Monday, January 14, 2008

really big people

The World's Heaviest people. Obesity ain't just a modern phenomenon:
Dionysius of Heracleia was notorious for his appetite, and eventually grew so weighty that he could scarcely budge: he suffered from apnea or narcolepsy besides, prompting his doctors to prick his flesh with needles whenever he fell asleep on his throne. A contemporary poet has him declare that he aspired to end his days "on my back, lying on my many rolls of fat, scarcely uttering a word, taking labored breaths, and eating my fill," for of all the ways a man might die, an excess of luxury was the only truly happy death. Nevertheless, he lived to what was then the ripe old age of 55, earning a reputation for fairness and generosity that competed with his size as an object of astonishment.
Another person:
Already over 300 lbs when she dropped out of college, Bradford became an exercise instructor, running seven miles three times a week, but continued her steady gain in weight. At 374 lbs she underwent an intestinal bypass operation, which caused serious complications.
That sucks.
Michael Edelman (1964 - 1992) of Pomona, NY; Guinness listed him at 994 lbs, but his mother estimates that he weighed some 1200 lbs at his heaviest. He had already reached 154 lbs at age seven, and left school at ten because he could no longer fit into the desks. After that he spent most of his time in bed, or sharing massive meals with his 700-pound mom. Michael liked to start the day with four bowls of cereal, toast, waffles, cake, and a quart of soda, and end it with a whole pizza with the works for a bedtime snack. Mother and son tried every new diet that came along, "but after a few days, we'd reward ourselves with a chocolate cake. Then we'd call for a pizza and that would be it." When the two were evicted from their Wesley Hills home in 1988, Michael had to be moved by forklift. After his exposure in the press, dozens of hospitals and diet promoters vied to get him in a weight-loss program, but Michael was determined to get thin on his own. He appeared in three different tabloids in one week when he publicly vowed to lose enough weight to consummate his relationship with 420-lb Brenda Burdle, but the couple grew apart when they both gained weight instead of losing it. After the sudden death of Walter Hudson (below), with whom he had formed a long-distance friendship, Michael developed a pathological fear of eating. He rapidly lost several hundred pounds, taking nourishment only when spoon fed. At about 600 lbs, he literally starved to death.
Also way fucked:
Walter Hudson (1944? - 1991) of Hempstead, NY (born in Brooklyn, NY); 5 ft 10 in, measured at 1197 lbs (though the industrial scale broke in the process of weighing him). His chest was measured at 106 inches, his waist at 110. Hudson was discovered by the press in 1987, when he became wedged in the door of his bedroom and had to be cut free by rescue workers. An agoraphobic, he'd spent most of the past 27 years in bed. Hudson lived with his family, where his appetite was always indulged, and gave every indication that he was content with both his weight and his situation. "I just ate and enjoyed it," he said. Despite his massive size, Newsday reported that he was extraordinarily healthy: his heart, lungs, and kidneys all functioned normally, while astonished doctors noted that his cholesterol and blood-sugar levels "showed the chemistry of a healthy 21-year-old." Even so, activist-turned-nutritionist Dick Gregory managed to convince Hudson that losing weight was necessary to save his life...Hudson died in his sleep after years of intermittent starvation dieting, a few weeks after announcing wedding plans. His body was found to weigh 1125 lbs, and his massive coffin required twelve pallbearers.

Apparently not the only enormous person who was actually healthy, but who was made less so by attempts to shrink:
Man, name withheld (ca. 1939 - ca. 1986), of New York State; just under 5 ft 7 in, 1050 lbs. His death was due to complications following a massive panniculectomy ("tummy tuck") to remove fat tissue, performed at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY. His peak weight was determined by adding the weight of the tissue removed by the operation (104 lbs) to the patient's postmortem weight of 946 lbs. According to his physicians, he was healthy when he checked in, and his "past [medical] history was unremarkable except for extraordinary weight all his life."

Francis John Lang, aka Michael Walker (b. 1934) of Gibsonton, FL (born in Clinton, IA); 6 ft 2 in, believed to have reached a maximum weight of 1187 lbs. Lang had weighed only 150 lbs as a soldier in Korea. He blamed his masssive weight gain on prescription drug abuse, claiming that his narcotic of choice had the side effect of giving him an uncontrollable appetite. Though unable to walk (a handicap that kept more than one fat lady out of the side show), Lang found a unique way of capitalizing on his situation: he had a mobile home built with observation windows, and traveled the country putting himself on display at carnivals and fairs. Lying nearly nude on an oversize circular bed, he preached to the curious about the evils of drugs, using his own body as the moral lesson.

John Finnerty (b. 1952) of Amity Harbor, NY; 1012 lbs. He surfaced in the media only once, when firemen were called to take him to Brunswisk Hospital Center for treatment of bronchitis. "He was laying on a queen-size mattress, and rolls of fat just hung off both sides," said the local fire chief. "He moved like a big bowl of Jello." Finnerty was taken to the hospital on a flatbed truck, and was said to be responding well to treatment. His subsequent history is unreported.
Secret fat people.
David Ron High (1953 - 1996) of Brooklyn, NY; 5 ft 10 in, aprox. 1000 lbs. High was touted as Dick Gregory's biggest success story in 1986, when he reduced from 823 lbs to 427 lbs on a year-long fast supplemented by fruits and vegetables. (He lost three inches in height as well, shrinking from a peak of 6 ft 1 in.)
How can you lose height? Seriously, what the hell is going on there?
Ida Maitland (1898 - 1932) of Springfield, MS; 911 lbs. Mrs. Maitland reportedly had a bust measurement of 152 inches, and died while trying to pick a four-leaf clover. Guinness Superlatives labeled the story "totally unsubstantiated."
Santiago Garcia (b. 1964) of Baytown, TX; 6 ft 1 in, aprox. 900 lbs. Garcia made the papers in 1994, when he was arrested for selling forged immigration cards. After proving too big for a cell, too wide for the shower, and too heavy for the forklift that tried to load him into a prison van, Garcia was released into the care of his family.

So in conclusion, some people are just obese for no particular reason, and dieting can kill you.

No comments: