One morning, just out of my teens, in the back bedroom of a two-bedroom duplex in South Carolina’s “Low Country,” I found my dad, dead, on the floor by his bed.
To this date there are but two things I don’t like to talk about, often, my own health, and the death of my father. Here goes both.
So far removed, it is difficult to put sufficient words to the deluge of despair that befell me that morning. I remember sitting on my dad’s front step, slumped over my own lap, hands cradling my face, unable to figuratively see any semblance of future for myself, through the literal downpour that suddenly ensued. I was saturated with paralyzing uncertainty as the men from the Coroner’s Office crisscrossed my dad’s front door with biohazard tape as a precaution.
“It’s just that he’s so young,” they told me.
Technically, he was forty-four. I’m not sure if he was technically, “clinically” or “morbidly” obese, but I remember that he told me he was weighing in at 500lbs, several pounds ago.
The official death certificate called it, “accidental asphyxiation.” He had fallen to the floor in his sleep and suffocated, wedged between dresser and bed and while you won’t find that nightmare scenario on any list of medical perils associated with obesity, it counts. You can’t convince me that it doesn’t count.
Fast forward to the present; that future that I couldn’t see for myself. I am married to the love of my life; a woman whose attributes, too, defy sufficient descriptors. Together, we have two daughters that fill me so full of love and wonder that there’s hardly any room to feel anything else. But I do feel worry. About my own health. Often.
Like my father my physicality has run the gamut from fit and athletic, to pudgy. Portly. Unhealthy.
I have yo-yo dieted, and I have gotten unhealthily thin on a strict Atkins regimen only to gain it all back in year-long bouts of binge junk-food gluttony. Always looming in the back of my mind, my dad. His struggles. His ultimately uncontested fate.
Well this week I have decided, once and for all, to right my own ship, the right way. I look in my daughters’ eyes and I know this is something that I must do, now, for all of us. I will be working with my own doctor on a healthy nutrition and fitness program, exercising routinely and consistently and, starting today, finally utilizing my health insurance to its fullest, most beneficial potential.
If you have questions about the preventative aspects of health insurance coverage, you should consider contacting Anthem Blue Cross. They have all the answers you need and deliver them in ways that fit your busy lifestyle with their LiveHealth Online tool and Mobile App.
As part of the #HealthyDad campaign, we made the below video as a “Kick Off,” to my own personal journey. Check out the Healthy Dad Facebook page to vote for your favorite of the ten video finalists.
Disclosure: Thanks to Anthem Blue Cross, who sponsored the #HealthyDad campaign, for including dads in this important discussion about family health care. My views are based solely on my experience as a parent, and not as a medical professional.