Finding Perspective

It’s been a tense week in Martha Kay land, but I found some perspective in an unlikely place last night.

One of my favorite TV shows is My 600-Pound Life. Perhaps I see it as a cautionary tale as I struggle with my own weight, but I really get involved in the people’s lives whose weight equals that of four or five people. Some of them are maddening. Dr. Nowzaradan puts them on a 1200-calorie diet so they can lose enough weight to safely have weight-loss surgery. A few of them go home and gain 150 more pounds, and then tell the doctor it’s water weight, that they haven’t been eating anything at all. Even though I understand the many factors involved that might cause a person to do that, it makes me want to pull my hair out. Others work hard and follow the program and usually have successful outcomes. But no matter if they’re successful or not, they’ve all dealt with tremendous sadness and disappointment in their lives.

Being overweight is not a character flaw.

Last night a woman’s situation broke my heart. She worked hard and did well after surgery while at the same time dealing with an abusive relationship. She showed up for a follow-up appointment with her two teenagers. There was a bandage on her hand, and Dr. Nowzaradan asked what happened. Her answer knocked me flat.

Her abusive husband slammed the door on her hand so hard it cut off her finger.

Dr. Nowzaradan asked her if she was in pain. She said yes, that she couldn’t change the bandage because it was stuck to the wound. He told he would take care of it for her. Ever so tenderly he cut away the bandage and then soaked her finger in a solution so he could peel away the rest of the gauze. Then he put soothing ointment on it, along with a fresh bandage. She said it felt a lot better, and she thanked him. Dr. Nowzaradan’s kindness brought me to tears.

What kind of courage does it take to lose 300 pounds while you’re being abused by the person who’s supposed to love you more than anything? I admire her more than I can say.

This woman’s strength in the face of horror puts my abject frustration over a neighborhood issue into perspective. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all.