Most of you probably don’t know that I’m a recovering journalist. In my formidable* formative years (not that I’m entirely out of them, I guess 😉 ) I wanted nothing more than to be a print journalist. I attended a great j-school (at least I thought it would be) and my experience led me to realize that journalism was not my business (this is an entirely different story altogether that I’ll spare you of…but if you really want to know, just ask). Despite writing for a few newspapers, including my favorite stint as a columnist for my college newspaper, I have came full circle and realized it wasn’t my thing. Nevertheless, I read several papers daily and have decided to look for articles of interest to share with you.

I would have failed newswriting for that laboriously long lead….but anyway, I think I’m going to pick Thursdays for my “In the news” segments.

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This week’s story comes from an AP article published August 15th in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’s headline:

Former half-ton man endures hard times in Nebraska

Now, I realize there are numerous happenings in the world that lead to news coverage, but I initially failed to recognize the entire point of this story, until I re-read it a few times. Stay with me here… First, I would encourage you all to click on the link and read it…it’s short, but maybe some of you will also see that there’s either not entirely too much story to the story, or it’s all a matter of reading between the lines.

I have read a great deal lately, especially on other blogs, about the great divide between those promoting fat acceptance and those promoting slimmer waistlines. As for myself, I am caught in the middle. I have been fat for most of my life, and for the most part, felt accepted by friends and family and most strangers.  There are occasions when I have felt ostracized about my size, but for the most part, I was able to let it go. Because I’ve been in a position where I’ve felt I’ve been discriminated against, I can certainly empathize with the fat acceptance camp. However, the past two and a half months have made me realize I can accomplish my health goals. I am eating better, I am moving A LOT more, and I am losing weight. I do not want to be fat anymore, but that does not whatsoever mean I would have any disdain for those who promote fat acceptance.

But, let me categorically state that I am entitled to my choices, and my choice is to improve my health. As for myself, many of my health problems have been linked to my obesity. I’m tired of a poor immune system, I’m tired of high-blood pressure, and I’m tired of being on the verge of diabetes.

So, what can we learn from Patrick Deuel in the story? Here is a man who is in clear need of help. I cannot fathom a human heart being able to take on over 1,000 pounds of body weight, and I feel, in a sense, that Mr. Deuel has been given a second chance at life with the gastric bypass…and I somewhat wonder if that chance is slipping away yet again. I don’t know what exactly to feel in terms of Deuel’s situation. I am glad that he is doing his best to not be glum…and I admire him for allowing the press to expose his situation given this country’s exceptionally polar views on the subject of obesity. Yet, there is no ultimate happy ending to this story in my opinion, unless he finally decides to do more about it.

I am glad that he is evaluating his employment options, but I think that if he’s currently unemployed, that perhaps he should capitalize on the opportunity to focus on his health and nothing but his health until he finds gainful employment again. We all have weaknesses for chips and salsa, Patrick, but chips and salsa and smoking alone are not the only reasons you find yourself in this situation. And I hate to pontificate, but time was my perpetual excuse…it is very cliche to say “if there’s a will, there’s a way,” but I now live by it. I don’t believe I’m walking proof…I have a very long way to go.  But the profusion of examples of people who have taken initiative and done something about it are all around us.

I could go on and on about the dozen or so paragraphs of Patrick Deuel’s story, but I won’t.  I have my opinions, and I hope you will let yourselves think about the situation as well. What do you see that is positive from this story? Perhaps someone could enlighten me to where I might be missing the mark.

Again, I’m not impermeable…I just have opinions, and my final one is this: Patrick Deuel has been given second chances that many people don’t get.  I hope he realizes that and does something about it. Like everyone, he too deserves his chance at living a long, healthy life.

* = feel free to look up formidable
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