After the accident, I didn’t eat much of anything for two weeks. I was fed intravenously which was a good thing because I couldn’t entertain the idea of putting food in my mouth. During the third week I started drinking smoothies and eating small bites of carbohydrates, so once again eating very little. I remember thinking that I was going to lose some serious weight which in my mind was a great thing. That shows you how warped my brain is.
When preparing to leave the nursing home in transition to the rehab facility, they were required to weigh me upon discharge. Imagine my surprise when they told me I had gained eight pounds. I was so pissed! Here I was thinking that I was going to be given a silver lining in my thundering rain cloud of life. Surely I’d lose weight after not eating for so long. But no, I had gained weight instead. I cried hard.
Once in rehab, not one but two doctors told me I had to consume 6,000 calories a day in order to help my pelvis heal. I asked my surgeon in Boston if this was true because my God that’s a lot of calories. He confirmed that it was necessary and I struggled with the thought of how I was going to even be able to consume that much food while keeping my body somewhat thin. A no win proposition. Not only was I going to have to fight to be able to walk again, I was going to have to fight to lose an incredible amount of weight after three months of that type of caloric intake.
Now to be honest, I couldn’t do the 6,000 calorie thing. After a lifetime of battling my appetite you’d think I’d be thrilled to have 6,000 calories to work with, but it just isn’t possible for me to eat that much. Shocking, even to myself. I get the permission to stuff myself silly and I can’t even do it. Oh, the irony.
But after sitting in a wheelchair for three months, I started noticing the weight piling on even though I was eating right. And of course this made sense to me since I wasn’t moving at all. As the days have gone by I’ve gotten more depressed and discouraged each time I’ve looked in the mirror. All I could think about was the scale and how it was going to kill me to see the astronomical number when I finally had the chance to stand on it because all I could see in the mirror was a fat, disfigured woman staring back at me. I convinced myself that I was going to be the next Kirstie Alley.
After weeks of this type of depression, I decided to face the music and get on my arch nemesis, the scale. I made sure to pee first and strip every article of clothing off of my body. I transferred from my wheelchair, to the walker, and then carefully to the scale. Once on, I closed my eyes tightly and gave the scale a chance to calculate. Then I glanced down while steeling myself for the cold hard truth. I was shocked to see that I weighed exactly the same amount as the day of the accident. The scale must be broken I thought.
Then we went to the mall to look for a pair of pants. The fall is upon us and I knew there was no way I was going to fit into my size 10 jeans after gaining all this weight. I wheeled myself into a store and grabbed a size 12 and a size 10 because I’m eternally optimistic. Of course I tried the size 12 on first because it made sense. I grabbed the handicap bar and the door to push myself up into a standing position on my one good leg and the pants instantly fell to the floor. They were huge. Odd, I thought.
I pulled the size tens up over my hips which are still swollen and couldn’t believe that they buttoned. Once I pulled myself up to standing, I was shocked to see that the waist was loose. As it turns out, the scale was sort of right. I have lost weight, but the large hematoma on my right leg is still badly swollen and holding lots of liquid. If that wasn’t there, I’d be even lighter.
This whole incident has left me unsettled. I had convinced myself so thoroughly that I had gained weight. I forced myself into believing something that was untrue. Every day I brainwashed myself to think that I was unworthy of feeling good about myself due to some imaginary weight gain that wasn’t even there. I was a traitor to myself and sabotaged my own peace of mind.
It’s amazing how the human mind works. How we allow ourselves to take our own self down for no good reason at all. My happiness has always been based on the damn scale. If it goes up a half pound, it ruins my day. If it goes down, I’m floating and feeling worthy of self approval. I feel bad for my body and how I’ve abused it. Always looking in the mirror wishing it was something better than what it’s been. Shame on me.
Even with my bulging hematoma, my body is just fine. I eat well and exercise even with my limited mobility. I may have some issues here and there, but I’m 41 and that’s to be expected. Nobody’s body is perfect even though the media will try to convince us otherwise. I have to learn to love my body and say goodbye to the scale. My new barometer will be the way my clothing fits because I can no longer trust my mind. It’s a liar and it took me 41 years and a car accident to figure that out.