My Gym Partner!

bad luckAs I am still waiting for Physician’s clearance, I have decided to do something. The Yoga and cycling thing was a disaster. I feel going back to gym might be my best option. At least I can do what I want to do.

Luckily I have a partner now. My new buddy from Yoga class was performing so poorly that even his wife was embarrassed. I feel it is safe to say that Yoga types gave up on him before he gave up on them. Since we both are kind of new to this whole exercise thing, we decided to expand our group and add another person (more on that later).

I got a chance to find out more about my new friend. It appears my friend has had a series of tough breaks. His parents did not want him and they tried to abort him. But by some miracle he survived. But just because he made it out of uterus, did not mean his luck improved any.

When he was 3, his father found out he was gay which led to a divorce. His mother felt scorned and just to prove that two can play the game, she also found a same-sex partner. He spent his childhood bouncing between two daddies, two mommies and 2 sets of boring heterosexual grandparents. Finally his mother realized she was straight and remarried which added a stepfather to the whole equation.

This lead to a lot of sexual confusion. He tried to find out who exactly he was. He tried to date both boys and girls. After some soul-searching and experimentation, he found out that he was straight.

He decided to celebrate this sexual awakening by going out with a group of friends. He wanted to go “steady” with one of the girls in the group. He hoped to make a connection. Unfortunately he got very drunk. In a drunken and almost blacked out moment of passion, he did “make a connection”. He made the connection to the wrong girl. Retrospectively he feels that he might be the first case of a male being taken advantage by a woman while intoxicated.

Long story short, the wrong girl called him few weeks later and gave him the good news.  My friend got so panicky that he passed out. The wrong girl took it as a sign that he was extremely happy about the fact that he was going to be a father. Since then his life has been a downhill slide. He is with a girl he did not even know, a child he does not want and her family pressurizing him to do the “right thing”.

I didn’t know what to say. So I said things like: it will get better, god is testing your faith, in the end it will be all worth it, light at end of tunnel, half full glass, sun coming out through clouds and worst is behind you. I told him it should not be difficult for two of you to take care of one little angle. It looks like I might have cheered him up. He started to relax.

He got a text. He held his head in hands. I asked him if everything is ok. He passed me his phone. He had a text from “wrong girl” with a U/S picture of twins and a message that said, “Twins baby! Luv you so much”. I am not sure what to say any more.  To be contd…





My Physical

questionAfter waiting in waiting room, then in examination room and being grilled by his assassin of a nurse, good doctor showed up. He was a serious looking guy. He acknowledged my presence without even looking up with a curt node. He kept on looking at his papers with an expression of concern. I had a feeling he was trying to find some imperfection in my perfect physiology.

He had the kind of personality that will even find a way to ruin a twin delivery with something like, “Congratulations you have twins but they ate their 3rd sibling.”

He just kept on looking into these papers. Occasionally he will mumble an “hmm” or “oh”. What could it be that this great scholar had found out simply by looking into these papers? Finally he looked at me. He gave me a kind of quick look over that a customer gives a piece of meat at a deli.

I tried to break the ice by pointing out that his kids are very adorable. He looked somewhat puzzled. I pointed out to the picture on the wall. He told me they are not his children. It turns out that this was a UN poster for hunger among children. The kids were of 6 different races as well. I apologized sincerely. I am sure he thinks I am some kind of a smarty pants. I made a mental note of putting my glasses on next time.

He asked me a whole bunch of questions. They all would be considered a serious violation of me and my privacy if he was not a doctor. Their obsession with bodily fluids, cavities and orifices is second to none. He kept on asking me if I have seen blood in one or all of these areas.

Then he gave me the good news that I will have to undergo a lot of routine screening. I will be screened for diabetes, cholesterol, kidney disease, liver diseases and anemia. If I want he can check my prostate “good old-fashioned way”. To leave no doubt in my mind about what the “good old-fashioned” way was, he raised his index finger. I told him I don’t know what this particular organ is supposed to do but I am sure it is fine.

After this he went to give me a whole lot of advise about things which you are supposed to know by the time you come out of high school. Only in US, a doctor will be considered a “good doctor” by insurance companies for talking about it for 15 minutes and then checking 200 boxes and writing 4 pages about it. The advise went something like this:

Eat greens, wear a seat belt, stay hydrated, get enough fiber, exercise, lose weight, don’t text and drive, don’t eat and drive, don’t drink and drive, don’t fall asleep and drive, look for blood in urine/stool/spit/sputum, don’t have a seizure and drive, don’t drop dead while driving, get vaccines, take Aspirin, eat fish and have safe sex with strangers. I told him I am married. Is he advising me to have sex with strangers as long as it is protected? I also told him that my wife might not approve of it but if it is something life saving then what choice do I have? He corrected himself and apologized for not realizing that I was married.

To be continued…


Visit to Doctor’s Office-Weight Loss Series

After spending some quality time in depressing surroundings that is a doctor’s waiting room, my name was called. I was ushered to an examination room. Calling it a room was fairly generous. It was the size of a vertical coffin. If that alone did not make you claustrophobic, they had all other angles covered.

The interior of coffin was done in shades of suicidal gray and deathly pastel. The overhead lights were those bright fluorescent types that they banned even in former USSR. There were all kinds of artsy posters on the walls. This eye-catching artwork had a practical purpose though. It warned that you could have colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and few other types of cancers. You ignorant soul might not even know about it. All you have to do is to ask your good doc for screening for these things. He will arrange for all your body orifices to be probed thoroughly so that this cancer will have no place to hide. They also had a very serious looking guy pointing a finger at you and asking, “have you had a colonoscopy”?

You could also have diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, mini stroke, diverticulosis, abnormal cholesterol or heart disease. You might have low testosterone, low estrogen, low bone mass and anemia. On a different note you could also have heart failure, kidney disease, hepatitis or skin cancer.

It also reminded reader that you should inform doctor if you don’t feel safe at home, had unprotected sex or have suicidal thoughts. Especially if you had suicidal thoughts after having unprotected sex. Because let’s face it; HIV is fairly manageable now a days.

The nice Nurse was an old-fashioned, old world nurse who still had the head thing and all. She did not believe in smiling or laughing. She handed me one of those nightmarish hospital gowns that open in back and never have all the straps in place. I made the regular lame joke that generally I am paid for this kind of thing. Either she did not find it funny or she wanted to put me right in my place. She gave me kind of the look that a Mummy (Egyptian type, not your own) gives you when you crack a joke.

I told her that I do not see the need to put this garment on, as I am here for a quick physical only. Apparently there is nothing like a “quick physical” and doctor would prefer me in this “thing”. She left the room and I did change into the “thing”. Just to make this an unforgettable experience, they even had a mirror in the room.

With my last shreds of dignity snatched away from me, I decided to make most of what I had been given. As a token of my protest against this objectification of my body, I decided to keep the socks on. I really cut a fairly depressing figure in this flowery loose robe. A knee-length robe with socks is never going to make you front cover of GQ. I decided to take the socks off. The reflection in mirror was even worse. I put them on again. But then I was worried it would add weight, I took them off again.

Nurse is back. She took my weight and all the usual stuff that they do. She told me I have great veins. I thought it was a compliment till I realized that she was planning to draw some blood. With her demeanor I was not sure if she would use a syringe or simple suck it out of my veins. I told her I am absolutely healthy. But doc would still want to check my cholesterol and thyroid hormone levels. I have already waited close to 45 minutes in waiting room, 25 minutes here, filled out my life story in all kind of forms and this healer is nowhere to be seen.   To be continued…

Weight Loss: Back to Yoga

As my cycling adventure did not go well and physical trainer won’t train me till doc gives clearance, I have decided to go back to yoga. I showed up again for advanced yoga but they politely informed me that I should probably go to beginner’s class. I asked them why would I do any such thing when I performed fairly well in my last class. They told me that elderly woman that I knocked down is threatening to litigate if I am ever allowed in same class as her. To be honest I did not expect such cunning and cruelty from a senior citizen. But what can one do?

I decided to start at the bottom and rise through the ranks with hard work all the way again to advanced class, so I can confront that cunning elderly. I signed up for a beginner’s class. The only positive was they had also demoted equally unfit, pregnant woman’s hubby with me. I think he must be entered in some record books. He probably is the first guy in history who was not able to do things that his very advanced pregnant wife was doing.

This class was dream come true. All I had to do was to lie down, control my breathing and relax. This was great. I was so relaxed that I fell asleep. Unfortunately no one else could due to me and my buddy’s snoring.

After this there was a demonstration for healthy cooking. This was a very depressing activity. All they had were green vegetables and Tofu. The women giving demonstration was one of those patronizing types who kept on asking such questions as, ” What do green vegetables have? Why should we eat them?”

If this was not bad enough, there was also a very annoying woman who kept on asking, “what if I add coriander? What if I add basil”? I swear she was asking it after every single step. To counter this nuisance I also started asking questions like, “What if I add super hot buffalo sauce to salad? What if I add vodka to kale smoothie”?

Eventually they created some kind of food that was supposed to be healthy. The color was fresh vomitus with 100% bile. The smell was type of diarrhea that elderly get when they have been on antibiotics for very long. There was tofu as well. Those of you who have been fortunate enough to never have tasted it, this is something that you get after sleeping with Pamela Anderson if you haven’t taken proper precautions.

I asked them when would we have real food rather than this salad type nonsense. It looks like this WAS the food. I looked at food, yoga types and food again. I asked them if we are celebrating April 1st late. One of them said something as intelligent as how food should nourish the soul. I told them first of all there is no soul that we know of and food has nothing to do with it. It seemed to offend Yoga types a lot. Apparently soul is a big thing for these nutheads. I am afraid this thing might not work for me as well. These phonys are as bad as cycling ones.

Physical prior to Physical Trainer.

As my physical trainer is hell bent on getting me to see a doc prior to initiating my exercise, I had to call and make an appointment. One of the things that strikes you when you visit a doctor’s office is how healthy people are. Not a single person in waiting room looked sick to me. in fact they all seemed to be having a jolly good time. Some of them seem to have become friends by waiting long periods of time in same doctor’s office over the years. I can smell an occasional romance blossoming amid walkers and under the sweet smell of chlorhexidine, hand sanitizers, death and dementia.

The other thing is amount of information they want. Your name, gender, DOB, address, Insurance, ethnicity, religion, spouse’s name, emergency contact etc. This is followed by next layer of welcoming material. These include forms about status of your health. This is a masochist’s dream come true.

Do you feel safe at home? Do you own a gun? (What if I own a gun and still do not feel safe? Are they going to get me an army tank?). Do you wear seat belt? Are you sexually active? Do you have STD’s? Have you noticed any blood in your saliva, stool, urine and sputum? (Some elderly couples seem to do this as some kind of a trip down the memory lane). Do you feel threatened at home or work? Do you use drugs? Have you had sex with another man? (No, but if doc suggests it then I might give it a thought). To be honest, I stopped reading the questions after first few and just circled the whole page and wrote a big NO.

As there is always a long wait, they have quality entertainment. There is a TV which seems to run only lifetime channel. There are some magazines with such exciting titles as “beautiful home”, “home and garden”, “retirement” and “golden sunset” (which apparently is even further down retirement road and for someone who is seriously considering dying). They have flyers about retirement communities, diapers for incontinent, potty chairs, colostomy bags at discounted prices, straight catheters, walkers, canes, special shoes and god knows what else. If you did not have depression before you come here, you sure are going to walk away with one.

The other problem is that some of the folks who are here seem to consider it as a social event. As soon as you sit, they start chatting up. They will say two polite things and after that it is all about their own health. They all believe in uniqueness of their complicated cases and challenges they have presented to medical world. I have a hypertensive on one side whose BP is not being controlled by collective might of American healthcare, pharmaceutical industry and three different pills. He seems almost proud of this. This dude apparently has to come in twice a week for just a BP check. He has been on every category of medications. Either he develops side effects of his “man parts” not working or it does not do anything. I told him may be he should just give up. Life is very over-rated and death is a golden sunset. I handed him the magazine with same title.

There is a lady who is talking to another lady about her Insurance problems, weed problems in her garden, husband losing memory, frequent UTI’s, not being able to sleep and her daughter living way too far. She is gifted (or cursed) with a high pitch voice that can drive you homicidal, suicidal or both. I honestly believe she should not be allowed anywhere near a medical facility. I can also understand her daughter choosing to live away so far. How long do I have to be here?

Weight Loss- Bicycling (part 3)

cycleSo the ride starts. I am already having problems with this advanced equipment. It has separate gears for front and back tires. I have no clue what 3rd gear in front will do in combination with 12th gear in back. At times it looks like they want to do their own thing. I have gone as high or as low as possible. In the lower gears, it is very easy but you are going at a speed where guys in wheelchair are beating you. If you do high gears, it goes faster but then I changed something and it started making a very weird noise. Frankly I don’t even know what gear I am in.

I have already managed to almost knock down 2 of my group riders. They are trying very hard to stay away from me now. The head honcho is shouting encouragements like “come on boys” to others and “stay on the bike” to me. Either the word has gone around that I am dangerous or they have a lot of respect for me. They are giving me a lot of space.

I am also finding out that these bikes do not have any kind of cushioning or shock absorbers. So if you hit a pothole or pebble, shock waves go through your spinal cord to base of brain. I can’t exactly describe this sensation but it feels like a constant electrocution with low voltage. I am already sweating under the helmet. I am trying to take it off. The head honcho tells me I can’t because we are “safe riders”. I tried to tell him that right now I am more of a sweat drenched and dehydrated rider.

Now there is fairly steep hill approaching. I again try to change gears but somehow I have managed to make it even more sluggish. I am already at the bottom of hill. The bike refuses to move despite my best efforts. I try harder but nothing. My whole group is already uphill. They are shouting encouragement from up there. They are asking me to come up. I am asking them to come down so someone can show me how the heck this thing works. One of them comes down and tells me that I should do something with something and do some more of something and that way it won’t be a problem. I politely asked him if he would be willing to push me uphill while I sit on the bike. He was not very enthused about this. He said something like everybody should ride their own bikes and it is supposed to be an activity. I countered that since he was already here, he would get more exercise if he pushes me. He pretended not to even hear me and ran uphill. I had to push my own bike uphill. So much so for the group!

Now they are worried that they won’t be able to do this route in hour and 13 minutes as they planned. Nobody is saying anything but they obviously blame me for this. I am blaming the kid who sold me this bike, stupid helmet and head honcho. Head Honcho is shouting even more encouragements in that phony British accent. I still have no idea what am I doing or supposed to do.

I told them that we should all relax as it is just a stupid bicycle ride. May be we are looking like uptight arses and that’s why lot of motorists hate cyclists. Apparently I have offended them great deal by calling this passionate activity stupid. I told them I am turning back. Since I didn’t want to sound like a quitter, I told them that I am disappointed in them, their phony accents and their unwillingness to push me uphill. I think with that dramatic outburst my cycling career is over.

Weight loss-Bicycling for fitness

cyclingAs my physical trainer refused to train me till I get the clearance from my doctor, I am stuck. I never realized that getting an appointment with doctor for a full physical is this challenging. I do have a regular primary care doctor. I haven’t seen him for years. His office used to call me, send e-mails and letters but they eventually gave up.

In the meantime, I saw a flyer for anyone with “reasonable” fitness to join a bicycling group. I consider myself reasonably fit despite what physical trainer thinks. I called them and they told me to meet them for a “quick ride” next day.

I might have rushed into this a little too quickly. I don’t even have a bicycle. Luckily there is a full service bike shop around where I live. I went there and told them that I am planning to join a group (there is something good about saying that you are joining a group. I bet that’s why terrorists, racists and religious extremists form them). It turns out that there is a whole world to cycling. The kid working there asked me so many questions; I was feeling like a war criminal.

Why do you want to bike?

It’s a long story. But if you must know my physical trainer will not train me till my doc sees me. My doc can’t see me for days and my life coach is a drug dealer.

Do you plan to bike every day?

No, that would be crazy.

What is your biking philosophy and style?

It is simple; to not fall down.

Do you plan to use it as an exercise or as a lifestyle?

What does that even mean?

Will you do road, off-road, dirt or mountain? Drop-bar or flat bar?

I am just trying to be fit, I am not suicidal.

Will I be doing cross-country or uphill?

Hopefully only downhill!

Would you be riding to work?

Again I am not suicidal.

Then we started to look at bikes. Some of these were as expensive as used cars. Would I prefer 16 gears with .75 tires, carbon fiber frame or am I more in Italian bikes? Do I have shoes? Do I have proper gear? Do you have a bike carrier on your car? This thing is insane. I have been here for 45 minutes and I am no closer to finding anything. I told the kid to do what he thinks is best for me. Just make sure I have everything.

We took some bikes out to try. These things are very uncomfortable. By the time I positioned myself, my butt was almost at the same level as my head. There is something inherently wrong with any activity where your butt is at the same level as your head. Kid has finally decided what bike is good for me. This is a 16 gear, 1.25 inch, aluminum frame with carbon fiber chassis or something like that. He gets so excited talking about these bikes I wonder if he is sleeping with them at night.

Now he wants to fit me with bicycling gear. I will need a helmet, shirt, bicycling shorts, clip on shoes, a water bottle carrier and god knows what else. He also wants to put rear view mirrors on bike so that I can see if a competitor is gaining on me. It looks like he has way more faith in my abilities than myself.

cycling1 I tell you this bicycling gear is fun. They have these shirts with all kind of logos. I always thought some of these snobs who are riding have some kind of sponsorship and they are professionals. Apparently anyone can buy these shirts. The shorts are real tight and have some thick cushioning which ..brings out lot of bulges. In fact I am impressed with myself. Now I know why these jerks are always stopping at Starbucks. Because you are never going to look so “big” in any other type of shorts.  To be continued….