SP Premium
500,000-749,999 SparkPoints 683,381

Stuck in the Bathroom

Friday, January 15, 2010

This is not a funny story and I apologize to anyone if this makes you feel bad in any way but I do feel that it should discussed.

As an overweight and formerly obese person I can empathize with the plight of people in similar circumstances but in the past few years I have seen so many people on TV who have past the realm of being overweight, obese, or even morbidly obese and have reached a whole new category. I'm not sure if there is a term for this but Mega Obese comes to mind. I'm talking about people of normal height who weigh in excess of 500 pounds. As a nurse this worries me. Although I have seen these people on TV and really feel sorry for them I had never encountered one of these people before in real life until I was in a store Monday.

As I entered the restroom this woman, who I would estimate at around 700-800 pounds, was on her way out of the handicapped restroom stall. This woman filled the room and I'm not exaggerating, As a nurse, I'm familiar with medical equipment and am certain that this woman must have been in a custom made wheelchair. Even at that she was unable to sit completely upright and was in a semi reclining position. Her stomach cascaded over the chair and hung down between her spread legs. I was amazed that she was alone and wondered how she managed to use the restroom but then I have no experience with people this big. I went and used the restroom in another area and on my way to leave I discovered that she had gotten stuck in the doorway. I have no idea how she got in there if she could not get back out but maybe it had to do with her position in the wheelchair. At an rate I was stuck as well as no one could get past her.

Under the circumstance I would expect someone like this to be apologetic, tearful, or even upset but she was rude. She expected ME to get her loose and I wasn't about to injure myself trying to move someone who weighs 800 pounds. Do I look like a Hoyer Lift??? They won't even handle someone this large. We ended up having to scream for help. We were by the pharmacy so thank goodness someone heard us and found her husband and daughter who had to come in the women's restroom to get her out. In the interim no one could use the restroom. Her daughter and husband were both morbidly obese as well. It was an embarrassing situation and extremely sad but to be honest I seemed to be the only one embarrassed of the 4 of us. Seriously.

As a society we really need to help people like this. Not by injuring ourselves trying to extricate them from a doorway but by finding out why someone would eat themselves to death, We need to encourage, push, and even force these people to get help if need be. They are committing suicide.

I missed an opportunity to help her because I thought about telling her about Sparkpeople but I was afraid to and now I really wish I had. She probably would have told me where to go but at least she would have known that someone was honest with her and was offering her a lifeline if she chose to take it.

I hope if any of you are in this group of individuals that you will seek professional help. You need to learn to love yourself and your family more than you love food.

Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Good gravy, I've got some catching up to do around here! What a well-written commentary about a subject I'm sure a lot of people think about. Heck, I think people think that about me, too. That woman is used to her situation, can't apologize for who she is because it's just LIFE for her. It takes a whole lot of forces to come together, the stars to align and good old willpower and the odds are against 'em. I've been at this weight loss thing as long as I can remember - the more I learn, the better I do. You DO have to have resources and many people don't have 'em. SP has those cards you can print off ... have you seen them? You could carry them in your purse.

    I remember a couple of times women have come up to me while I shopped, & given me business cards about some weight loss regime. I was perturbed and embarrassed (cause it's on my mind 24/7 and I don't need reminding!).
    3780 days ago
    The saddest part is it is like watching a slow suicide.
    3782 days ago
    Wow, that is a scary story. Food can be so dangerous to us and the world wasn't started out for it to be that way. I hope that the woman and her family can find peace without relying on food.
    3782 days ago
    One does have to wonder what is going on in the family, since everyone was very over weight. Obviously habits and their sense of 'normal' is skewed. I wonder what is going on emotionally with these people. You're right that they need help - probably emotional, physical, medical as well.

    There have been changes in society that have made food the addiction of choice. Low nutritional value, cheap fast "food" (if you can call it that) abounds in America. And, the advertising of drive-through and frozen, pre-made foods have convinced almost everyone that it is too hard, too burdensome, too time-consuming to prepare food. What a lie.. a very expensive lie for health. I wonder, too, when lunch-time drinking and after-dinner cocktails stopped being the 'numbing' norm, if food became more of an addiction du jour? I mean one can go to work with too many calories in their stomachs, but they may not be able to make it to work with 3 martinis for lunch.

    I'm not sure what I would have done either. I am not sure I could have shared Spark at that time either. Perhaps the situation did affect them all though, even if they didn't show it. I hope they get help.

    3782 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/18/2010 11:59:03 PM
  • SLCB1023
    Addictions are cruel no matter what type. Food addiction is not much different that an addiction to alcohol or drugs. And just like those addictions, the person just has to hit bottom and want to cure themselves. Having been near 300 lbs and on my way to higher weights, I am just thankful that somehow something stuck with me to make me want to do something about my health. Hopefully, something will happen to this family too... just not when it is too late.
    3783 days ago
    Thanks for sharing, Morticia. I don't know what I would have done...you did the right thing.
    3784 days ago
  • SUNNY332
    All I can say is MERCY!

    I did have to giggle about the Hoyer as I am also a nurse. The hospital where I work just got additional equipment to handle the morbidly obese and we also had to have special training for that equipment.

    So sad.
    3784 days ago
    Wowser. My Rn cousin with a bad back works on a med-surge unit in a downtown hospital. Now it's also a bariatric unit with a couple of gastric bypass hack MD's.
    Complications, eviscerations, non-healing incisions.
    You were good to holler and help.
    3785 days ago
  • LLTS01
    This is a national problem at this point. The processed foods, the drive through, lack of sidewalks. Everything in our society is setting us up for this. THe sad part is that there are more and more people that fit the morbidly obese category. I think we all have to help one person at a time. And I am sure we all do in one way or another.
    3785 days ago
    Wow, that is a moment you will always, always remember. I'm not sure how someone so unhealthy even begins. I think of the old adage "a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step." Spark would help, definitely, but the whole family obviously needs medical intervention. I'm sorry that happened to you, thank you for sharing. I believe things happen for a reason, maybe you will see them again....
    3785 days ago
    I appreciated your blog on the experience as well, but can't say I agree with some of the things you posted. When someone is that woman's size, it isn't just her "love of food", it's something else. It's obviously an addiction and I am willing to bet she did find something wrong. Whether she displayed embarrassment or not, doesn't mean she wasn't mortified.

    And the situation probably isn't as cut and dry as wanting to get better and trying. Maybe she has tried millions of times and just gotten so discouraged she gave up. When we see a few lbs lost on the scale, it's big for us. But for her it would take 50+ to feel like the hard work is paying off.

    The fact is, I find it so difficult to make any sort of judgement in these situations. I do not know someone's situation, background, life and how they became the way they are, so I cannot claim to know what will help them.

    And I apologize if this comes out the wrong way to anyone, it's just a huge sore spot for me (as I imagine it is for anyone) and just wanted to get my view out there too. It just reminded me of a terrible doctor's visit I had one year where my doctor told me I had given up on myself, though I was telling her I was going to the gym. Turns out I was having so many issues with my weight partly due to a medical condition.
    3785 days ago
  • JUNEBUG1944
    Thanks for sharing. That was quite a story. I can't imagine seeing anyone so large in person.
    3785 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4720056
    Oh, Morticia, that is a terrible thing for you to go through! What is really sad is that it was probably much worse for you than the woman and her family.
    3785 days ago
    wow, that was quit an upsetting experience.... I am glad you shared this with us.
    3786 days ago
    Oh my....what an unbelievable situation.

    I have an aunt who had gastric bypass about 10 years ago - but she "wasn't ready". Her boyfriend is so unsupportive and it wasn't long before she had gorged herself with food she wasn't supposed to eat and ended up very sick and passed out. She had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital - and that alone is a herculean task. I love her so so much, but it's just so sad to watch her eat her life away. She can barely walk and feels as though the family somehow is responsible to see that her every need is provided. Again....I love her, but I don't understand. She lost nearly 100 pounds before she put it all back on plus some.

    I feel as though I am a food addict. I still have difficulty with portion sizes. I have been able to maintain and typically stay on plan by being VERY strict with what I don't eat - as I tend to binge once I start. So I can understand the pull of food addiction. I'm just glad I've been able to find the strength and support to help me stay on the "straight and narrow".
    3786 days ago
    You know it's doesn't hurt to tell people. I try to tell ppl about my weight loss just to help them know its possible. Yeah it's gonna take a lot of work and take years to do. But at least theres a future for them. I think a lot of overweight ppl reach a point of no return. They know they are gonna die young and they don't think theres anything to do. Man what frustrates me are the ppl in the scooters at walmart. You can really burn some calories walking around that store. People don't even try to get exercise, even while shopping for food.
    3786 days ago
    Thankfully, I can say I have never had your experience and am incredulous that you did!! I find it unbelievable that people can allow things to get to that degree (mega obese), but then I allowed myself to get to the weight I am so I guess it's semantics really. I fall into the category of being "morbidly" obese. I was at a place of either having to buy a larger size, which meant I would have to go to a store catering to large people, or I do something about myself. Thankfully, I made the better choice...I can live with tight clothes for a while.

    Denial plays a big part, I think. It did for me! Yes, I knew I was getting bigger, but I simply made excuses. I worked crazy hours. I didn't have time to cook so I'd go out all the time. I can't even begin to imagine how many calories and fat were in the food I'd eaten. I don't want to know. And when I would make a comment about being overweight, etc., my friends would say, "That's not what I notice about you!" Don't know how they couldn't. I provide a significant amount of shade!! ha

    I remember seeing a tv show about a guy who weighed like 800 lbs. He couldn't get out of bed and his mom had to help him with his ADL's, i.e. bathing, bowel and bladder needs, etc. cuz he couldn't reach anything because of his size! What I found even more incredible was she bought and cooked all the food he would eat!!! He'd get mad at her if she didn't give him what he wanted. HELLO! What was he going to do? The Mom didn't seem to be overweight by much. I just wondered if she didn't rely on him for her housing, his disability $$ or whatever income source he had. They showed him eating sausages, hamburgers, three and four steaks, etc. Not to be rude, but it made me nauseous. This guy didn't see anything wrong with his situation and wasn't interested in making changes!!

    I have taken care of a couple of extremely overweight folks. It was sad to see them out of breath simply because they sat up at the side of the bed. Usually it took three and four staff to be able to do this safely because you certainly didn't want them to end up on the floor! No hoyer lift is designed for such a load (none that I know of anyway). When you have to get the patient's weight by going to the dock of the hospital, it's way past time for some intervention!

    I can "understand" this lady's rudeness, to a point; she was probably really ticked. Could just be her way to deter communication or comments, but to expect you to help her is incredible! I have no idea what I would have done in such circumstances. I agree with DTRMNEDME. You can't be too careful from a legal standpoint these days. Now if she was at risk for death or something, it would be a different story....

    (I have to confirm that I, too, laughed at your hoyer lift comment! Not to be rude, but from a nurse's perspective, it was priceless!)

    3786 days ago
    I've been overweight all my life. never as big as that lady (thank goodness). I know people that are pretty large and they claim that they want to lose weight but can't seem to get it together to do so. people who are that large, realize that they have a problem but it will take a lot for them to change. Part of me feels bad for them because there is something going on psychologically and emotionally with them that can take years to fix/change. this was a touchy subject (and i did giggle a little about the lift) but it is really sad. I appreciate the way you wrote about it. not sounding judgmental or condemning the person but you are trying to understand why/how something like this happens.
    3786 days ago
    I am glad you shared this story. If it helps any one person turn their life around it was worth it. I never made it past morbidly obese... but God knows the potential was and probably still exists.
    3786 days ago
    Thank you so much for this blog post. Feelings and opinions run high on the topic of weight. Obesity rates are off the charts and it hurts me to think of how so many people are suffering.

    I tell people that I grew up in a big family; big as in obese. My mother had a bariatric by-pass a number of years ago and has regained her life as well as her self-esteem.* She had tried everything and suffered a number of medical ailments, nearly all of which disappeared when she lost the weight. it wasn't easy for her, but it is so good to know that my mother is mobile and so much healthier than she's ever been.

    My brother turns 40 next month and, I'm told, is probably 300 lbs. (I haven't seen him in a number of years). My mother is very concerned for him, but I doubt there's much that she can do to help him.

    Granted, I too was overweight, but certainly not to that extent. I was embarrassed for them and became very defensive towards people that ridiculed them. It's really hard to grow up as the smallest, most active person in a fat family.

    *We tease Mom that she lost nearly 600 pounds. She lost roughly 200 pounds of herself and gained the motivation to dump her fat, loser 2nd husband (350+ pounds).
    3786 days ago
    As a nurse I haven't encountered anyone that heavy. I have taken care of 300+# people. I think the 'help me' part when they get stuck is denial. I was with a lady on the way to the bathroom. She said she was dizzy. About all you can do is throw a pillow down and soften their fall. There's no way you can catch or help them without injuring yourself. If the whole family is morbidly obese, they are in denial, too. They call themselves 'heavy set or big boned'. There should be some kind of 'wake up call' for them.
    3786 days ago
    Thank you for discussing this very touchy subject.
    I had to comment on this because it is a reality for me.
    Judgement comes in many shapes and sizes. I too 'feel' for others that are larger then me, but I have been rudely awakened to the reality of the skinny people's idea of obesitey. My 220 lbs is gross and disgusting to people I work with who weigh 120 lbs. They have shared "they do not know nor understand how I could possibly eat so much nor disregard my body and its terrible condition, after all I am in the medical field and should know better." Gee, forgive me for existing. Am I so lowly of a human that maybe, just maybe I cant have a challenge that I dont know how to deal with?
    Anger is usually a cover for deeper emotions. So I just blow them off, while adding to my deeper emotions. Does anyone else do this?
    I to will strive to take care of myself more due to your blog.
    3786 days ago
    Years ago I attended TOPS and there was a woman there whose son was 750-800 lbs. I occasionally saw him around town and then he seemed to disappear. I heard what had happened to him after awhile. He had medical issues and could not get out through the door so they had to demolish one wall of his house to get him out and some sort of lifting device. He died shortly thereafter. He was about 35 years old.
    We have two women in our church, mother and daughter who are incredibly obese. We have chairs and there are 4 in a row and they take up all the room in that row. I have noticed the younger woman is at least 3 feet across her backside and I have seen her eat piles of food at potlucks. Like your story if I suggested anything to her, I'm sure she'd resent it. I want to scream it out "you're eating yourself to death." You would think that all the inconveniences of being 400-600 lbs would convince them to stop piling the food in but it doesn't. I think she had to get pedal extenders to drive her car if I remember correctly. Nothing is so bad that you have to bury yourself in food. Just cutting out one thing at a time is a start. God help them..Besides those two we have a remarkable amount of really obesely fat people in our church. When I was fat (202 lbs) I was actually sinning against God by destroying the body He gave me just as much as if I was taking cocaine or any other bad habit. Some of my weight gain was from medication but I really had no excuse and I finally asked God to help me and He did.
    3786 days ago
    That's such a sad situation you described, Morticia...and yet I've seen people this big on The Biggest Loser. Two of the persent contestants weigh - or weighed - in excess of 500. This is sooo tragic... The only difference between them and me is that I put the proverbial "brakes" on a little sooner to reduce the damage I've done... I was going to ask if it was possible she had a metabolic disorder, but if both her husband and daughter were also morbidly obese, then I doubt that was the case...
    3786 days ago
    Thanks so much, Morticia. You turned what could have been an embarrassingly laughable blog into a heartfelt plea.

    I'm afraid there might be a fine line between the "Big Can Be Beautiful" idea of valuing yourself as a person, regardless of your size, and losing all control.

    (Okay, I admit that I did laugh at the Hoyer Lift part!)
    3786 days ago
    Oh my, that is so sad to think someone could live a life like that.

    I am sure this lady hates herself and as a result of that she just eats more and more.

    As an overweight (not that big) of a person I know that one reason I eat too much is depression and being lonely.

    I sometimes just feel what is the use..I try and try to lose and I can lose 10 pounds or so only to gain that back plus 20 more and it is depressing for sure.

    I can only imagine how she felt and you as well.

    You did the right thing though by not trying to get her out of the door because in this day and age we live in she could have screamed that you hurt her and then sued you.. Scary isn't it?

    There is a man that goes to our Church that is/was a Walmart greeter and he is sorta out spoken but one day this woman came in and was just huge..mind you she walked into the store...anyway she ask for one of those things you ride and he said to her.. Mam it would probably do you good if you walked..omg

    Well you can guess what happened to his job! She went and reported him and he got the boot...

    Your blog makes me want to do better and I thank you for posting it.

    I think sometimes we just get to the point of almost giving up but we can't..

    3786 days ago
    Hi, It's truly is sad I can't even imagine how she could get up and to be honest didn't think people were out and about that heavy..with all the health issues today and all that the u.s.a have at your disposal it still amazes me how your life and can that far away for you. Watching the biggest loser it just seems it's getting larger and more out of control.
    3786 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.