who seem hell-bent on raining on the parade? Take last night, for example... He had developed a skin irritation around His nose. It had started earlier in the week as some flakiness and dryness, and had steadily spread and grown more serious. By the time I got home late Friday afternoon, there was a half moon shaped area below His nose that was angry red, swollen, puffy, just on the verge of blistered. It was so much more extreme than it had been that morning, that I was alarmed. I had visions of it becoming even more widespread and inflamed as the night wore on -- and I was worried that He'd be miserable at 2 AM. So, I talked Him into going to a local urgent care facility to have it looked at.
We got there, got checked in, went through the preliminary workup with the nurse, and waited for the doctor. She eventually came into the examination room, and very tentattively looked over the irritation on His face. Deciding that it was likely some sort of contact allergic reaction, she suggested that she could prescribe some prednisone that would probably resolve the problem. One thing we have to be careful of since the surgery is the size of pills. His narrowed stomach opening cannot handle pills bigger than a small button -- so we asked her how big the pills would be. When she looked taken aback by the question, He explained about His gastric bypass surgery, and then described to her the kind of success He's had.
She got a sort of sour faced pouty look, and said, "I see lots of patients who have had that. After a year or two, they stretch their stomachs and gain it all back."
What is wrong with her? What is wrong with the segment of the medical profession that are so negative and pessimistic with us regarding this surgery and the aftermath? I know, and we know, that it is possible to undermine and defeat the impact of the surgery. We were thoroughly briefed on the risks and issues before we made the decision to move forward. WE KNOW!!!
What is the upside, from the standpoint of a physician, to negating and dismissing a patient's success in this endeavor? Why would a doctor do that? Why wouldn't a doctor look at a patient who has been very successful after weight loss surgery, and congratulate that person? Why wouldn't a doctor, celebrate the success, and offer good wishes for continued health and wellness? Why?
I think this tendency for doctors to act as nay sayers is very odd, and it is beginning to make me angry. I know that there may be some controversy about the longterm health benefits and risks associated with this surgery... but when you are looking at a patient who has ALREADY HAD THE SURGERY, it is too late to suggest that it might be a bad idea. It is a done deal! Get a clue, Doc! Where there is success, recognize it; acknowledge it; move on. Whatever the future might bring, no doctor can predict. Save your skepticism and negativity for some inconsequential, non-medical something or another in your personal life. Leave it out of the exam room.