Patient Perspective

Patient Perspective

Paul Stevenson

Growing up I was always a ‘big lad’. My parents never made me eat fruit or vegetables, and my relationship with food was never great. I played many sports, used to box, play rugby, football and generally was fit, despite always being bigger.

Once I stopped playing sport and grew into adulthood, my weight began to rise. Then, losing my mother at the age of 19 years didn’t help at all. I descended into depression and lived a very unhealthy lifestyle, which very nearly killed me.

At my lowest, I needed to have carers come and see me twice a day to help me wash and wipe my backside when I used the toilet. I used to comfort eat; I was in a relationship for a short time in 2012 and that was the straw that broke the camels back so to speak. Despite it not being a long relationship, it was very intense. After discovering she was cheating on me, it made my depression and general lifestyle so much worse. I used to gorge on food. Eat portion sizes big enough for three people on a daily basis. I had no happiness apart from food.

I grew to depend on it. And, it wasn’t your usual foods. It would be breakfast cobs (king size ×2) large fish and chips, a family sized pizza with chips and enough Chinese food to feed three or four people. This was a daily event.

My health declined so much that I became pretty much bed bound for a year. By this time, I had developed type 2 diabetes. I also used to be in agony just walking to the bathroom. Around that time my father was seriously unwell. Now that my dad was my best friend (sadly he passed away in December 2021); it dawned on me that if he passed away, I wouldn’t even be able to go to his funeral. That honestly broke my heart. So, I made the decision to ask for help.

In April 2015, I called the doctor for a home visit to see me as I couldn’t carry on, I didn’t want to but what kind of life did I have?

The response from the receptionist was a negative one: ‘You won’t get a home visit unless you’re elderly or disabled’ was her answer. This for me is the main reason many people hate ringing their doctors. And truth be told, I dare say this is one of the many factors as to why so many people suffer in silence. This woman had no idea how bad I was, but even then she wasn’t at all interested in helping me.

Nonetheless, the doctor did come. Following his brief assessment, he explained to me that if I didn’t do something and fast, I could possibly be dead in six months.

He referred me to a psychologist and a dietician who specialised in bariatric patients. Now these two people are amongst the most incredible people I’ve ever met.

Straight away I explained to the psychologist that I couldn’t go outside due to being totally ashamed and unable to walk any kind of distance. He told me that it won’t be cured overnight and would take time. The dietician came out and carried a huge set of scales with her that had a max. weight capacity of 315 kg. She encouraged me to step on them. It didn’t even register a weight, it just said ‘error’ – indicating that my weight at that time exceeded 315 kg.

That was absolutely soul destroying; I knew I was in a bad way, but to not even get a reading on a scale that weighs that much was the real eye opener. She could see the disappointment on my face.

A photograph of Paul Stevenson.

Only gold members can continue reading. Log In or Register to continue

Stay updated, free articles. Join our Telegram channel

May 14, 2023 | Posted by in GENERAL SURGERY | Comments Off on Patient Perspective

Full access? Get Clinical Tree

Get Clinical Tree app for offline access