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#1 – This article series includes the topic of Obesity and weight management, although it is not the ONLY topic discussed. But considering the era we’re in, the three-fold increase in obesity (33% of Americans are overweight and another 33% are obese, compared to just 14% 10 years ago) since the early 1990s and now the OFFICIAL line that “pizza is a vegetable” (or is it tomato paste?) and our kids not recognizing actual food when they see it, how can we avoid this topic?

#2 – Arty is male, but rather than use a real photo or cartoon depiction, he’s going to be over-sized David (see right). His wife, Sclerosa will not be depicted, to remain sensitive to the issue. However, I will talk about her problems alongside of Arty’s.
#3 – Any stereotypes depicted here are purely coincidental. Arty has no race, and he is American by habit and diet alone. If there is a stereotype, it is because of need to talk about sweeping trends.

[responsive]Misadventures of Arty the American - Fat David[/responsive]

Part 1 – Arty Went for a Walk

Arty’s job involved a lot of standing when he went outside, but most of the day he sat hunched over a computer. Today was his lucky day. The job site was nearby, it was gorgeous blue, the birds were singing, and Arty decided to walk over instead of drive. He stood up, stretched, picked up his 40 fl.oz coffee and headed out.
At first the walk was going well, but after a few minutes, Arty had to stop. It was not just his plantar fascitis today, nor that nagging sore next to his ankle, nor his bunion, it was a cramping leg feeling. It made him ache a lot. “That’s strange,” he thought.
Now Arty was used to sciatica and he had back surgery 5 years ago to get a lamenectomy and fuse his L4/L5… but this pain didn’t radiate from up-top downward, it came from really deep inside his leg. After three stops, he finally, huffily, made it to the construction site, and sat down.
“You okay, boss?” Larry asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Arty huffed. He wanted to clutch his chest because of his angina – he’d been born with a murmur and dad had died of a heart attack, but Arty didn’t find this pain too intense today – but afraid to be mistaken for a heart-case, he waved it off. Cold sweat beads were rolling off of his forehead as he waved Larry away.
But Larry was a conscientious guy. He was smart enough to know a bad case when he saw it. And he was also Arty’s friend. He knew that Arty was on twelve medications, and also had diabetes. So he went to the site’s office and called 911.
He may have very well saved Arty’s life.

Part 2 – Arty goes to the hospital.

“Hey doc,” Arty says to Dr. Jim, his GP for 20 years, “did you guys call my wife, yet?”
“Sclerosa’s on her way, Arty. But I’ve got a lot of patients to see, so I can’t wait for her to get here to have our little chat.”
“Oh boy! Come on, did I have a heart attack?”
“No, Arty, though you do have unstable angina, a pre-cursor to a heart attack and also a good indicator of heart disease. Arty,” he said frowning, “what were you doing?”
“Doc, I was being honest… I mean I know I need to lose some weight so today I went for a walk to the site. And my legs started cramping up.”
Dr. Jim looked at the legs, and he saw that they weren’t red or swollen. “Well, we need to do an MRI and run another EKG.”
“Ah, shucks, Doc… we both know I’m in bad shape and have diabetes and sciatica…”
“Arty,” Dr. Jim shook his head, “Diabetes causes numbness and tingling, and sciatica comes from the hip region. But your pain is indicative of deeper issues. I am concerned about DVTs and thromboangitis, and more severely intermittent claudication. We may need to put you on a blood thinner.”
This made Arty gloomy. He was on a dozen medications already!
He was on insulin and an anti-diabetic, a sleeping pill, a statin, an alpha-beta blocker, taking baby aspirin and OTC reflux inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, a pain pill for his back he was starting to max out due to his reliance on it, two anti-depressants, and a diuretic to help his BPH. He also had to wear a CPAP mask at night for apnea. On the positive side, he was happy and proud to take his multivitamins and calcium everyday, and even was on St. John’s Wort and Digitalis!
He just didn’t understand why none of it was working… He had three main doctors other than Dr. Jim that he saw six to eight times a year, he even got regular colon screenings (that was how they’d found his diverticulosis) and endoscopies (that’s how they found his duodenal ulcer).
“Doc! Come on… how bad can it be?”
“Arty, let me put it to you this way… if you have claudication or a DVT, you might throw an embolus any day, or even in your sleep, and have a major heart attack and be dead within a minute or two. On top of that I think you might have a heart block, and I’m worried about strokes.”
Arty was shocked, and the blood drained from his face. He thought of Sclerosa… she was also in much the same predicament as he was. His health he often shrugged off, after all dad and grand-dad were big round, husky men too… but Sclerosa, she was fragile. More than him. What would she do without him? He started to get scared, but he also started to get angry.
“Doc! I am sick and tired of all of this… I just… I just think I need to find another way.”
“Arty, I think you’re right,” Dr. Jim said to his surprise, “I want you to finally go see my herbalist and¬†acupuncture¬†friend, Emily.”
“Aww, cripes, needles!?” Arty complained as Dr. Jim inserted a catheter into his urinary tract.

Part 3 – Arty goes to the Acupuncturist.

After a long and thorough intake, Emily sits back, thinking of how best to manage this case.
“Arty,” she said and looked back and forth from him to Sclerosa, who sat awkwardly to the side, “You have a very complicated story.”
“Tell me about it…” he chuckled.
“I will,” she replied seriously, “You both have a lot of issues to deal with. Do you have a lot of time today?”
“He’s been put on leave for two weeks,” Sclerosa put in.
Emily nodded. “OK. What I’d like to do is go from bottom to top, and talk about the causes of your ailments, and what we could ideally do if we were to treat them all separately. Is that OK?”
“I’ll be a bit overwhelmed, I’m afraid…” Arty swallowed, nervously.
“Yes, but think of Sclerosa. You say you have a lot of anxiety about what you’ll leave her if you die young. You’re only 51, Arty, that’s just half the age your great grandfather lived to, so you tell me. You’re meant to live awhile longer. But there’s definitely a lot of work to do. If you can keep her in mind,” she said nodding towards Sclerosa, “would you listen to my advice?”
Arty thought about all the insurance money he’d paid – and yet his term life wasn’t ready – and all the doctors he’d spent countless hours with, and all the thousands he’d paid for pills and surgeries… and here a healthy woman of 40 who looked 30 was about to tell him the Truth. He sighed. “Yeah, doc, what ya got for me?”
End of Issue 1

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