Oct 19, 2012

Escape From Oatland

In the dream he is living in a massive bowl of oatmeal.  A bowl of oatmeal the size of Oakland.  Oatland.

His commute to work is long, a long walk through the oatmeal.  The bathroom at work is the same distance from his desk as his office is from his house, and he must walk through the oatmeal to get to the bathroom.  Room-temperature oatmeal.  Viscous and thick.

He has to go to the bathroom all the time.  Urgently.  Right now.  Ten, maybe fifteen times a day.  Immediately upon evacuating his bladder, his throat dries up, as if he had swallowed a bucket-full of sand.  The nearest water cooler is the same distance from the bathroom as the bathroom is from his desk.  Nothing but oatmeal between him and the water cooler.

No amount of water, no matter how cool and ostensibly refreshing, will kill his thirst.  He must drink, yet he cannot drink enough.  He drinks, slogs through oatmeal to get back to his desk, sits down to work and immediately must again use the bathroom.

In the dream this continues all day long, this insistent and incessant back-and-forth between the water cooler, bathroom, and desk, until the whistle blows and it is time once again to walk home through the oatmeal.  How many times will he have to use the bathroom on his way home today?  How much oatmeal will there be between him and the bathrooms he finds along the way?

He arrives home, exhausted from a day of labor - the labor required simply to get out of bed and get dressed, to battle through enough fatigue to accomplish something at work and not risk getting fired, to shake himself awake during his commute so that he doesn’t drown in the oatmeal, only to be found dead, soaked to the bone in the gluten-scum ballast...

He hasn’t even attempted to pursue extracurricular activities today, such as, oh, being an engaged father, a passionate husband, a devoted servant of God.  He is beyond the point of deluding himself that he will attempt any of these in the sparse moments between the time he turns his key in the door and the time he lays his head down on the pillow.

He lays his head down on the pillow.  He must immediately run to the bathroom, slogging through the oatmeal.  Then he is getting back into bed for the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth time.  His alarm rings almost before he even fell asleep for the first time that night.

But this is no dream.  The persistent, oscillating ache in my muscles and joints.  The interminable thirst.  The constant need to run, not walk, to the bathroom.  The comprehensive lack of desire to do anything, no matter how important.  The fog that passed as consciousness for months, if not years, on end, that I mistook for mere fatigue.  Weight loss without trying to lose weight...loss of interest in food...

Weiss, you have to see a doctor.  Because if you don’t, and God-forbid you croak, then you deserve to be called a massive butthead.  “What can I say about my husband now that he’s prematurely dead?  I can say that he had an opportunity to be the husband and father God expected him to be, the husband and father that we needed him to be, and he blew it.  What a massive butthead.”

So I’m at least enough of a narcissist not to want to be called a butthead in public with no recourse for defending myself.  I went to see Dr. Goldfarb on Friday, August 24th as much to prevent that from happening as to beg for his help in air-lifting me from Oatland.

For how many years had I prepared myself for this?  For how many years had I built this house, heavy brick by heavy brick?  Heavy forkful by heavy forkful.

It was time to start over.  To tear it down and build it back up.  But how?  That story needs to be told.  It involves a little boy, a Healthy Girl, some guys in white lab coats, and lots - I mean LOTS - of photosynthesis.


  1. As your wife I can confidently say my words would be a mite stronger. Just a mite.

  2. Hi! I found your blog through Healthy Girl's Kitchen and wanted to share our story.

    A month ago my husband was nearly diagnosed with diabetes. His blood sugars were in the 350 range and apparently had been for several months. We asked the doctor to wait before writing down a diagnosis so we could figure out if he could make some changes to his lifestyle (having a diagnosis could really cause problems with our insurance since we purchase it ourselves). He came home and made some radical changes to his diet, basically eating lots of vegetables and beans, and minimal amounts of seeds, nuts, low sugar fruits, and starches. He also started exercising most days, either walking or playing raquetball. He did not take any medications, though they were available. His blood sugars began dropping pretty consistently! This morning his blood sugar was 118, WITHIN NORMAL RANGE! This is after only 4 1/2 weeks of lifestyle changes and NO MEDICATIONS!!

    He's lost several inches off his waist (he had lost some weight before being diagnosed as well) and is smaller than he was as a sophmore in college, over 15 years ago. He's got so much energy and is in a much better mood, even his coworkers and professional associates have noticed and asked about it. Diet really DOES make a difference! If you treat your body well, it will treat you well right back! You can do this!

    All the best to you and your family!

  3. Ha! I now see that my comment from yesterday DID post. Sorry about the repeat performance!

    1. No worries - sometimes repetition is necessary, depending on the thickness of my skull! Awesome story, Traci, thanks for sharing. I'm going to keep the repeat post for others to take inspiration from. Bad grammar - good encouragement!

    2. My grammar is bad, not yours. Huge nerd? Yes. Yes I am.

  4. Dan, you write so visually. You painted your story in my mind as I read it. After reading your story it dawned on me, that my husband might need to have his blood sugar checked based on the thirst and potty comments in your story.

    I found you through Wendy's site, and I wanted to come over and give you some encouragement. (My partial story is in Wendy's comments on her introduction to your blog). The rest (which I didn't include on her post, is below).

    I started Dr. Fuhrman's Eat To Live about 2 weeks ago and have dropped 9 lbs. It will be 2 weeks tomorrow for my brother and he's dropped 15 lbs. When he started, his glucose level was 363 (and that's being on 2 different meds for his sugar - and the doctor wanted him to start on insulin injections - but he refused), as of the other day, his sugar is at 221 (he told me it's been well over a year since it was that "low".) His BP is about 124/72 now (he's on meds, but has since eliminated one of the 5 he's taking for his BP). His leg pain has gone away (that's from his diabetes), and there was something else that's disappeared in only 2 weeks time but at this moment, I can't recall what it was.

    The only numbers I can give you right now were from January of this year: A1C 5.3, Cholesterol 191, HDL 38, LDL 121, Chol/HDL ratio 5.0, Triglycerides 158, and my bp at that time was 130/84.

    I suspect due to my bad eating habits, that these numbers were far worse prior to 2 weeks ago. I won't be having these numbers checked again for a few months, and I plan to bring the Eat To Live book with me for the doctor. I think it's about time doctor's prescribe healthy medicine for their patients instead of toxic chemicals that only control the symptoms (and sometimes it makes them worse).

    Two years ago, I was on BP meds and was also diagnosed with Type II diabetes, however mine was diet controlled. I dropped 75 lbs. on Weight Watchers, (doctor took me off the bp meds) and then I experienced some hard times and turned to food for comfort. The weight, as you can guess, came back on and more! I knew I couldn't measure and weigh food for the rest of my life - it would drive me crazy.

    Best wishes on your journey - I know you can do this! I'll be checking up on you. ;)


  5. Yup, yup, yup! Dan, your description is right on. The only thing I would add is that even though I know I don't feel like everyone else, I wonder why people can't understand how really crappy I feel. Well....they aren't pre-diabetic (or full-blown diabetic). Duh!!! And I vacillate between feeling like I live in Oatland and feeling I have no skin...like no protection from anything. Everything is TOOO much. But no more...I'm doing that shimmy, Dan! And Linda's comment reminds me that if you help even one person (besides yourself...and me) realize that healthy eating can conquer this disease, then you've done a beautiful thing in this world. Thanks for writing. BTW, yesterday was a weird eating day for me and I drank a few beers last night. Life is just too short to not drink a few beers with friends once in a while. But this morning, I am looking forward to my sweet potato and broccoli breakfast. Later a green smoothie : ) Take care. Looking forward to your next update. Love, love, love, Marie

  6. Dan-
    Striking account of your experience. How long before you went to Dr. Goldfarb did it occur to you that you probably had diabetes? Or were you unaware of the signs and symptoms? If you were unaware, I wonder how many other people don't realize they have diabetes?

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hey! I eat oatmeal every morning! Whatchyousayin'?

    1. I also eat oatmeal most mornings! Mmm...oatmeal with (a little bit of) chopped date and (a little bit of) maple syrup...although I have a feeling I'll be deporting the maple syrup from The Land of Weissology soon...