Nerves Jangling

So, tomorrow I take the first step toward bariatric surgery. I've got the appointment with my General Practitioner, and I'm ready for a fight. I don't know anyone who just walked in, asked for and got the surgery without having to jump through a bunch of nonsensical hoops. Seems like you have to prove you're desperate by being turned into a pin cushion, baring your soul to a therapist, and submitting to the diet imposed by a dietician (which was for me in direct conflict with the orders of my doctor not to eat green veggies).

No, I'm not kidding on that last. You see, I have to take Coumadin, a blood thinner, for the rest of my life. The vitamin K present in many green veggies counterracts the Coumadin. Therefore, no salads, spinach, brussells sprouts, or broccoli for me. Last time I tried to sneak a cup of brussells sprouts, I had a low Coumadin count for two weeks, which meant four weeks of running to the doc every few days until my Coumadin count settled back in the normal range. Joyous. The cup of brussells sprouts cost me about $50 in insurance co-pays, not to mention gas for a 22-mile round trip and lost work time. So not worth it.

So, I'm thanking all the gods I saved that six months of diet journal I kept while trotting my fat behind to the dietician for six months. I gained weight on her diet. I figure slapping the ring binder full of daily diet journal entries will hopefully save me about six months of arguing with another dietician as to why I can't have any of the good vegetables they recommend. Hey, I love salads and green veggies!

I know better than to think I'm going to get out of getting turned into a pin cushion. I swear, if you come in with a hangnail, the doc's going to order a full blood work up. If you're fat and over forty, it'll be a fasting blood draw where by the time you see the lab tech and get poked, you're halfway to fainting from starvation anyway. Then they pat you on the head (good doggie!) and tell you to go drink some orange juice.

For me, blood draws are a pure nightmare. Nurses and phlebotomists must have my name flagged on some secret blacklist all over town by now. I can imagine it says, "Hard Stick! Faints or gets violent after the third attempt! RUN!" I know darn well one local hospital has my name flagged as a hard stick. I had to go to their ER and the girl checking me in frowned at the screen. "Oh, dear. Says here you're a hard stick. I'd better call the head nurse to establish your IV. Did you really threaten to throw a lab tech out the third story window if he came near you again?" (Yeah I did, honey. You would have too after the 28th stick in 4 days. And I did it drugged with painkillers, too. Think what I would have been like without the medications. Gives you pause, doesn't it?)

I don't know if they still send you to a therapist or "group" to discuss and learn about the surgery. Last shrink that saw me labeled me with clinical depression with suicidal tendencies. Excuse me? I'm a writer. I live on highs and lows. They feed my writing. I kill fantasy people on paper for my theraputic outlet. I'm sure that rude waitress who sweetly suggested I might have a salad instead of a meal will never know I had her strangled by my villain. I'm a calm, loving person because I murder people on paper. Really.

Tonight, I'm going to be smart. I'm taking a sleeping pill. Last time I didn't and fell asleep worrying over this surgery, I awakened crying in terror from needle nightmares.


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