Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"I came, I saw, I kicked it's........."

In the continuing evolution of the new universe in which I live, I actually made good on a promise to try something new and exciting. Understand, in my past life (The "Old Tim" is the phrase I use frequently) "new and exciting" meant blue-cheese stuffed olives in my martinis as opposed to jalapeno-stuffed olives. So to actually ride the chairlift thingy I mentioned in my last blog was quite a step up. But I did it. I wouldn't say I conquered my fear of heights, but I did conquer my fear of stepping up and doing something a bit out of my comfort zone. For that I'm proud.
Truth be told, the chairlift wasn't all that scary. Once you make it across the street, actually going up the mountain you're not really that high off the ground. The mountain is going vertical at basically the same angle at which you're going vertical. There were times that I actually lifted up my feet for fear they'd drag the tops of bushes and small trees going up the mountain. So anyway, that was no problem. My bride and I shared a moment of victory when we got back to street level. She was proud of me and I live for moments when I can make her proud...there's been way too few of them since we got married in 1997. This accomplishment now safely in my resume I then got cocky...
There's this place there called "Ober Gatlinburg." It's at the top of the biggest mountain overlooking Gatlinburg. I mean it's up there...so up there that there was (in July) a bit of snow on the very top that hadn't melted. They have this huge skylift thing that goes to the top. The cars hold over a hundred people...so you can see it's the graduate course in cable-vehicle college. After attempting it, it's clear that I should stick to the remedial courses. I feared for my life. I stared at the floor and said bad words. I made deals with God. Those who are reading this and have had the (dis)pleasure of flying with me know what I'm talking about. But the point is, I tried it. The door is now open...though I must admit that further explorations will involve strange new worlds much closer to the ground.
Here's a video some brave soul (who didn't stare at the floor and said bad words) took of the skylift ride to Ober Gatlinburg. Notice that when it goes over the huge towers that accelerate everyone screams. That's because it not only accelerates you but swings the damn thing back and forth.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Big Medicine" and a year out from surgery...

Wow! For the first time since my surgery, I saw a new episode of Big Medicine last night. If you haven't seen it it's a documentary type show about a father-son surgical team that perform gastric bypasses for morbidly obese patients in Houston, Texas. I used to watch it with much fear and trepidation. It showed way too clearly how many obstacles one must overcome even to get approved for that surgery. So watching it beforehand wasn't fun.
I really never believed that I was going to have gastric bypass surgery until I was lying on a table and felt anesthesia being pumped into my mouth and nostrils. I remember waking up in the recovery room (seemingly seconds later) and still wondering if it'd really happened. Honest to God, I woke up with this fear that "I'm waking up too soon...something's happened and they weren't able to do it..." The first nurse I saw that came by and called me "sleepyhead" got her arm grabbed. "What's wrong?" she looked concerned...I must've had a deer in headlights look in my eyes. I mumbled something about "Done?" and she laughed. "Oh yes,,,you're done. You did great." Then I wanted to know if they'd had to do it open or were they able to do it laproscopically. Again, all I could get to come out of my mouth was "Open?" She had no clue what I was asking until she realized I was feeling of my belly for staples. Thankfully, there were none and I knew that I was done and it'd been as minimally invasive as Dr. Richard had promised. I'd lost a substantial amount of weight on my own before surgery to make laproscopic possible. But there was still the possibility of my liver being enlarged and me being closed back up and having to wait. I had a thousand scenarios playing out in my head...none of which came true.
So can you tell that watching that show last night put me in a most retrospective mood about this past year? I really can't believe it's been a year. I've lost 184 pounds in the last year, making my grand total lost right at 264 pounds. Life, in general, has improved in so many ways they're too numerous to mention. We lost Aunt Jean but the family grew with the birth of Henry Alexander ("Great Uncle Tim" has a nice ring to it....) The biggest hurt of all, of course, is that we lost Mother. But I've gotten my life back and she'd be pleased.
Now, if they had a surgery that could remove one's propensity to live in fear and make excuses I'd be all set. With excess weight no longer holding me back from chasing the things I've always wanted to accomplish, I'm forced to face the fact that I'm my own biggest enemy now. Dr Richard told me this was just a tool and "the rest" was up to me. I wonder if he ever gets tired of being right?
I'm on vacation next week. Our annual journey to my in-law's place in "The Redneck Poconos" (a.k.a. Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge.) They've got this skylift thingy that looks kind of like a ski lift. It'll take you up the side of the mountain there in Gatlinburg. My fear of heights is well-documented. But with God as my witness I'm riding that skylift next week. I no longer exceed any weight limits they have on the thing. Years past, I was unable to physically fit into the little lift chair. Now those excuses are gone. Picture Lt. Dan (in "Forrest Gump")hanging off that crow's nest, yelling at The Almighty. That's gonna be me next week. "YOU CALL THIS A MOUNTAIN??!!!!" I have no idea where this overwhelming urge to ride that thing comes from or exactly what it signifies. Maybe I'm knocking down fear one phobia at a time. I'll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, keep an eye on the news...I might be so juiced from riding that lift that I run out into those Tennessee woods and wrestle a bear (put your money on the bear..still....)